Churchill: International Dog

07 Nov

Yesterday was the big day, taking Churchill from St. Louis to Amsterdam.  To begin with, in the days prior to departure, we went to PetsMart and PetCo and got him 2 plastic bowls that could be attached to the inside of his cage, as well as a “pet travel kit” that had all the needed stickers for his crate (a ‘Live Animal’ sticker, a sticker with ‘This Side Up’ arrows, one with his name, address, and telephone number, and one with his feeding instructions).  We also made 3 copies of his paperwork (his EU 998 Health Form, his State of Missouri health form, and his rabies vaccination record).  One of these sets of copies we put in a plastic liner and attached it to the top of his cage.

We loaded up the Nissan Rogue we had through Hertz, and began the 5 hour drive from STL to Chicago.  We had fed him a can of food the night before, and left some dry food in his bowl after that, but before my Mom went to bed around 2 or 3am, she removed the dry food.  You’re not supposed to feed dogs for 12 hours prior to departure.  We stopped a few times on the drive and let him do his business, and drink some water, but we arrived at O’Hare right about 3pm for our 5:15pm flight.

First challenge, all the doors to O’Hare said “No Dogs Allowed”.  Hmmm.  I went inside and found a KLM worker and asked her, and she said to just bring him in anyway.  We walked in and assembled his crate while standing in the back of the airport.  I went to check-in, while Roxy stood with him and his crate.  I was directed to the ‘special baggage’ lane, where the attendant had no clue what to do, so I was moved to a different lane.  Roxy brought Churchill and his cage up to meet us, and we got everything checked in.  The new attendant was very happy that we had a copy of the paperwork that she could keep.

After checking in our baggage, we were directed to take Churchill and his crate down to TSA.  They searched his crate and then cleared it.  At that point, we put him in the crate, and the TSA guy said “You can give him food and water now.”  Well, everything we read said you can’t (which made the dishes in the crate all the more confusing), so we hadn’t brought anything.  We figured he’d be okay, and we left him at TSA.  Went back to KLM to tell them he had cleared security, and they radioed somebody to come and pick him up to be loaded onto the plane.

Our flight ended up being an hour shorter than scheduled (only 6 1/2 hours).  When we arrived at Schipol in Amsterdam, it took a while to get off the plane, but once we did, Churchill was sitting at the baggage claim carousel waiting for us (along with a bottle of water someone from KLM had thoughtfully marked ‘For the Dog’).  He had a small accident in his cage, and had rubbed his nose raw trying to open the door, but other than that he was in good shape.  We disassembled his crate, got our bags, and took a taxi back to the apartment.  The cat was in fine health, having knocked over the bag of dog food we had purchased, and ripped it open, so she had a nice snack.  We did some unpacking, and then the four of us took a nice long nap.  Churchill was exhausted, and as I type this, he’s laying at my feet taking another little snooze on the rug.

Today (being Sunday), we’re going to try to find a pet store that is open, and buy him a bed to sleep on.  He’ll get his first real taste of Amsterdam since we’ll probably walk him up to Brazille (where the stores are).  Happy to have him here!


Posted by on November 7, 2010 in Moving, Travel


8 responses to “Churchill: International Dog

  1. Alison

    November 7, 2010 at 14:32

    I’m so glad all went well. We brought two cats and a very large dog with us when we moved, and I was honestly more concerned about them travelling and getting into the country than I was about myself. As for all the rules and regulations, it all seems a bit hit or miss. No one can ever give a straight informed answer about what is required when travelling with animals. You’d think by now they’d be a bit more clear. And then after all the time and money expended on getting all of the forms and the right crates, etc., no one checked. In fact, we didn’t have to go through customs at all when we arrived at Schipol! After all the hassle, I almost wanted someone to check to make it all worthwhile!

    • thedewaddict

      November 7, 2010 at 16:11

      Good point, I forgot to mention customs. We walked up to the 2 guards standing there and asked if we needed to declare him. The guy looked at me quizzically and then asked if we had his papers. When we said yes, the guard said “OK, I will look at them.” I gave him a copy and said he could keep them, but he didn’t want to. He just glanced at them and then said “OK, you are fine.” Nobody said anything to us about the cat a few months ago.
      Heather, the KLM baggage office sits right next to the baggage carousels, and he was actually sitting in front of that. There was a person there, but when we came up and got Churchill, she never said a word to us. Anybody could have taken him.

      • Heather

        November 8, 2010 at 20:10

        Wow, I hope my little pugs make it there as easy! I look forward to what appears to be a dog friendly atmosphere in AMS!

  2. Heather

    November 7, 2010 at 14:42

    Sounds like it went pretty well! That’s encouraging for when I make the trip with my 2 dogs next year. I am surprised he was just waiting for you at baggage claim!

  3. Traci

    November 7, 2010 at 17:06

    Very cool that your little family is back together. Glad things went somewhat smoothly. Thanks for the updates, I love reading them!

  4. Sara

    November 8, 2010 at 02:21

    Glad Churchill made it over the big pond. It surprises me that he was sitting at baggage claim waiting for you. I figured you would have to pick him up from security or customs.

  5. Heather

    September 6, 2011 at 19:24

    So glad I read your blog before moving! I booked our flight online with KLM and then called to add our 2 dogs. I was put on hold for over 10 mins as she figured out what to do. Then she said ok I’ve added them but she never asked me any of the questions I was warned they would ask…height, weight etc. So after asking her if she needed anything else and she assured me no, I hung up but I knew I should call back again before we leave. Sure enough I called again today and they told me the kennel was too small. 1) No one even called to tell me that 2) I never even gave the dimensions! This new lady asked for the info and then told me to call back again in 24-48 hours to see if it’s confirmed. Our flight is 9/20 so I certainly hope it is! I knew from reading your blog to be especially diligent and call back several times to confirm so thanks for that tip!

    • thedewaddict

      September 7, 2011 at 13:57

      Glad to hear it! I wasn’t joking when I said I called like 18 times. The problem, I think, is that Delta handles phone calls for KLM, but isn’t actually KLM, so they just pass the info along. Rather than talking to someone who can make the pet reservation, you’re talking to someone who will then talk to someone else to make the reservation. The time they actually got it right was when the put me on hold and called KLM directly. Best of luck to you, and enjoy your last few weeks in the sunny/warm US, before arriving here in rainy Amsterdam!


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