by Maria Ruiz
Maria often shares stories with us about Santa Barbara history, her travel all over the world, her dogs, and life.
“Are you taking your pets?” everyone asked me when I announced that we were leaving Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and returning to the U.S. This is the last move we’ll ever do because, at age 73, moving is hard.
“Of course,” we answered. The idea of leaving them was never a real thought, even though we had joked about it. To ship the animals cost $100 each and that was just the beginning. We bought brand new cat cages for about $15 each and took them to the airport to make sure all was correct. The man at the Alaskan Airlines desk shook his head. “No. All pet cages need to have the top connected with steel bolts and nuts.” Ours were hard plastic and fastened with flaps. I know they would have been okay, but I couldn’t take a chance on getting ready to fly out and have the cats refused entry to the airplane. That would have been horrible. We both feel that adopting an animal means that we are responsible for them for the rest of their lives. The joy they bring into our lives is more than payment for whatever we spend.
Next, we visited three vets and no one had the proper cages. In despair, I posted a plea on Facebook. MexiPup, a volunteer group that ships rescued pets to new forever homes in Canada, agreed to loan us four cages (2 cats and 2 small dogs) if we returned them to Puerto Vallarta. Next, we needed to make sure all their rabies shots were up to date. The U.S. doesn’t require cats to have a shot, but to be safe we had the shots and medical certificate.
On the day of the move, a friend picked up our 22 boxes and suitcases along with four animal cages. Porters at the airport helped us and finally we were checked in. We boarded and rested during the three hour flight. At San Francisco, porters again helped us collect everything. At customs, the men clearly didn’t want to check us and waved us through.
We had arranged to rent a U-Haul small truck. We drove a few miles from the airport and stopped to buy dog and cat food plus cat litter, then checked into a Motel 6. That chain is the only one that takes pets. The motel was still being built and some of the electric-card doors didn’t work. The towels are small and the floor is accident proof, but having a room where we could have our pets was certainly worth over-looking a few door problems. To pet owners, it’s a five star motel.
The dogs took the trip and new adventures in their stride. The little male cat, Boots, took over the room as if he’d been there all his life. The Siamese Mexican Mix female, Baby, found her place under the bed. None of them had eaten since breakfast and weren’t interested in dinner, but by the next morning, all were gobbling up everything they could find.
Early the next morning, we drove to Sacramento to a Motel 6 in West Sacramento. There, they had a room with a queen size bed. At first, Baby stayed under the bed, but as night fell and we fell asleep, she ventured out and onto the bed. The dogs, Muneca and Stinky, both jumped up and Muneca snuggled down under the covers while the other tried to commandeer one of the pillows. Boots found his place over my head. As the night continued, they all moved around to find more comfortable spots for themselves but not for us! Boots decided to take a bath about 3 a.m. and the shaking woke us. By morning, Baby decided to let us know she was hungry. When her vocalization didn’t work, she tried brushing her whiskers across my face. That was a sign to the dogs to begin jumping up and down. Our day began.
For the next few days, as we waited for news to move into our new home, they continued to allow Ted and me the favor of having a little space in the bed if we could find any.
Would we ever leave our pets? Well, we joke about it. Tomorrow we’re going to buy a California King Size Bed. It’s six on a bed for us, as long as our beloved pets will allow us a little room!
Check out more of Maria’s articles here in KRL.