Sunday, June 18, 2006
Moving. Can't Keep.As I am no longer an employee at the East Bay SPCA, I'm cheating a little by writing this. But, as the entry below this one reminds, rules were sometimes meant to be broken.
I'm writing from Cleveland, Ohio, where I recently relocated from the Bay Area. My fiancee and I packed all our belongings into boxes, watched everything we owned vanish onto a moving truck, and then piled ourselves into our Honda Civic Hybrid. The two of us and our four dogs.
One of the most common reasons for surrendering animals in the Bay Area is 'Moving'. Sometimes the explanations go a tad further, specifying 'Moving Out of State' or 'Moving Out of Country' or even pinpointing the destination, 'Moving to Florida'. I think the hope is that the shelter, when hearing or reading these explanations, will solemnly nod its collective head and murmur, 'Oh yes. Pets couldn't possibly travel all that way with you. Too much trouble, too much work.' The truth is, however, that shelter workers view reasons such as 'moving' with about the same level of tolerance the average population might if you said, "I'm afraid I'll have to give up my son. We're moving, you know." Pets are part of the family, and their lifespans are an awkward length. Too short to spend your entire life with a single, beloved animal, (unless your pet happens to be a parrot or macaw), and too long not to encounter some sort of life-changing event during their stay with us. When someone takes on the responsibilty of a pet, shelter workers would like to see that responsibility extend beyond what is easiest.
I write to you from the other side, and with photographic proof that yes, moving--even moving across the country--can be done with pets in tow.
A picture of me and the four dogs in our rental in California, about four or five days before the move.
Day One on the road. Ichabod and Pantaliamon prefer laps.
Wren falls asleep in funny poses.
Aslan likes to look out the front window from the back seat.
Clancy drives and looks all cool.
The follow four photos are from our first night in a motel. We stayed at an Express Inn in Winemucka, Wyoming, and pets were allowed to stay for free. Wren especially seemed to like the beds. I'm not sure what's going on in the photo where Clancy and all the dogs are looking in the same direction. Maybe someone in the other room thumped on the wall?
Day Two on the road. Wren still likes to sleep in funny poses.
Now I'm driving. Can you spot the Pan?
The motel for the second night was a Best Western in Cheyenne, Utah. They charged a $5 fee per dog to stay the night. In this motel you had to get to your room through indoor corridors, so the woman behind the desk was nice enough to give us a room that was right next to one of the side doors. Perfect for early morning potty breaks. I was, apparantly, very tired. P.S. Alex, do you recognize the shirt?
Look, we're just all so freakin' cute.
This truck will kill us all! Actually, it was a truck toting another truck front behind it, but for a second it scared the pants off me.
This rainbow was awesome. It's one of the few I've actually gotten to see entirely, the arch stretching from one side of the road to the other.
Asland decides to sleep on the floor for a while. P.S. KP, recognize the bucket?
A closeup of Pan on my lap.
Check out the sign in the lefthand corner of this picture. Kind of dubious, don't you think?
We stayed at one other motel in Nebraska, but I fell asleep without taking pictures. It was another Motel that had corridors and, once again, we werer given a room near a side door for our convenience. The man behind the desk, a dog owner himself, even gave us a little extra discount.
We found all of these places in the AAA book 'Traveling With Your Pet' that has listings of every waypoint in every town in every state that allows pets.
Was it a little bit harder to go cross country wth four dogs? Probabaly. But my new place would have been painfully empty if they'd stayed behind.