We made it to England all in one piece! The last 24 hours in New York were never-ending. You know that feeling when every bone in your body is telling you to stop what you are doing and lie down to get some sleep, and you aren't even close to being finished? That's how it was. We packed, made lists, copied keys, labeled the dog crate and cleaned out closets right until the very last minute. I think we got everything done. I haven't had any horrible realizations of things forgotten yet.
The biggest stress about the journey was our dog Ginger. She is our wonderful and beloved rescue dog who has a very fragile disposition. Given her Scooby Doo-like reactions to thunderstorms (spread eagle, lying on top of me, shaking like a leaf), I was worried that the loud noises and the uneven movements of the plane might just be too much for her. We followed the airline instructions to the letter and read every possible website with pointers and tips for dogs flying in cargo. Then to add to the stress, we called Heathrow the day before the flight to clear Ginger for customs and were told that the wait to pick her up after the flight would be 5 hours!! After begging and pleading with the airline staff to have her expedited, they casually mentioned we could have her delivered to our house for a mere 88 pounds (about $140 dollars). While we quickly jumped at that option, it only prolonged the time until we knew Ginger was ok. During the flight, every noise, jolt and awkward moment had me worried about our precious baby down below. Nevertheless, at 3pm on Wednesday afternoon, a few hours after we arrived at home, a minivan pulled up and we all ran outside with great anticipation. We opened the crate with shaky hands, and Ginger jumped right out doing her signature wiggle dance, in which her tail, which is way too long for her body, shakes so wildly that its swings her entire body side to side.
The next task was to introduce Ginger to the animals. Our house is right in the middle of the farmyard and the stables right beside us contain horses, donkeys and pigs. Given that Ginger is terrified of the two great danes that live in our NYC neighborhood, I didn't have high hopes for her reaction to much stranger and larger animals. She briefly cowered in front of the pigs, didn't seem at all phased by the donkeys and ran up dangerously close to the horses, who were being saddled up to be ridden. My daughter Coco mounted one and took off - it has long been a dream of hers that Ginger would follow her as she rides around the farm. But Ginger stayed right by my side, not budging. Give her some time, I suggested. But as Coco eased her horse into a trot as she was nearing the woods, Ginger took off after her and followed them until they all reappeared together an hour later. Ginger was wet, muddy and out of breath, but I have never seen her happier.