Update: a couple of weeks of limited activity, and a visit to a chiropractor, and Buddy is back at 100%. We have been polishing up our skills, practicing loading up in our Sherpa bag, and planning out the little details for our trip.
Also, a local TV station has picked up the press release about our trip, and will have Buddy and I on during the morning show this coming Thursday, to talk about our journey, and to demo some of the Rally exercises in the studio.
After doing extensive research on carrying a large-ish small dog in cabin, I determined that I ran a risk of Buddy and his carrier not fitting under the seats in the tiny regional planes that fly in and out of Bakersfield, and at the other end, in and out of Harrisburg. So, we changed our itinerary. In doing so I lost my seat in First class, because on the larger planes there is not any room under your seat...it's all taken up by electronics. So we are back in Economy. I'll drive down to LAX, fly non-stop to Baltimore, then drive the 90 minutes to Harrisburg. On the way back I'll drive back to Baltimore, fly to Denver, connect back to LAX, and DH will pick us up. This plan keeps us on larger (757 and A320) aircraft that I have found under-seat measurements that will work for us.
Here is Buddy in our preferred carrier, the Large Sherpa on Wheels. Preferred because it is one inch longer than the other bag, which makes a big difference in his comfort. Also because it has wheels and Buddy weighs nearly 26 pounds. The disadvantage is that it is technically one inch above the airline requirements. It does "squish" some, and should work just fine.
This is a Large Sturdi Bag. It is one inch shorter than the other bag, but also an inch taller at the top. But, because of it's springy design, it flexes down a lot easier. Buddy can go in and turn around in this bag, but not as easily as the other one. It will work in a pinch, if we get a persnickety Flight Attendant, or if my seat has any electronics under it that compromises the available space for his bag, and the other won't fit. I am going to bring it, with my "carryon" items stowed inside in a duffel bag. If I need to put him in the smaller bag, I can quickly pull out the duffel and switch it to the other bag, making it my "carry-on". United is one of the few airlines that does not count your pet carrier as your carry-on bag.
One more photo, just because I have my Photobucket account open. This was Buddy last week out at the ranch, working sheep. A friend had arrived early for her lesson, and snapped this photo of Buddy on the Outrun, where he is sent out in a "loop" to gather up the sheep and bring them toward the handler.
Be careful what you feed with the pill. Cat food tends to be very high protein and hard on dogs' kidneys. High-fat cheese, etc can sometimes trigger pancreatitis. My dogs get peanut butter in small amounts with no problems, but I wouldn't let them have a lot.
Luckily for us, all the corgis will eat anything without asking any questions, so I can usually just drop the pill on top of their kibble in their bowl and not worry about it. When they need a dose between meals, three small pinches of lowfat string cheese (before, hiding the pill, and after) like the double-treat method works pretty well.
If that doesn't work, ask your vet if the medication is available as a liquid, and give with a syringe.
Great news! Had a re-check at the vet today, and Buddy is cleared for normal activity again!
He will go to agility class tomorrow, an agility trial on Sunday, and start up herding again week after next. And, our training regimen for the Rally Nationals is now in full swing!
A month ago, we had low temps in the teens, which is really cold for us. Corgis don't generally need coats, but I made Buddy this coat to wear at an agility trial that weekend, between runs, to keep his muscles warm. Last week it was in the high 70s. Can't we have a happy medium.
Silly me I didn't realize how large Harrisburg's airport is (12 gates). However, there are no non-stop flights from CA which could mean a plane change (lugging carry-ons) in Chicago or Atlanta.
I had to use frequent flyer miles for my ticket and had a very inflexible timeline to work with, so I am stuck with multiple connections. That's just how it had to be.
The advice I got from many folks experienced with flying a dog in-cabin was to fly first class to avoid being hassled by gate agents and flight attendants.
The best itinerary I could get that met my schedule, let me use my miles, AND was on aircraft that had sufficient under-seat space for Buddy's carrier was...
Bakersfield to Los Angeles
5 hour layover
LA to Chicago, overnight flight
90 minute layover
Chicago to Harrisburg
Harrisburg to Dulles
Dulles to st Louis
St Louis to Denver
Denver to Bakersfield
Each return leg had roughly a 2 hour layover
Certainly not perfect, but the best scenario we would get.
Over New Year's we received the exciting news that Buddy had qualified for the 2014 AKC Rally National Championship! It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us, so we are going.
The event is in Harrisburg, PA at the end of March. Since we live in California and I can't take 3 weeks off from work, we are flying. Fortunately Buddy is small enough to be a carry-on pet. Our entry has been confirmed, plane tickets purchased, hotel and rental car reservations made.
Here is where I could use some positive energy from the collected group. To make a long story short, about a week ago Buddy found himself on the losing end of a little altercation. He tore a little but of muscle in his right thigh, and pulled his hamstring. After 5 days of crate rest he is able to just hang out loose in the house and go on short walks, but still can't train, herd, or play, for at least two more weeks. The good news is that our vet does believe that, with proper rest, he will make a full recovery with just some meds and leash walks as PT. He is on Novox (generic for Rimadyl) for the pain and inflammation. At 8 years old, we have to be careful. Please send us positive thoughts for a full and complete recovery so we can get back on a training regimen and resume all of the other activities he loves to do.
I doubt a play pen will hold him for long. Gonna go right over the side.
Turn the play pen upside down over the dog. He won't jump out then! I've done this at home with ours in the past. We use to have an escape artist. He's gone now, but it does work.
An intelligent dog will have it flipped in no time. And any dog that paws at the mesh of a play pen is likely to rip out a nail. Painful, bloody mess that is!
Rockhill, I'm in 100% agreement. I firmly believe the best protection you can give a dog is a properly-sized airline crate that is properly secured in the vehicle, but I'd rather see folks use a harness than nothing at all.
I've known had two different friends have bad crashes like the ones you described. In the first, two dogs were in airline crates, two in wire crates. Both of the wire crates broke apart on impact. One dog was thrown from the vehicle and died instantly. The other ran loose and was lost for nearly 48 hours. Both airline crate dogs were sore, but fine.
Next crash was a fellow corgi herding person, returning cross country from our Nationals about 6 years ago. Her van rolled several times. Van was completely totaled, driver suffered whiplash and several bad bruises. All five corgis were completely fine.
Key #1 - properly sized crate. You are not doing Fluffy any favors by giving her a larger crate to stretch out. The less space she has to be thrown around in a crash, the less risk of injury she will have.
Key #2- properly SECURED crate. Just tossing a crate in the back of the SUV might be OK in a little fender-bender, but in a serious crash the whole crate then becomes a projectile. Small crates can often be seat-belted on a bench seat. Larger crates need to be secured to cargo tie-downs or other anchor points on the vehicle. Bungees don't hold as well as most people think. My tie-down of choice is a ratcheting cargo strap. Since our dogs are smaller, their crates fit nicely in the 2nd row passenger area of my minivan. They also fit in the back seat of our quad-cab tow vehicle. Larger dogs have to go in the cargo area of a van or SUV, and may or may not fit in a pickup.
I removed the second row seats from my van. They sit on a shelf in the garage, collecting dust till trade-in time. I kept the 3rd row seats in the vehicle, folded down but available for passengers when needed. These straps hook onto the anchors from those seats.
Final photo shows the crates in the back seat of the Toyota PU. In the photo I had not yet attached the tie-downs, which hook to the base of the seat, loop over the crates, then back down to the seat anchors. The 3rd crate stacks on top of the one on the passenger side, which was why I hadn't attached the straps yet. These are size 200, or Medium crates. I doubt this configuration would work with a bigger crate. In that case, the SleepyPod harness would be the best option for someone with this sort of vehicle.
My crew all get the Synovi G4 chewies...they go wild for them like they were treats.
Trader Joes makes a chewable glucosamine that our last generation of dogs found very tasty. It's a chewable tablet, but passed of as a treat for even a very cynical old corgi girl. As I recall they were competitively priced, too.
Yes, I know 8 in winner True, her owner Maureen, and breeder Cindy, through herding. True started her week at the PWCCA National herding trial with 2 qualifying scores. Then Tuesday was AKC agility at the corgi national. She won an extremely competitive Masters Std class, then hit the road for Springfield for the NADAC championships. The corgis definitely had a great showing in both 8 and 4 inches.
Buddy is running Skilled/Preferred so he can jump 4 inches and stay healthy. He also now claims a Veteran status in NADAC, and while he doesn't necessarily need the extra time, his handler does!
Thanks for the video. I was getting updates from the championships all weekend via several corgi friends. Love that course, might have to try to set that one up!
We only get a few NADAC trials a year around here, but have two coming up soon...here's a shot from practice last Saturday, running Extreme Hoopers for the first time.
Not likely to be a problem unless he was actively sent to "work". The way scent works, it's not likely he would indicate just by catching a whiff of a neighbor's stash on the breeze.
If he does alert on something at a campsite, you can play it a couple of different ways. You can call him off (leave it, or whatever word he was taught), or, when he indicates, you can just give him his toy --that's what most K-9's are working for.