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November 26, 2014

More of the story!!! Post #4 of 5 about how we managed to do a border collie puppy adoption from nearly 1,600 miles away. For all the fate and destiny, we experienced some glitches as well. At various turns, we worried the adoption would fall through:

  • The puppy was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection Saturday, September 6, which put her ability to travel in question. (It’s also a medical saga that’s ongoing.)
  • Thanks to good food and lots of love, the puppy grew too much and was no longer technically small enough to fly in the cabin of an airplane.
  • If you’ve never done it, all I can say is that flying a puppy requires all manner of documentation and long lists of rules and regulations.

The idea of me flying to Virginia to get the puppy went away almost immediately. Once Dr. Beth spoke to our veterinarian, it got clear real fast that the puppy would fly to us – one way or another.

The next plan involved us paying for a plane ticket so that Dr. Beth could fly with the puppy to Colorado. With less than a week between our adoption approval and our hoped arrival date, the airfares were absurd. Truly absurd – jumping like $400 between Saturday night and Sunday morning, when we started looking at dates and times in earnest.

No joke. It totaled something like $1,500, but I was willing to do it, if it was the only way. I planned to dip into the money I inherited when my mom died, if necessary.

We toyed with the idea that Dr. Beth’s veterinary status might afford the puppy some size leeway about getting to ride in the cabin, but at nearly 15 weeks old, and growing like a weed, we figured out that just wasn’t going to happen. She was just too big already to fit in a carrier that could fit under the airplane seat.

That meant she would have to fly in cargo. Something I swore I would never do.

Then, a new plan arose that ruined Dr. Beth’s chances of getting a free trip to Colorado to visit her friend (our vet) while bringing us the puppy.

You see, a couple of Dr. Beth’s clients come to Colorado every few months, and they were ALREADY BOOKED on the flight we were trying to get Dr. Beth and the puppy on to. Funny enough, their names are Teresa and Mark (which are my siblings’ names too). Hello again, fate!

Suddenly, our puppy had guardians in the air willing to help shepherd her across the country. Yes, she would still be in cargo, but at least there would be two people on the plane who knew she was in cargo and who could speak for her needs, if the plane got diverted or something.

I won’t bog you down on all the planning, documentation (health certificates and such to allow the puppy to cross state lines), and logistics required. It was a lot. Many calls and emails between the various players. Lots of calls to the airline (some staff more helpful than others). An absurd number of details in Virginia and in Colorado to arrange.

Tom said it sounded like I was planning military “black ops.”

What kept me going were daily updates and photos from Beth of our puppy-girl. Beth even sent us a few videos, but they came as private messages on Facebook, and for the life of me I cannot figure out how to export them to share.

border collie puppy, dog blog, champion of my heart

border collie puppy, dog blog, champion of my heart

border collie puppy, dog blog, champion of my heart

It was a roller coaster of a week with all that plus getting the house ready for a new puppy. Again, an understatement. Remember our plan for having a new fence configuration for our next generation of dogs? Yeah … Tom did some serious speed-fencing. He got all the posts in before the puppy arrived, but he finished the fencing itself her first weekend home.

Together, we also hand-scrubbed (no kidding, on our hands and knees) every inch of tile in the house with enzymatic pet cleaner. We did a good job cleaning up all of Lilly’s accidents due to incontinence (and Ginko’s issues now too), but we knew that any lingering smells would do us NO good as we worked to housetrain a puppy. So, we scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. And, we puppy-proofed the house, room by room. It was a ton of work in just a few days.

I could hardly eat or sleep, and trying to get any work-work done was a challenge.

Tomorrow … the final part in the story of the 10 days between when I saw Clover’s adoption profile and her arrival at home.



If you missed the earlier parts of the story, here are links:

Clover’s Story – Told in 5 Parts

Clover’s Story – Puppy Adoption Across 1,600 Miles

Clover’s Story – Hello, Fate!


About the Author Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related.

I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

  1. Well now I know who to call if I need advice about puppy shipping.

    You’ve probably gained some mad skills you never thought you’d need.

  2. She is just so stinking CUTE! These are some of the rescue stories I love hearing, where everybody is working in beautiful symphony to get a dog safe home.

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