Hi friends! We had a really busy but productive weekend, and I am feeling pretty proud of myself for it! Since I made the official decision to accept the offer of admission at UH Manoa, the move has been all I can think about. We started with solid preparations this weekend.
On Saturday, the four of us took a trip to see our friend Denise Holmes at Dogs In Harmony. Lexi got another box of The Honest Kitchen Thrive and she and Zev both got pets and scratches. Lexi was a bit anxious again, and we think it might largely be due to the time of day we always seem to show up at the shop – right before closing. Denise thinks that since there are numerous dogs in and out all day and leaving their scents, Lexi picks up on them and gets worked up. She doesn’t do anything bad – she is a flurry of excitement when she first strolls in and always greets Denise happily. But she quickly becomes anxious after doing some sniffing around and then promptly whines to leave. We try to distract her with treats and attention, and it works for a short amount of time, so we will continue to arm ourselves with high-value treats on all outings. Maybe next time we decide to head up there we will try to go at the beginning of the day, when there has been little to no activity there yet. We will see if that helps create a better experience for her while she is still settling in. She has been on walks at several different locations and visited a few other houses, but Dogs In Harmony is really the only public place we have taken her so far. Over the next few months we will start to take her to new locations and work on having fun, relaxing outings. After all, we will want to be out and about, confidently enjoying our new surroundings when we arrive in Hawaii!
After our visit with Denise, we took the dogs to Providence Animal Rescue League to get microchipped! We now have one item crossed off the list of requirements for our move to Hawaii. Both dogs were a bit perturbed at being at a shelter, and I can’t say I blame them. Lexi especially was anxious as soon as she heard the shelter dogs barking from their kennels. Luckily, the whole process was quick and easy and the staff were very friendly. After handling the paperwork, we brought the dogs inside one by one to have the chip implanted. Lexi was first up and came strolling into the lobby like a champ. John got a firm hold of her, I distracted her with treats, and the chip was implanted in a few seconds flat in the skin between her shoulder blades. Same thing with Zev. He is rock solid in almost all situations (except at the vet – he is a big baby there!), so we barely had to hold him. They stopped hating us a few minutes into the ride home when they got to stick their noses out the back seat windows. All is now forgiven. So, Step One is done and crossed off our list, and microchipping is a good thing to have done regardless.
On Sunday I brought a whole bunch of paperwork pertaining to Hawaii to our vet’s office. I notified the tech of our move and gave him all of the checklists, forms, and paperwork I had printing out, as well as the microchip record. I was able to schedule an appointment to have the OIE-FAVN blood-work done this coming Saturday, the 23rd. Getting this blood-work done and sent off to the Kansas State University lab (one of two labs the work can be sent to) early in the process is definitely beneficial, as a 120-day waiting period begins the day after the lab receives the blood-work. We need to arrive in Hawaii towards the middle of August, so this should give us the 120-day wait plus a few weeks of wiggle room. Getting it all done early is best! I predict that both dogs will be “emo teapots” (credit to Laurelin for this oh-so-true description). The vet is probably Zev’s least favorite place ever, and he is convinced that there are monsters hiding there somewhere. He is good about everything, but he acts like a big baby. This will be our first vet trip with Lexi since adopting her, and from reading about her vet experiences in foster care I understand that she can be anxious about it as well. I can’t say I blame them – I hate going to the doctor’s too. We will be sure to arm ourselves with treats, and I know the staff will work their magic quickly and gently and have us on our way. Hopefully the weather is nice out so we can reward the dogs with a nice walk afterwards.
Tomorrow, I am going to call Alaska Airlines, the airline we will most likely be going with, to go over some details and confirm their pet policies and requirements. I know it might seem a little strange that we are looking at Alaska Airlines for a move to Hawaii, and it is. More on that later this week.
I also plan on taking Zev on a trip to our nearest Petco in Warwick, RI to try out some airline-approved crates for size. I have been doing some research online, but I would feel more confident if I could actually put Love in one of them to be sure of sizing before we purchase them. Zev weighs more than Lexi, but Lexi is a few inches taller, so I will be looking for a crate with a few more inches of clearance above Zev’s head for Lexi. Since Lexi is still working on her outings, Zev will go with me alone and let her know what crates he likes and approves of. In a few more weeks or months (subjective to how Lexi is doing), we will bring her on a trip to a big store like Petco.
So, that is where we are in the moving process. I think it is starting to sink in that this is actually happening, which makes me both excited and nervous at the same time! We still have a LONG way to go, but we have a few small things crossed off the “to-do” list, and we have done hours worth of research on the remaining steps. For now, we will handle everything step by step. For anyone else who might be dealing with a move to Hawaii (or considering it), this checklist is essential for qualifying for direct release at the Honolulu International Airport: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/ai/files/2013/01/aqs-checklist-5DOL.pdf.
Lexi continues to make progress and delight us every day. She has been handling her meds well and her feet are slowly healing and strengthening. We noticed yesterday that she rarely rests on her ankles anymore. Her feet are definitely feeling better, and as they continue to heal we can exercise her more and more, building up muscle in those long legs. We are also trying to bulk her up a little weight-wise. I don’t think she is underweight, but she has been exercising pretty frequently so I have upped her food by half a cup per day to support her activity level. I am really looking forward to hearing what Dr. Tapp has to say at her dermatology appointment in a few weeks. Overall she is healthy and happy, so we are happy.
Phew, I think that’s enough for one post! I will try to add some entertainment into the boring travel preparations. Gotta keep the fans happy! As always, thanks for following along and for your nice comments, well wishes, and support! We love you all!