Dog is a mastiff, and he's traveling in a size 700 cargo kennel (and XL kennel) that very few planes can carry. Delta is the only airline that will fly kennels that size to Alaska, and they route all their cargo planes through Minneapolis, Minnesota. The problem is that pets cannot fly unless the temperature is above 10 degrees Fahrenheit. And Minneapolis is experiencing a cold snap.
Originally, Dog was staying with our neighbors who have a fenced yard and two little boys who love dogs. He wasn't with us, but he was with people who loved him and spoiled him. But then they got surprise tickets to Florida for New Year's Eve. Do I blame them for going? Not at all! I'd love to have gone with them.
But it meant that Dog had to go to a kennel.
For those who weren't following the blog back in 2009 when we first rescued Dog (then named Achilles), he was abandoned at age 8 months and left there until he was 20 months old. Locked in a kennel that fit him as a small puppy but was too cramped for his adult frame. He cowered when people came near, ran in fear at the sound of his name, and didn't know how to walk when we rescued him. The first time we took him outside he came back with bloody paws because he dragged his feet when walking. It was horrifying.
Since then we've done everything possible to keep Dog out of kennels. He didn't even have a travel kennel until November when we bought the one needed for the airport. And now he's stuck in one indefinitely. He can't fly out until the weather changes, and I'm not sure when my friend is getting home from her vacation or if she'll be willing to turn the six day stay we agreed on to a possibly long-term situation as we wait for a break in the weather.
The kennel is happy to keep him, but they're charging $30 a day. Not a bad fee when we were looking at a few nights before he flew out, but it's not something we can afford for more than a week or two. In a few days the kennel fees will start cutting into the money set aside for Dog's flight ($1575 is the cost in case you're curious), and once that happens I need to do some creative budgeting to fly him up to us. Eventually.
Logistically, this is a nightmare. There's far too many limitations. The weather in Kansas City and Minneapolis has to be perfect. The pet facilities are closed on weekends and holidays, so the weather needs to be perfect Monday through Thursday, not Friday through Sunday. Dog needs a vet inspection within 10 days of flying, the one he received before we left expires Sunday and needs to be redone. Cash is tight until hubby gets his first paycheck up here on February 1st. It's just the perfect storm of bad.
What can you do to help?
Well, unless you can control the weather or live in Kansas City and want to dogsit a giant dog, not much. If you do control the weather, call me. We can work out a payment plan.
For everyone else: prayers, good vibes, well wishes, and positive thoughts about a warm spell in Kansas and Minnesota are appreciated. Or, because I am kind of desperate, you could go buy more books or donate directly to the Get Dog To Alaska fund.
Dog is going to love Alaska. We just need to get him home. :)