Yesterday was Old Dog's departure day. It turned out to be a wild roller coaster ride. Dropping him off was nothing short of heart wrenching. We left on our journey to the airport just before 3am. I was tired and distraught. He was excited about riding in the car. He's always excited about riding in the car. Despite a trip to the airport on the previous Saturday to make sure I knew where I was going, I still ended up turned around. After a few trips around the airport, I finally stopped in the economy parking lot to talk to the attendant on duty. She quickly had me straightened out and I found myself standing in the cold in front of the cargo building, shaking more from the anticipation of leaving Old Dog than the bitter chill in the air.
I entered the building and was greeted by a young girl with a personality too big for the wee hours of the morning. Her attention span was nonexistent and her efforts to be "cute" were more than off putting. Then she started getting information wrong. She mixed up paperwork. Tried to collect fees that were already paid. Got snarky when I pointed out her mistakes. I kept my cool, but was broiling on the inside. I internally swore if this idiot screwed up and did harm to Old Dog, I would exact vengeance for the remainder of my lifetime. We reviewed the paperwork three times before I was satisfied she had all the mistakes corrected.
A quick note here - the relocation company we used saved this situation for me. The previous day, I received a call in which we discussed how the travel day would go, where things sometimes go wrong, and how to deal with them. Had I not been prepped for mistakes to look for when working with the airline employees, one of two things could have very easily happened. There is a high chance I would have never have put Old Dog on that plane. We would have returned home and I would have begun searching for a boat that would take us both to our new home. Or, Old Dog's paperwork would have been screwed up and he would have unnecessarily been detained in quarantine or transported to the wrong location. Thankfully, neither of those happened.
But the day felt like a lifetime. Each second that dragged by felt like a decade. There was a delay in Houston. There was a question about whether he would arrive in time to make the transfer from Oahu to Maui. And I just knew he was crying. I knew he thought I'd abandoned him. My heart was shattered because there was nothing I could do to comfort him. I felt a smidge better when he arrived safely in Oahu. It was late and he was not able to make the transfer to Oahu. He had to stay overnight in quarantine instead of finishing his journey on Husband's lap as I would have preferred, but at least he was out of the hands of that airline with that wretched young lady employee. The relocation company had a lovely woman that made sure he was fed and had a clean bed. They booked him on the first flight out of Oahu for the next day.
I was still a wreck, but managed a little sleep. It felt like I was holding my breath all morning. I knew that the wonderful woman from the relocation company would be meeting him early to take him to the park before his flight to Husband. She promised pictures. Despite feeling more confident about her care, I just needed to see him. Physical proof my loyal companion of over 13 years was safe. Around noon my time, I received a pic that disintegrated the tension and adrenaline that had filled my body for over 24 hours.
He was safe. My heart soared. He was just hours away from being with Husband. I could have wept tears of joy, but I was just too tired.
Tears were shed, however. Brian waited almost patiently for an hour for Old Dog to arrive at the airport. The moment Husband saw the tug driving by with Old Dog in his crate, he flagged it down.
"Yours? Is he yours?" the driver asked.
A little choked up as Old Dog was crying a bit after seeing a familiar face, Husband replied, "Yes. He's definitely mine."
The driver had tears streaming down his eyes as my Old Dog and Husband were reunited. On a beautiful clear day in Maui, half my family was home, safe and sound.