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Columnist bids farewell: ‘Until we meet again …’

After several wonderful years of writing this pet column, I must bid farewell.

We have (almost) moved to Florida. The pets and I arrived safe and sound! Now, to get Ray here with our other vehicle and have the movers arrive safely next week and we should be well on our way to settling in.

It’s been a rather stress-free move so far, I guess it’s the stress we place upon ourselves that causes the most havoc. Oh, we humans. To be more like animals, huh?

TLC Pet Transport showed up precisely at

8 a.m. on the appointed departure date, and the driver couldn’t have been any nicer. He was the owner’s son, Tony. He said he had two cats of his own and transports all the time. He’d treat my babies like his own. The comfort he bestowed upon me was priceless, although it was stressful watching them all go into their crates for the long drive.

I didn’t have too much time to wallow because the movers showed up out front as the pets were pulling away out back!

I have moved several times within PA but never have I gone through an intrastate move and had the movers come in and pack up our belongings.

This was a first and I tried my darnedest to take my experienced friends’ advice and just “get out of their way and let them do their thing.”

It was great advice. Less than six hours later, they had the interior of the house outlined with moving boxes. All our worldly possessions now contained within cardboard.

Once again, I didn’t have any time to ponder the departure from the house I called home for five years and that Ray had called home for more than 20, because I had a flight to catch.

Off to State College we went. On the way, we re-ceived the first of several text updates from Tony that the pets were all doing well and we should be proud of them. I was most grateful that Rio wasn’t getting motion sick as she did as a puppy.

I made my connecting flight in Philly with eight minutes to spare and arrived in Fort Myers (Fla.) about 12:45 a.m. My Uber driver was awesome, and once again gave me a level of comfort even though I was commuting with a stranger in a strange land.

With no traffic on the road at that hour, we arrived at our new home in record time.

Our house sitter had left the porch light on for me and the baseball fields across the street provided ample light to show me the way to the front door.

I got inside and did a “CSI”/

“Criminal Minds” search through the entire house, and when I found all was well, began to try and unwind. I wasn’t able to hit the pillow until closer to 2:30 a.m. and knew the pets weren’t far behind.

After a few hours of sleep, Tony’s text woke me up. They would be arriving between 8:30 and 9 a.m. Once again, the big white transport van pulled into our driveway! My babies had arrived!

One by one, Tony got the dogs out of their crates and the look of surprise on their faces when they saw me was priceless. I know they were surprised to actually see that it was me standing there waiting for them. It was almost comical.

The cats, on the other hand, looked at me with a bit of disdain as if I had some nerve to box them up and send them on a long drive. All the pets did fantastic, except, BoBo and Gracie, who I had placed in a crate together (because I thought they could keep each other company, but you know how my good thoughts always turn out).

They meowed (loudly) the ENTIRE trip. Tony said, “Oh, they were just talking to each other.” I, on the other hand, would have gone crazy listening to those two’s loud meows for 24 hours straight.

They also trashed their large crate. It was covered in food and I don’t know what else, but those two trouble-makers embarrassed me for sure.

Once inside, I placed all the cats in one room with their litter boxes and water while I let the dogs explore. They had done so fabulously on their ride down and were already acting so well adjusted, I was a bit amazed.

Once the dogs started to settle in, I let them out into the enormous fenced backyard. They had a field day exploring. I then crated Rio and let the cats out to cautiously start exploring.

By then, my head cold that had been coming on was fully inflamed, and I had about as much energy as a dead battery.

Over the course of the next day, everyone settled in nicely and went about their business like old hats.

Ray arrived safely on Saturday afternoon! Now to get through the movers’ arrival and unpacking. I still haven’t figured out the exact logistics of that feat yet, but I will.

For now, I thank you for sharing this amazing and wonderful pet-filled ride with me and know that I’ll be forever sending southern Florida sunshine your way.

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