Friday, July 27, 2012

5 Down

So, we went to the airport early yesterday and the pup got off on time. He was NOT happy to be awakened at 5 AM (which is just 2 AM California time where his new family was sleeping peacefully) and was even less happy when I made him get inside the crate an hour later. I imagine he was overjoyed at 1 PM (California time) when his people let him out again. At their request, I sent a towel which had spent 24 hours in the puppy pen with him. His new mom said he seemed to relax as soon as she got it out and put it down for him. Two other families have also sent towels for the same mistreatment, but (ahem!) I haven't heard if the smell of home has made any difference in the pups' adjustment. It DOES seem to help with younger pups.
So, with this guy, looking a little stunned, safely in his new home, that leaves 5 in the old home. Two are leaving the first week in August and one a week later. Anyone doing the math,knows the balance is two....

Now, a little airport update or two
First, most people have flown at one time or another and know it takes a while for the baggage to get to the merry-go-round in the terminal. Same thing for pets. When I give you the expected arrival time of the plane, it is the expected arrival time of the plane with your puppy on board. Depending on the size of the airport, it can take from 20 minutes to an hour for the pup to arrive at the cargo facility. Here's the thing, until the pup is there, inside, with someone reading the airbill ,the cargo people cannot tell you if YOUR pup was on board. Despite what Delta will tell you, the Delta computer system is NOT updated every step of an individual shipment (or passenger)'s trek.Sometimes, the computer WILL say there is a live animal or 6 live animals on board, but that's it. And unfortunately, sometimes it will say there are none when in fact there are one or a bunch. Or maybe none. (Animals miss their connections just like people do.) So, you arrive at the cargo terminal (or the passenger counter in small facilities) just before the flight is due in and let the folks there know you're ready to pick up your puppy. If you take your own kids and every one of their friends with you, the Delta employees will be more than happy to get that pup to you quickly. If you must go by yourself, pretend to have a life threatening cough or cold to speed things up. FWIW.

Second, pricing is willy-nilly. There is a severe disconnect between what the booking agents tell you and what the counter people say you owe. When I call in a reservation, I have my airbill right there and know what flights I want the pup on. Not just the one leaving here but the one I want it to connect to... which is seldom the first available connection. In an effort to increase the already astronomical cost of shipping, the Delta rule is a minimum 2 hour connection time or pay more. The problem is, if you pay more there is no guarantee the pup will make the earlier connection, hence no refund when it doesn't which in my experience has been 99% of the time. ANYway, I have the airbill and the flight numbers and the pup's weight and crate dimensions. The cost is figured by the puppy's actual weight and how much weight COULD go in the space the crate is going to occupy. Let's say you have a chunky little Bulldog... since they are very heavy compared to length and height, they can go in a smaller crate than say a Whippet puppy who needs much more room but weighs a lot less. The airlines intend to get theirs regardless (and it's ALL the airlines, not just Delta.)
To make a long story short, the pup who left yesterday weighed 15 pounds and his crate, without him, was 7, probably 10 by the time I got the food bowls and all his paperwork attached, for a total of around 25. On the airbill, I had "+/- 30" which the counterlady changed to 18 for some reason. When I called in the reservation, I gave the booker the wrong crate dimensions and when the crate arrived with its nifty little informational sticker attached giving me the correct size, I called back and gave a different booker the right length/height/width. But THAT apparently was never entered into the booking computer because the price for shipping the pup was much MUCH lower than it should have been. The day before, I picked up a pup that WITH the crate was less than what the California pup weighed by himself. When I booked that shipment, I was told the arriving pup would cost around $210 plus TN tax. Now, our tax is about 10%, but the shipment ACTUALLY cost me just pennies shy of $270. And this, my friends, is why I have gone to shipping c.o.d.

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