I’ve wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest since I was a child. We went to Washington to visit my father’s brother and his family, and I fell in love with the area. Moving there was always my plan, but there’s always been some reason (excuse) not to follow my dream: a house, a job, a relationship, etc. Last summer I decided it was time to STOP making excuses and make my dream happen. I created some “job alerts” that emailed me when careers opened up in my areas of skill located in the Pacific Northwest or Colorado.
In April, I threw my “hat in the ring” (submitted my resume) for yet another opening. One thing led to another, and the company flew me out for interviews and a weekend of exploring the area. I was offered a job in July, and decided to accept it. I gave notice with my current employer July 9.
Things happened quickly thereafter. I put my house on the market. About a week later, I got an offer on the house and accepted it. The buyers have a few days to do the inspection, etc, and if all goes well we’ll be closing on or prior to Sept 15. I love that the buyers expressly included the “Catio” (outdoor pet enclosure attached to house with a pet door in the window for access) in their offer. It feels nice to know it’s going to another animal-loving home.
Dixie has made so much progress. The first time she met our real estate agent, I could tell he was pretty frightened of Dixie – barking and lunging, though she did quiet down after he’d been at our house a bit… and even got to the point she’d run to him for pets. Our first house showings were over a weekend, so I took Dixie for walks while it was shown, but tried to “run into” the agent as he arrived or departed, so she got more and more exposure to him, and I had him give her treats each time. By the next week, when he was showing house when I wasn’t home, he said she was not barking at him and only barked at one of the prospective buyers walking through.
Likewise, she barked when the moving company representative arrived, but quickly quieted down and even “smiled” when she saw us both in the kitchen. I rewarded her with a treat. Yesterday she met a friend of mine for the first time. The friend came armed with treats (which works even better than me handing them treats), and Dixie pulled a bit to get to her, but no lunging/barking, got a treat, and loved my friend right away… curled up next to her on couch all afternoon. My friend would even ask Dixie to sit (which she did) for treats.
We don’t have an apartment lease yet, but we do have one on hold. It allows two pets max, up to 35 lbs, with breed restrictions. I’d love, as a gesture of “solidarity” to rent somewhere with no breed restrictions as I have personal opposition to them, but couldn’t find any apartments without them.
There are no fenced off-leash areas close to new apartment, but there is a fenced dog park area three miles away. I found a potential dog walker and we have an interview scheduled the week we arrive. There’s a “pet friendly” strip mall across the street from our prospective apartment, as well as lots of grassy area and walking trails in the apartment complex. I still have guilt over Dixie losing her fenced backyard and “Catio”, but she will have a large fenced balcony she can use while supervised.
Found this site today – a total gem.
It appears there are two fenced pet relief areas at Chicago O’Hare airport, and an INDOOR pet relief area at Sea-Tac airport as well as two unfenced outdoor areas.
I’ve never flown with a pet before. I’m trying to prepare as much as possible. Dixie’s never been “pee pad” trained and won’t pee on them even if I provide them. So I’m trying to figure out how to make her as comfortable as possible and minimize the risk of accidents. The plan at present is a walk/break before we leave home (of course), reserved taxi to the airport, check the luggage, another pee break (outside baggage claim), go thru security, take the 4.5 hour flight, then an indoor pee break upon arrival at Sea-Tac (or a break outside baggage claim, depending how far our gate is from the indoor area), then I’m trying to arrange car service to our new apartment.
This is a bit complicated by the fact Dixie seems to drink/pee in excess when she’s stressed or nervous. The above site recommended giving ice cubes on flight – to avoid dehydration but minimize the need to urinate. I’m also experimenting with different chews…. I told the Kriser’s salesperson that assisted me “I want the dog equivalent of coloring books and crayons for a child”. I figure if she’s got something to occupy her, there’s less chance she’ll whine/cry/bark the entire flight.
I also ordered some pet calming treats to try, and a DAP collar… and I have Rescue Remedy and DAP spray. She has a snug “dress” (t-shirt) that may act as a sort of “Thundershirt”.
The week prior to our flight, I’m thinking we could “practice” by going for rides on the el and/or bus. Maybe ride the el to the airport, then try out the pet relief area, and then take the el home.
Dixie has daycare reservations for the day the moving company packs our belongings and the day they load them on the truck. She has boarding reservations for one day, while I have a “girls’ day out” for an annual fiber festival. I considered just boarding her the entire week. Would it be less stressful to just be boarded than to come home each time to big changes? However, I’m hoping it will be reassuring to see I’m the “constant” in all these changes. She comes home to find our belongings packed, but I’m here. She comes home to find our belongings gone, but I’m here. We fly to a new place, but I’m here. It’s a new apartment, but I’m here.
Arranging all the packing and loading and flight was a huge juggling act. Obviously, nothing can leave Chicago before we do – but nothing can arrive before we do. It’s not entirely clear, but the site above seemed to indicate I don’t get a carry-on if I have an in-cabin pet. I’ll have to check luggage, but due to luggage fees and the mere act of having to lug it all into the airport and out of the airport alone, I need to minimize luggage. I also don’t want to spend more than my new employer’s relocation allowance on moving expenses – and need to downsize anyway as I’m moving from a large single family home to a two bedroom apartment. So, I’m donating a lot to charity. I am planning on donating Dixie’s larger crate to a dog shelter, and ordering a new one from Amazon to arrive the day we do. I’ll order other supplies necessary to my survival: pillows, coffee machine, etc.
There is SO MUCH GOING ON. I feel guilty I haven’t had the time/energy to spend as much time playing with Dixie… but I’m glad she has a great dog walker every weekday and we have “downtime” where she gets attention, like yesterday.
I’m preparing myself for the fact we may suffer setbacks with the move. Poor Dixie has gone thru so much since February – two different shelters, then an adopted home, now moving… but she’s been a delight and I think she’ll be fine with some patience and more positive enforcement.