We Made It!

Quinn and yours truly in travel mode

I’m pleased to report that our menagerie (my hubby and I included) have arrived, safe and sound in North Carolina! Thankfully, our trip was mostly uneventful. We had only one hiccup along the way and that occurred in our very own driveway in California. We had packed the bed of the pickup truck with oodles of stuff including a wooden table. With the very first turn out of our driveway, the gooseneck of the horse trailer pushed the corner of that table right through the rear window of our pick up truck. The result was an explosive noise and flying glass. Fortunately, no one was injured, but I’ve never witnessed two dogs fly from the back seat of a vehicle into the front so quickly! We cleaned up the shattered glass, used cardboard and “gorilla tape” to replace the missing window, took a really deep breath, and headed east. The remainder of the trip was smooth sailing.

Our overnights were spent in Bakersfield, California (where our younger dog Quinn was rescued from a “kill shelter”), Flagstaff, Arizona (a gorgeous place), Tucumcari, New Mexico (I love the way the name of this town rolls off my tongue, but never have our dog’s feet encountered such nasty stickers), Cromwell, Oklahoma (this year a tornado, an earthquake, and a severe drought have ravaged the area), and Jackson, Tennessee where we truly felt like we were in the “east” for the first time.

Part of the gang right after arriving in North Carolina

We encountered fabulous people at every overnight stop along the way. All had fascinating stories to share about their lives and why they ended up where they have. The common thread for all of our hosts was a profound love for animals as evidenced by properties filled with horses, dogs, cats, sheep, goats, cattle, and donkeys. Michelle, our host in Cromwell, Oklahoma has several adorable rescue dogs desperately in need of homes. If you live anywhere near Cromwell and are ready to add a new member to your own menagerie, please let me know and I will put you in touch with Michelle. By the way, she also has a rescue horse she is hoping to rehome.

We arrived at our North Carolina home in lovely 70-degree weather and some remaining fall color. Some of the leaves are such brilliant shades of red and orange, that trees appear as if they are on fire. After six days on the road, we all thoroughly enjoyed stretching our legs. My husband’s horse galloped around his new pasture (I am currently horseless, but hopefully not for too much longer), our kitty enjoyed inspecting her new surroundings, and my husband, the dogs, and I took a long hike through a six inch carpet of crisp leaves. The dogs must have run a good five miles on our one-mile hike. It feels great for all of us to be in our new home and we are looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving here.

Have you ever moved cross-country with animals in tow? If so, would you ever consider doing it again?

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones,

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of  Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

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27 Responses to “We Made It!”

  1. Amy Says:

    Congratulations! I moved from Texas to DC the first week of November in 2002, and the foliage was absolutely gorgeous! You just missed it this year but you will be surrounded by it next year.

    On that drive I had my 13-year-old schnauzer mix, Missy, with me. She was an easy traveler because we had made many Texas-to-Ohio holiday trips over the years.

    My last trip was from DC to Indiana in 2008, also in late Fall. I gave my foster dog back to my rescue group, and made the trip with my one foster failure, a hamster, and six zebra finches. One finch that had been rather sickly before we left died during the first leg of the trip. All the finches and the hamster were in tiny travel cages. The rest did just fine but they were happy to have room to stretch when they got to their new home. My dog traveled in a crate, which I had earlier learned was a necessity with her while driving on the Beltway in DC. She got excited and knocked the transmission into neutral. Not a good place to be driving in neutral! All my dogs travel in crates ever since, or else they are in a harness and tethered to the passenger seat head rest.

    I would never consider moving without my pets. When people turn over their pets to a shelter due to “moving” my mind translates it as “I’m a crappy owner and I never really loved my pet as much as he loves me anyway” My pets go where I go.

  2. Ruth Robinson Says:

    Dear Nancy and Alan, Congratulations on your new adventure. you had a quite a trip and i’m glad you all arrived safely. N.C.’s gain is our loss.
    If you go to Asheville, you may be interested in Temple Beth HaTefila and the Robinson family there. My sister’-in-law is Leah Karpen, very interesting woman,
    ( Mike’s sister.) Her son Joe Karpen is great , too .
    Susan Richter found your story and forwarded it to me.
    Blessings to you all. Ruth

  3. Carolyn in Belize Says:

    Not cross-country exactly … but 25 years ago, we did pack up our belongings and drove from Oklahoma to Belize! My new husband, and my 10 year old husky-mix, Suki, and myself. Suki was already used to going everywhere and doing everything with me and I think had moved with me 13 times already! She was a rock, just a really bullet proof dog. We were in a beat up old Ford box van (stuffed with belongings deemed necessary for life in Belize), a flat bottomed Jon boat strapped on top, and towing a 20 year old International Scout over roads that left a lot to be desired. We met with “adventures” and delays every step of the way, including a blown up transmission somewhere in the mountains of central Mexico. We snuck Suki, a large dog, into a number of Mexican hotel rooms. When it seemed risky to leave our rig unattended, she slept on the front seat of the Ford van as guardian. She was very much a part of our early years in Belize.

    Congratulations on a safe arrival and an exciting new life ahead!

  4. Jana Rade Says:

    Awesome, glad you made it through the move. All the best to you art your new place.

  5. Therese Kopiwoda Says:

    Congrats on your move and your new adventure. The Carolinas are beautiful. I actually gave some thought to moving there but instead I moved back to Indiana, where I’m from. I moved from Texas to Indiana two weeks ago. I’ve moved before, but I’ll never do that long of a move again with my dog Archie. It was absolutely brutal on him. In spite of meds, a thundershirt, aromatherapy, soft music, and a blindfold he was still a nervous wreck.

  6. Yvonne DiVita Says:

    Nancy, I loved reading this story. Two years ago, Tom and I moved our Grumpy Old Lady (18 at the time) from Rochester, NY to Frederick, CO. Being a cat, she was nonplussed for the most part. We moved over a period of days and stayed at a wonderful inn outside of Chicago on the way (the White Rabbit Inn – highly recommended – very pet friendly), and basically took our time. Of course, the Grumpy Old Lady had moved several times before – from house to house, so she was happy as long as she was in her carrier between the seats of the truck, in the day and in a warm spot at night. Now, we have 3 shelter dogs that give her a sniff now and then, but otherwise amused each other with doggie stuff, not kitty stuff. If we were to ever move again, we’d be a big, fun family traveling the roads together!

    Best of luck in your new home. It looks and sounds wonderful.

  7. Juanita Says:

    Welcome to the Southeast. Glad you had a safe trip. Four years ago I moved from Nevada to Northeast Georgia with one dog….he was a good traveler. I now have 2 dogs and, yes, I’d do it again as I wouldn’t consider moving without my pets. As Amy said, my pets go where I go.

    Best wishes in your new home.

  8. Susie Miller Says:

    Glad the move went easily (except for that first surprising explosion!). Have been thinking of you these past few months wondering where you were in the process. As Ruth said, North Carolina’s gain is our loss. We’ll miss you here but are happy that you are starting out again in such a wonderful place! I also have a friend in Asheville, Penny White, who does music at the JCC.

  9. Stacy Braslau-Schneck Says:

    Glad to hear you had only the initial incident, but… Your dogs weren’t seat-belted in while you drove?

  10. Cindi Harry Says:

    So glad you all made it safe and sound. What a relief that must be to finally be “HOME”.

    I have never travel cross country with my pets but do have a friend who moved from the Fredericksburg, VA area to New Mexico. Wait till I tell you what they took with them. They were moving from their farm so took all the barn cats that numered about 20, 4 horses and 6 Elkhounds. My friend is an Elkhound rescurer so they naturally came along. This was about 4 years ago but the pictures they sent were amazing. The inside of their camping trailer was turned into a cattery.

    I wish I could get her to recount the travels as it would be so astounding.

  11. Melanie Sue Bowles Says:

    I was so happy to read your note… and equally happy to learn that you made it safe and sound. But YIKES! regarding the back window of your truck.

    In 2005 we relocated our horse sanctuary from FL to the rolling hills of NW Arkansas. 40 horses! And 9 dogs. It was a monumental undertaking (all chronicled in my book, “Hoof Prints: Stories from Proud Spirit”… Proceeds from which help us continue our rescue work). And yes, I’d do it again!

    We love NC and wish you all the very best as you settle in!

  12. Jean Lew-Martin Says:

    Glad to hear you’re safe and sound in your new home.

    My family and I moved from OH to WA 13 years ago and travelled with our golden retriever in the third row of a minivan. It was a great adventure visiting friends and family and national parks along the way.

    Recently, I moved from WA to CA and flew kitty in the cabin of the plane. She was so calm and did not disturb anyone. With the inconsistencies of how airlines care for our pets in the cargo hold, I will strive to always have them close by or make the decision to do a road trip with pets.

    Best thing to do is have them checked out at the vet first to make sure they’re healthy enough to travel and have their records with you to be safe.

    Have a wonderful, thankful Thanksgiving.

  13. Carol Whitney Says:

    Glad you made it safely with your animals, Dr. Nancy. Hope your new job turns out to be as much fun as I expect it will be, too!

    I really enjoyed your trip report.

    Greetings to all your menagerie, from all ours (one on Earth, numbers at Rainbow Bridge). Have a blast!
    Mon, 21 Nov 2011 08:39:54 (PST)
    Camellia (00) and Carol ;-&

  14. Linda Says:

    So glad to hear that your move when well.
    My husband is retired air Force, so I know firsthand what a challenge moving can be. When I married him I moved from San Francisco to Virginia, with a dog and cat, then three months later to South Carolina (2 dogs, 1 cat), three years later to Idaho (2 kids -6 weeks and 22 months, 1 dog and 1 cat who escaped from the car one hour from our new home), three years later to Germany (1 cat), six years later to Texas (1 dog and 1 cat) 15 months later to Colorado (1 dog and 1 cat). Thank heavens we’re done!!!

  15. Martina Says:

    After vet tech school way up in northern Ontario,canada, I had the daunting task of traveling thousands of miles to Alberta with four cats and one dog and one very small mini van.we stayed in motels along the way who were happy to accommodate my dog…the cats I didn’t mention but always asked for a room farthest from the main desk. Then I would smuggle my crew in, litter boxes and all. We didn’t have any issues, but it was one long anxious trip…:)

  16. Joe Camp Says:

    To your question about whether we’d move across country again… no. Not because the move was that abusive but rather I feel the we, like you, have found it. Done. Over. The horses and dogs agree :) Welcome to the south, and the east! – Joe

  17. Dan Grayson DVM Says:

    Not only have I done the cross-country move with pets (several times), but, on one of them, Flagstaff AZ and Jackson TN were stops along the way….

  18. MARILY ANDREW Says:

    Hi Nancy – I am really so happy that you and all your family arrived safely. It was an ordeal for my husband and I with one kitty (at the time) to move from New England to Florida, so I can’t really imagine from Calf. to North Carolina.
    I hope that you will have a great Thanksgiving in your new home.
    Best of luck.
    Love your blogs.
    Marilyn

  19. Cresta Says:

    Congrats on the move and making the trip safely!! We take our pets everywhere. A few years ago we went from Houston, TX to Charlotte, NC with our 85 lb dog and 13 yr old cat. Only issue we had along the way was the cat insisting on riding either on the dash or on the headrest. Guess she wanted to check out the scenery! =)

  20. Abby Harrison CPDT Says:

    Congratulations on the safe arrival.

    As for traveling, I have moved cross country with cats (one who felt the safest place was at my feet (so not good from a driving point of view).

    I now have dogs and talk to students about having them be in the car safely by containing them in a crate or seat belted in (easy to train).

    I never saw the original copy (not that I read German) but heard of this over 10 years ago: a German auto club did some sort of crash test with dummy dogs – standard 30 mph. Both dummy dogs were on the back seat loose.

    The 13 pound dog clipped the back of the head of the dummy in the front seat before going on to towards the windshield. 13 X 30 = 390 pounds of force. The 70 pound dog hit the back of the front seat before going up and over toward the windshield. 70 X 30 = 2100. Neither would have survived.

    The little dog hit within 187 milliseconds and the larger in 387. 1 millisecond is 1/1,000 of a second. Both would have caused damage to any human.

    Another reason to keep the dog from being loose is that if you are hurt in a car accident, dogs tend to naturally be protective of you and within small spaces. The last thing you need is you not getting immediate medical care and your dog winds up on a 10 day bite hold because they kept biting the emts as they reached in toward you.

    Many of us grew up with the dog in the car and it was no big deal. People drove slower I think. And we didn’t wear seat belts either. Neither did babies. Any you know what happened with the last two … Why not be safe with your dog?

  21. Diane Says:

    So glad you & your gang made it safely to your new home. Dissappointed to see a picture of Quinn riding unrestrained in your car : – (. I urge anyone who reads this post & drives with a dog in the car to use a crate or some type of restraint system for your safety AND your dog’s.

  22. Tom and Ron Says:

    Glad you all made it safely.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Nancy!

  23. Eileen Salmas Says:

    So glad you and the crew made it across the country safe and sound.

    My cross country trip was in 1978 after my husband and I returned from Spain where he was stationed at the naval base in Rota. We spent a few weeks with my folks (who had been taking care of Tanstaafl while we traveled for a few months in Europe before returning home). Tanny’s plane ride to and from Spain are another story entirely.

    We were in his unairconditioned Fiat Spider in the summer and it had been a particularly hot day. We hit Needles, CA at around midnight and I swear the temperature actually went up at night.

    We snuck Tanny in to the motel, turned on the air conditioning on hight and hit the cold shower. When we exited the bathroom we couldn’t understand why the room was still hot until we saw Tanny pressed against the grill with her head up in the air with a look at total ecstasy on her face. We couldn’t stop laughing. She was a great dog.

  24. Lynne Powers Says:

    I HAVE done it! And would do it again if need be…

  25. Nancy Cowan Says:

    We only moved forty miles…but when you have raptors, the mews have gotta be ready (Mews are the building for each hawk or falcon). At the time we only had 4 birds (up to 9 now) so we hired a huge flatbed trailer/trailer truck and driver and moved three mews (9×9 shed for each) and built one here. the dogs had to be crated until I could get their runs in and they loved the old farm but we discovered two things: we have several “dumps” on our property (common with 200 hundred year plus farms) and my GWP nearly amputated a toe stepping on broken glass at one (Required a lot of exploring to find and remove broken glass shards sticking out of the ground…mostly beside the creekbed) and the second thing was that spoiled GWPs used to wall to wall are NOT pleased to relocate to wooden floored colonials. Well, solved that by donating some fluffy blankets for nighttime stored under the end of our bed. When My Shadown had enough of hard floors and (slightly better) oriental carpets, she would go up and get her bed and her compatriot’s bed out from under our bed! Enjoy North Carolina. It is a beautiful place…and if you decide to visit New England, please come visit US! nancy cowan

  26. Miriam Yarden, B.Sc.,MS,APDT Says:

    Several years ago when I was visiting home (Israel) I was adopted by a tiny street kitten. Just couldn’t leave her behind (like we don’t have enough homeless cats here). She travelled in my lap all the way to New York – ElAl allows pets in the cabin and in laps of owners, by the way. From New York I drove to California and at first she was a little bewildered but soon got used to stayng in a roomy, airy cage during the day for her own safety. No hotel opposed her stay in my room and she slept on the top of my head at night. I felt safe with her (all of 7 lbs of courage) and named her “Chetzi” which means “half” in Hebrew, because of her small size. She remained a very small cat and lived until her 20th birthday. I have had numerous cats in my life (two at the moment) but she was the “pinkerle” (“tickler”) of mt heart.
    Would I do it again? Knowing myself – probably yes.
    Thank God you arrived safely – I can now sleep in peace knowing that you are all OK.
    Happy Hanukka to all of you and very best wishes – Miriam

  27. Margot Alice Says:

    Dr. Nancy,
    Yes, I have traveled a long distance with animals in tow! A little over two years ago, as the result of a pre-divorce separation, I traveled over 2,500 miles with four and a half horses (the “half” is a miniature horse; one of the horses was my QH stallion, the other three were mares), thirty-or-so assorted goats and sheep, two dogs (who do not get along!) two cats and two rabbits. I was moving to a very remote area in Indiana, where I was going to live alone except for the companionship of my ridiculous menagerie, at the age of 49, for the first time in my adult life. We lived in a very dilapidated, primitive house and wonderful old bank barn build circa 1865 for a year, then packed the entire menagerie up again and moved to a less remote — but still rural — property in Ohio. I lived there another year before moving everyone back to the PNW, making it a 5,000 mile round trip in two years. Would I do it again? Um, probably not from where I sit now. But I am very glad I did it when I did — and I really think I need to write a book about the adventure, which was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The animals all did surprisingly well; I suspect that if I hollered “ROAD TRIP!” right now, they would all jump into the trailer and the truck and be ready to go again. I know that even with the hardships and challenges we faced, I will always have fond memories of our sojourn together!

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