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!