We flew direct from Detroit to Tokyo on Saturday afternoon with 6 suitcases, 2 carry-ons, and 2 personal items, one of which was a five-pound yorkie whose ticket cost almost $300 and required that she ride under the seat. In my opinion, if I’m paying $300 for her to fly, she should not count as one of my personal items… and she should at least get a meal!
Sydney is a travel champion. She routinely surprises people when she pops her head out of the bag at the end of a 2-3 hour flight. She can happily nap mile after mile on cross-country road trips. She adjusts immediately to her surroundings whether we’re in the country or a city. But 13.5 hours in a bag under the seat is not easy… I don’t care who you are.
We had no problems for the first 5 hours. Then she got restless. We tried taking her to the bathroom so she could walk around and hopefully pee on one of the puppy pads we brought, nope. Then we tried to feed her while she sat in the bag under our feet, nope. I spent two hours with my leg twisted to fit inside her bag so that she could spoon with my foot, and that worked for a while, but when she started licking my toes, I had to say, “nope.” We finally gave up and I decided to break the rules and put her on my lap under a blanket. She instantly fell asleep for the rest of the flight. She just likes to be near us. Like physically with us… all the time.
Four months ago when she started the quarantine process required of all dogs moving to Okinawa, I saw a poster on the wall of our Air Force approved vet. “Does your dog suffer from anxiety or depression?” On the table in front of me was a checklist of symptoms. I’d been waiting for a while for her lab results and I’ve always loved a good checklist, so I pulled out a pen and started answering questions.
Hmmm. Yes to all. It seemed that my sweet Sydney was indeed suffering from a mild case of anxiety. I thought this was hilarious, and tried to make a joke about it to the vet that I had always thought Syd just really liked me, but now I realized maybe she had a personality disorder. The doctor didn’t think my joke was funny. She started asking me more questions about Sydney’s behavior. Don’t all dogs jump into your suitcase or purse or laundry basket, just to avoid being away from you for five minutes? “No,” she answered without cracking a smile.
She told me that she wasn’t comfortable approving her for a move across the world unless we adequately treated her anxiety with anti depressants. For a minute I thought now she was being funny. But she wasn’t. I walked out with a $150 prescription for doggy depression medicine… and really wishing I had ever made the joke.
Can’t you tell just by looking at this picture that she had spent months getting her paperwork together and was experiencing a little extra anxiety (and maybe a little tummy ache) hoping they’d let her stay in Japan……. and out of quarantine.
In 2013, I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Thailand. After four months of backpacking I returned to the States and fell in love with a guy whose job sent us straight back to Asia. Nothing has gone according to plan... and it's been absolutely magical.