Six on a Bed: Moving With Pets

Jan 4, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Maria Ruiz, Pets, Travel

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.

Ted at airport

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.

Uhaul single layer

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.

Five on a bed

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.

Maria Ruiz was born in Santa Barbara, California; her family had been there since the Spaniards first converted the Indians & created small towns. She graduated from the University of San Diego State in 1972 & taught for 8 years before starting her own business. After retiring she began a ten-year odyssey to visit and live in 57 countries around the world. She just recently relocated to California. Her book, I’ll be in the Fourth Grade Forever, can be ordered on Smashwords & Amazon. Her blog can be found at and her travel photos at


  1. Loved your story. We have traveled with two cats on vacation and they kept us awake most of the night running up and down the room. Finally turning on the light, it wasn’t as much fun, so they finally went to sleep. Vacation cut short. We went home! Now we take them to our cabin in Nevada City and they sleep in their own room most of the time.

    • Elaine, we started our ten year odyssey with two dogs and two cats. One cat got eaten by a very large owl. The second cat hated the RV and we left him with a lovely couple in Las Vegas. The older schnauzer died of cancer, after fighting diabetes for four years, in Costa Rica. Sherman, the grey and while schnauzer died at age 17 in Thailand and was cremated at a Buddhist Temple and sits at the feet of Buddha. Pets become so dear that when they leave us, we feel the loss for a long time. Glad your pets have a room to stay.

  2. Maria, As always I enjoyed your story. I know what it’s like to sleep with pets and kids!

    Once we moved from OH to IN and had two dogs, but also drove two vehicles, thus divided the four kids and two dogs.

    Then we moved from IN to FL with four kids and a German Shepherd in a station wagon. We made it without the dog getting car sick as he often did.

    We keep our pets, too. But once we had to find a home for the dog who we only had about a year. I asked my vet to help and he found a wonderful home for him.


  3. You and Ted deserve a medal of honour for being the most responsible pet owners I know…I admire your courage to keep on trucking with your beloved pets….age is just a number; travel today can be a challenge in itself, but with five pets…Wow..great true story…

  4. Not at all surprised when you talked of how you would all travel but still interesting to read how it all is working out.
    Yes having pets is a life long commitment…
    Bless your hearts

  5. Great article sharing the animal adventures. Glad you all made it safe and sound and that no one feel off the bed!

  6. Love this happily every after!

  7. Hi Ted and Maria,
    Miss you both… and I greatly enjoyed your “moving” story. About me/here, during the December holidays in Puerto Vallarta… it was quite windy, cold and rainy… thus… I slept on my side on the edge of a single bed… surrounded by seven curled up cats, and one eighty pound dog that always sleeps at the foot of my bed.

  8. Awww, sweet, Maria. And I LOVE the photos. Glad you were able to accommodate your babies!

  9. Great story… How lucky these pets are! Hope all of you enjoy your new home and king sized bed. Keep writing, I always enjoy reading about your travels

  10. Maria, from one pet lover to another, I really enjoyed your article. I bet so glad to be settled now.

  11. Been there done that with a major move from TX to CO. We only have two dogs, but one is an Old English sheepdog who weighs seventy-four pounds. The other is an eleven pound Maltese. Still makes for a crowded bed. btw, LaQuinta allows pets too.

    • Thanks for sharing! Yes pets, they sure have a way of loving us and weedling their way into our hearts. Miss you and Ted at the group and wishing you both a happy and healthy New Year!

    • Judith, good to know about LaQuinta. In Europe we found quite a few that allowed pets. Thanks for the reply. I once had an 80 pound sheep dog but he’d need his own King Size bed.

  12. Maria, You have the best way with words. I don’t even like pets, but I couldn’t stop reading. And only 22 boxes? lol
    May you and Ted keep up your adventure and please keep writing – your stories are such a joy to read.

  13. Thank you Jennifer. With the weather so cold in New York you might want a big dog to cuddle with. They don’t eat as much as a man and they’re always glad to see you. Good luck, Maria

  14. Hi, Maria! We traveled long distance with our malti-poos a few weeks ago and found a Holiday Inn Express took doggies.

    It was their first experience and very much the same for us. They lightly barked at people in the hallway. Were amazed at an elevator. And learned how to jump on beds. We thought hilarious and were happy they took to traveling so easily.

    I love the pix of all your pals with you on the bed. Glad all went safe.

  15. Loved reading about your adventures with your pets. As usual I love reading your stories. Where are you living in California? I I have begun living in Walnut Creek (part time so we may be almost neighbors…still don’t know how this is going to work out. My cat, Armani, is in PV and I am trying to decide which is best for him…California or PV. Also found what you had to go through enlightening as I had assumed I could bring him in my soft sided carrier…now I see there will be more problems than I’d thought. I’d love to hear from you…I think you have my email address. Hugs to you both. J.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



powered by TinyLetter