I have been apprehensive about traveling to Alaska on an airplane with my little pixie dog. There are several reasons for this, but most important is that Trixie is an independent thinker who likes things her way. This chorkie is not too thrilled about staying in a carrier during car trips, so as our big move to Alaska draws closer, I have become more nervous about the prospect of flying with the little princess. Since I already had scheduled a short trip to Monterey, California before leaving the lower 48, I toyed with the idea of taking Trixie with me on a practice flight. Should I or shouldn’t I? After bouncing that around for a few weeks, it began eating away at me, and I decided at the last-minute that a practice run would be a great idea!
I had never flown with a dog before, so I got lots of tips and advice about how it should be done. First stop was the vet where we obtained a syringe for dispensing Children’s Benadryl and some chopped up anti-anxiety pills. Armed and ready with the meds, I purchased tiny doggy diapers and training pads to put in the bottom of her carrier. In reality I should have purchased medication and diapers for myself instead of Trixie, because I was sweating and hyperventilating by the time we got to our gate. Trixie, on the other hand, flew through security with flying colors and found it an exciting adventure to watch this new world through the protective mesh of her carrier. No whining, crying or peeing at inappropriate times, at least not for Trixie.
Upon arrival, I scurried off the plane with the pet carrier, found the pet relief area, and breathed in a sigh of my own relief that I had survived our first flight together! Whew! It wasn’t nearly as traumatic as I had envisioned it to be. Although, Trixie and I do have a track record of getting through traumatic situations. She was the only family member at home with me the day I discovered my husband’s deceased body in the back yard. Sharing such an intense experience created a bond that goes beyond words and is the primary reason why I invited Trixie on my Alaskan Journey. For several months after my husband’s death, the pixie engaged in an interesting Sunday morning ritual. All dressed up in my Sunday best, I would let her out back one last time before leaving for church services. Instead of doing her business, Trixie made it her business to march over to the spot where we found my husband’s body. She would sit, park herself there and stare at me with those puppy dog eyes for a very long time, making me late for church.
Now we were in Monterey, and she looked at me with those same eyes wondering what was up on the agenda. Surfing the web, I found that Carmel-by-the-Sea had been rated the #1 Dog Friendly Place in America! I was astonished that we were only minutes away from shops and restaurants that allow leashed pets into their establishments! We had to check this out, so we spent the afternoon exploring this charming city. Stopping to spend a little jingle at the boot store and souvenir shop, Trixie was a welcomed guest just like her human counterparts. We passed other canine shoppers as we continued our promenade through Carmel Plaza so Trixie could sip a bit of water from the Fountain of Woof. Was that a fluffy white horse I saw browsing for Coach purses? Or, was it a hound? While walking along the sidewalks many passersby stopped to admire Trixie’s cuteness and give the pixie princess attention.
We strolled downhill to the sandy white beach to bask in the sun, and then we worked up an appetite climbing back up. That Dirty Harry burger at the Hog’s Breath Inn (once owned by Clint Eastwood) really hit the spot with Trixie positioned near my heels at the patio dining table. A woman from a neighboring table brought her phone over to show us a picture of her dog, Angel, who looked just like Trixie. After engaging in a moment of chit-chat, we left and topped off the afternoon with a purchase of huge ripe California strawberries and honey roasted almonds from the market vendors near the park.
In retrospect, I don’t know why I was so stressed about traveling with Trixie. I suppose it was the fear of the unknown that worried me. Whether it is flying with a furry friend for the first time or suddenly losing a spouse, things usually work out when we confront our fears and conquer them. The process of conquering is not an easy one, but often it results in just what the doctor ordered — walks along the beach, fresh air, and sunshine in our lives.
© 2015 to Present Patricia J. Angus