Last week, I met some fabulous military spouses at our new duty station, and we began talking about our pets. One of them said that when her husband received PCS orders for an overseas assignment, they couldn't find an airline that would fly their cat. Not about to go without him, they ended up taking a ferry - a 54-hour ferry ride! Another wife told the story about her 17 year-old diabetic cat who required two shots of insulin per day in order to stay alive. They received orders to a place which required a six-week quarantine. Bad enough, but the quarantine kennel had a policy that prevented them from administering insulin shots.
This conversation made me think about the lengths we go to for our pets, and how difficult some PCS moves can be for both the pet, and the family who loves their pet.
I don't have any pet/PCS stories comparable to those, but I did recall a couple of stories. When my husband married me, he became an instant father to my two cats. I met up with my husband in Oklahoma and soon after I had arrived, my parents shipped our babies to us. When we arrived at the airport to claim them, they were not on their designated flight, and if that wasn't bad enough, the airline couldn't locate them and had no idea where they might be.
My husband, outside of my father, is the most calm, reasonable, rational man I know. So, imagine his surprise when his sweet, new bride sprouted horns and Freddie Krueger claws after the uninterested airline representative said, "We've tried to trace them. We can't find them, I think they're lost." I'm pretty sure that immediately after the words left his mouth, he regretted that he had not said, "they're in Philadelphia and the ramp workers are feeding them milk and tuna, playing with them and they are purring away. We'll get them here as soon as possible," even though it would have been a huge lie. Long story short, we had our cats the next day, after they had spent more than 24 hours touring the better half of the eastern/mid-western United States. Without window seats.
When we left Oklahoma, we headed south. In the car, same two cats in tow. The ride was a disaster. Cats crying and throwing up the entire drive. Horrible....
By the time our fourth move rolled around, we had lost one of our two cats and acquired a dog. My dog would get nervous when the packers and movers arrived, and he didn't like an empty house when they left. We would sometimes fly him and his feline sister to their grandparent's house just before a PCS move in order to spare them the trauma. Once we were settled in the new place, we would pick them up and bring them home. That worked out well for all involved. Although our pets didn't like the chaos on packing and moving day, once they arrived at their new home, they acted as if they had been there forever. Resilient.
Recently, we lost both of our pets and acquired Max.
This morning, I finally got around to downloading some pictures that were on the disc inside my camera, and look what I found:
That's Max supervising the movers a few weeks ago. He would follow the movers from the house to the truck and he frequently inspected their work to make sure they were handling everything with care. The movers got a kick out of him, but I was afraid at the end of the day, Max would be packed up in the truck when it rolled out of the neighborhood.
This was our first PCS move without our beloved pooch and his sister, but Max provided plenty of entertainment. If you haven't read the story of how we acquired Max, which was an adventure, to say the least, you can read it here. This PCS move was not a dramatic one, we were only moving two hours from our old home. No airplane ride, no long car ride, but I was still worried about how Max would handle the change of scenery because we haven't had him long and I have no information on his background.
He's adjusted pretty well. Max had some friends back at the old place, which seems to be the only thing missing here. There's one big, yellow tabby that we call "Blondie." Blondie steps into Max's territory from time to time. He looks old and cranky and he's completely uninterested in Max. Max follows him around anyway, and tries to play with him. It never works, but at least they don't fight.
Who knows where Max may end up next. Poor guy - probably had no idea what being a military brat really meant.
Have any pet PCS stories you'd like to share?