Cross-country move gets a little complex with a pack of pets

Last week, I let the proverbial cat out of the bag that my husband and I, along with all of our pets, were going to be making the big move to Florida in November.

There are so many details to attend to, and so little time…

Worrying about the house here and the house there, the downsizing, the packing, the move, the vehicle transport — are all taking the majority of our time — but making plans and getting the pets prepped for the move is definitely taking a toll emotionally.

It’s not like there aren’t people transporting their pets cross-country all the time and doing so with great success. They are. It’s just the fact that we have so many pets that I think has my stomach topsy-turvy. I just want to see them make the transition flawlessly.

The first order of business was to find a reputable pet transport company that would drive the pets. I would not dream of flying the pets commercially with some of the horror stories that have surfaced over the years of pets in cargo holds on airplanes.

So, yes, I’m one of those pet parents. Overbearing. I own it.

I found TLC Transport Co. out of Kentucky. It’s a husband-and-wife team who employ a few other drivers and make the trek all over the country chauffeuring people’s pets from point A to point B.

After much research, I opted to go with Gale and her husband at TLC. They will pick the pets up at our house and drive them all together (in a large passenger van lined with crates filled with bedding, water, litter boxes, etc.) to our destination.

The trick will be getting me on a plane quickly to make the flight down in time to meet their arrival a day and a half later.

TLC will stop every four hours to potty the dogs and allow them to stretch their legs (along with the drivers’ legs). The drivers/caregivers will feed the pets as per our feeding schedule and are trained to administer medications. You pay a hefty fee for this service but getting our pets all down there together and safely is more of a concern than getting my own personal belongings down there as far as I’m concerned.

In order to prepare the pets for their journey, we have to ensure that they are all up-to-date on their vaccines, which we took care of earlier this year. I also had to fill out a stack of paperwork for the company regarding the pets themselves (descriptions, personalities, medication needs, etc.) and liability forms. I haven’t dealt with that much paperwork since I sold my house. But, their attention to detail is comforting.

I also created my own document with photos and descriptions of each of the pets. I thought it would be helpful (to calm my own nerves if anything).

Now, we wait for moving day. The anticipation is enough to drive me bonkers on any given day, but I try to occupy my time with work-work and work at the house, deciding what will stay and what will go, packing what I can and pitching the rest.

My close friend, Cheryl and her husband, moved out to the west coast a handful of years ago and her advice to me was to take as little as possible and start from scratch. Moving is hard enough, unpacking is harder and finding room for everything is almost impossible. Downsize she preaches to me and I’m doing my best to listen.

I’m such a sentimental packrat. I even keep concert tickets. So, going through my belongings and letting go of items has been quite the test.

The one thing I’ve come to learn is that we, as a society, have too much stuff. I’m trying to let my stuff go and hold on to the memories. I’ve even taken pictures of some of the mementos so I could look back and smile.

I do realize through all of this is that my prized possessions would certainly not be a prize to anyone other than me! It’s time to let it go, as Queen Elsa would sing.

Now, for letting the pets go when the transport team arrives…

Amy is the author of the new children’s book, “Oakley’s Great Cape Escape,” as well as “Have Dog Will Blog,” editor of the Central PA Pets magazine and director of the Central PA Pet Expo. She can be contacted at ahanna@altoonamirror.com or by mail: Paws and Reflect, c/o Amy J. Hanna-Eckenrode, Altoona Mirror, 301 Cayuga Ave., Altoona, PA 16602.