Take me!

Hi, Mom!

It’s more difficult to get a dog to Amsterdam than it is a newborn baby, no joke. But how do you turn down that face?! 

To get Max ready to fly, we had to have his birth certificate and get him a passport. We were all traveling together, so relatively easy. Penny – not so much.

The initial plan was to hire a pet relocation service we heard about that takes care of everything – paperwork, transporting Penny to and from the airport, travel companion the entire way who sends us pictures, etc. She is a part of the family after all! We priced that option out, and it was not happening. Let’s just say we could have flown both of our families round trip to visit us for the cost. Back to square one.

Turns out Penny is also too big to fly on the passenger plane with us. Not the end of the world, because I was already having a hard time wrapping my mind around getting off the 10 hour flight in Amsterdam, jet-lagged, with a newborn and all his “stuff”, our 6+ suitcases, and trying to manage our giant, misbehaved dog in baggage claim. Next option.

Good news – Penny can fly cargo. That’s right, on a cargo plane, but there are other animals on there. Like horses. I was already worried about her making the trip, but this takes it to another level. But more good news – Penny has amazing grandparents in Bend who will make sure she gets to the church on time. I do hours of research to see what we need to do, reach out to veterinary friends, talk to the Dutch consulate, email Netherlands customs, and make multiple calls to Delta Cargo. And that was the easy part.

“But more good news – Penny has amazing grandparents in Bend who will make sure she gets to the church on time.”

First, Penny needs a giant crate. That’s literally what it is called, and after ordering, it is, in fact, giant. You cannot get a bigger crate unless you custom make one, and it doesn’t fit assembled in anyone’s car or SUV. Penny hates it, of course. You also can’t book animals until 14 days in advance. There is only one direct flight available taking off the Friday after we arrive. Also, while not as expensive as the companion option, it will not be a cheap ticket. We are reaching Uncle Kent status (as they say in my family). This better work.

Next, since Penny isn’t flying with us, she has to fly within 10 days of our flight. Still good. She also needs to have a puppy physical by an accredited vet. We make a visit to our vet Dr. Ryan (who is amazing and happens to have the accreditation), and he starts her exam and paperwork and gets her some puppy Xanax. Hear from the Dutch consulate – that paperwork has to be done within 24 hours of her flight. Small step backwards, but it’s okay. Except that paperwork also has to be stamped by a government official. Look up where we do that. The USDA office for Oregon, Washington, Hawaii and Alaska that can do that is up in Olympia, WA (2+ hours away). I make Penny a vet appointment for 10 a.m. on Thursday, knowing she goes to the airport at 9 a.m. Friday and Grandpa Allen will need time to drive the paperwork up to Olympia and back that afternoon. Call the USDA office in Olympia to make an appointment to get the paperwork stamped – they close by noon. After pleading with the USDA official (and possibly a few desperate tears), she agrees to stay open until 2 p.m. and threatens that if the paperwork isn’t filled out correctly she will send us away. Did I mention I don’t technically even have the flight yet? This better work.

Then there are the logistics for the grandparents. The plan in a nutshell: from their vacation in the south, they drive to Portland on the 18th evening to pick up Penny (we leave the 19th). Back to Camp Bend for a few days. Get them a hotel (pet-friendly, of course) for Thursday night. On Thursday, drive Penny to Portland in the morning for her vet appointment at 10 a.m. Grandma Cynthia and Penny check into hotel. Grandpa Allen drives paperwork up to Olympia and back. Get Penny on the flight (which we can’t book yet) on Friday morning, landing her in Amsterdam on Saturday.

Finally, the day of the flight, check the weather in Portland and Amsterdam. If it is not in a certain range, don’t pass go, don’t collect $100, and start all over.

Update: Everything worked out! I got up at 3 a.m. the day I could book her ticket and got it. Grandma and Grandpa Tenney took good care of her and got her on the flight. It took a few hours for her to clear customs in Amsterdam, but she was ecstatic to see Dad and jumped right into her new car. And the gang’s all here.

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