Day finally arrived and I was a complete nervous wreck. Luckily my friend Ciara was calm and cool as a cucumber and she helped me so much I can’t even put into words how grateful I am.
So we began the long drive in the late afternoon, in my little orange car and headed toward Cargo City. We got updates from my husband on the way (His flight left. He’s landing in 37 minutes. He’s landed!) and when we got to the flight center for the company that did the shipping of Odin (after a rather roundabout run around, dodging 18 wheelers and one way streets: yay Germany – we found the place) we were told we had to wait another 40 minutes for his paperwork to arrive at the flight center. So we went across and waited at the KFC across the road. It was nice to stretch our legs though, after the nearly 2 hour drive. Good traffic flow though – no incidents or staus.
We went back and the paperwork was there and then we were told we had to fetch him at the OTHER cargo center, at the Lufthansa Animal Lounge. I paid the dues, and then we used GPS and followed the signs (because the GPS was very confused – a lot of work has been done in the area and we ended up on roads that the GPS didn’t feel existed – thanks to Ciara’s calm voice and no-drama attitude, we got where we needed to go without getting lost) to Cargo City North. I got another security card for the booms, and we headed up to the admin office for some more waiting and some more paperwork and another round of dues payable. Apparently they felt he had been there 24 hours… I tried to explain his plane had only just landed, but gave up. *shrug*
That finally sorted out, after another 15 minutes or so, we headed down to wait for Odin to be brought out to us (back in his crate – they do take them out though, for a walk around and a piddle break – Lufthansa is our airline of choice when it comes to dealing with animals: they are TOP notch.)
Ciara had a a quick ciggy and took a few photos of me feeling like an expectant mother, waiting for Odin to be brought forth from the Animal Lounge.
Then out came a gentleman (who spoke NO English) who helped us get him out the crate (he was very gentle with Odin) and then also helped us fold down the crate and pack it in the car. It took a little more space than I had expected, so the comfy arrangement I had on the back seat for Odin didn’t quite work out, but I put down a big poofy bed for him and within seconds he was out like a light. Occasionally stirring to look at me, look out the window, lick something, and then go back to sleep.
Long trip back, into the twilight (a spectacular sunset) and then into the darkness.
We arrived home around 9pm, finally. I went upstairs to fetch the monsters while Ciara attempted to get Odin out of the car. No go. He was not budging. He was either too comfortable or too scared. So I brought the girls down and told Ciara to hold them while I got him out. She moved off, so they didn’t see him initially. I got him out the car and by that time they could smell him and they were also super keen to see me, as they were very happy and excited I was finally HOME. Unfortunately they were a little TOO excited and they literally dragged poor Ciara OFF her feet. She fell on hands and knees and bashed herself up quite badly 🙁 I felt totally awful. She’d been SO helpful and this is how the idiots repay her.
But up she jumped! Bit worse for wear, bleeding a bit, but she’s a tough chick and actually APOLOGISED to ME for letting them go. I was like.. er… WHAT?!
Yeah, so the introduction was not as smooth as I hoped – Odin did growl a bit, but not his fault, as the girls overwhelmed him a bit. Azzie of course barking, and letting everyone know what she thought about all this hoohaah. Gina was sweet though, when she saw Odin was scared. She licked his face and sniffed him gently (including his rather nasty looking scar on his back leg where he had the surgery to fix the femur) and then left him be. Azzie of course does things her way… she sniffed, barked, barged into him, sniffed some more, then snipped at him when he tried to sniff her (of course) barked some more and then I handed his lead to Ciara and took the idiots myself. We then went for a 10 minute stroll just to let them get acquainted and to stretch his legs and for them all to piddle before bedtime.
We headed up to the apartment and Ciara cleaned herself up in the bathroom, applied Savlon (it’s a wonderful cream from my home country – it fixes EVERYTHING) and some plasters (bandaids as the americans call them) while I busied myself settling the dogs. I went and got everything out the car and brought it all up.
I started setting up Odin’s crate then realised they were all probably very hungry so I fed them first. Ciara went home, poor girl. Exhausted and battered. Her dogs were pleased to see her, I’m sure. I fed Odin in the laundry room initially – just to keep them separated, just in case – but he was concerned with where I was and what I was doing, so he ate a bit and then came and looked for me. I was sitting with my girls while they ate, trying to reassure them it would all be ok. Gina ate, but Azzie was on a hunger strike apparently. Too miffed at me for one being away so long and two, bringing home this THING! I made sure Gina got all the food she wanted (she’s not a heavy eater, despite her size) and then I went and sat with Odin while he finished his food. He asked for more, so I gave him the rest of Gina’s. I left Azzie’s untouched and on the counter.
Just for his safety and the sanity of the girls, I put him back in his crate for the night. He was a bit reluctant – can’t blame him. Probably thought he was going to be shipped off somewhere else again! But eventually he went in and settled down quietly and nibbled his treat (he’s very gentle and eats surprisingly slowly for a stray) and was quiet and happy and slept all night through. No incidents in his crate either!
In the morning, I took them down (individually, as usual – Azzie, then Gina, then Odin) and he piddled on the grass (I told him he’s a good boy) and then we went up on the grass behind the buildings and he pooped, finally and I made a BIG fuss of him and gave him a treat. He was very happy after that – full of waggy bodied joy and perked ears. We went back inside, I went down to feed the stray cats (can’t ignore them – despite being utterly exhausted) and came back up and all was still fine 🙂 I put him back in his crate (and he went very willingly this time, with no trouble) and we all settled down for a nice nap until it was time to get up and go for our morning walk.
We took it very slow and easy (it’s a bit warmer this morning, so my girls were struggling a bit too) and a walk that normally takes the girls and I about 35 minutes, took us almost an hour. But well worth it. Azzie was much happier with him outside and ALMOST played with him on several occasions… remembering only at the last second that he was NOT her friend and she DIDN’T like him (yet…) so I’m hopeful for the future. It’s only Day One.
He did very well on the lead! I put his little harness on and he didn’t pull, didn’t hide and wasn’t scared. In fact he was quite happy to wander around from one side to the other (like Gina does) and sniff things. He had fun I think, and the girls got a look at him in the daylight. He was very good with the gate guards too – wary, but fine.
I’m tentatively hopeful. Of course Azzie is the painful one – very dramatic, very possessive of me, and always wants to be center of attention. Gina’s fine – she’s an utter sweetheart. She handles him the same way she did Azzie and Azzie was far more of an asshole that Odin is 🙂 He LOVES Gina. Wants to walk with her, sit with her and eat near her.