Orlando - Toronto
September, 2009

Plane Ticket
Every airline have different rules on pets, if your corgis are small enough (pups), you can fly your dogs in the cabin with you in a sherpa bag. Since my corgis are both full grown and I was traveling alone, it was not an option. 

We called several airlines to compare traveling policy and flight cost, in the end we picked Air Canada because it was a direct flight and it was early in the morning. (cooler) 

Crate
We spent 2 days comparing crates in different places, in the end we purchased 2 Petmate - Vari Kennel Ultra Fashion crates (Large 36″ x 25″ x 27″) from Petsmart.

We picked this crate because of a few things:
1. Airline rule: Only 1 corgis in 1 crate, so we bought 2.
2. It was made with a tougher higher grade plastic.
3. It had metal screws all around the crate to reinforce the crate, others only had plastic snap on fasterners
4. Airline require 3 wire vents around the crate.
5. Airline require dog to turn around inside the crate comfortably, since our corgis have long body, we had to buy larger crate.
6. single handle on top, only one hand required to lift instead of 2 hands.

We bought 2 crates for $120 

10 days before flight
I started reinforcing the dogs to eat and sleep in the new crate, the new crate is darker than our wire mesh ones, so I place the crate in common areas where they can always see me, slowly increase their in crate time and always associate yummy food with the crate. A few days later, they felt comfortable to venture into their new crate without treats.

Health Cert & Rabies Cert
If you're flying within the US, there is no need for a health cert, you may want to take your rabies cert with you if you plan to visit a kennel or a local dog park. Since we were traveling to Canada, we had to get a 10 day old health cert from the vet, it is a document dated, signed by your vet with state seal, you present this document to the immigration officer when you go through customs.

Travel morning
I walked them for the last time, potty break, no breakfast, only some water. Put them in their crates with my old T-shirts.

Here's the world's first undercover video shot inside a dog crate. 


The hatch video was pitch black and noisy. The ipod battery did not last long enough for landing (2 hr flight). 

Canadian custom was a breeze, after I claimed my own baggage, I had to go to a special area to claim the dogs, it's usually the place where you claim your surf board, golf clubs...etc. So there they were, Vienna was happy, Mocha was a little nervous.

We proceed to the animal customs, I present the agent the health certs, all the agents circled our crates to play the with dogs through the wire door. a few minutes later and we were done.

Traveling with 2 dog crates and your own baggage is not easy, I had to use one hand to steer the cart with two dog crates, the other hand wheeling my suitcase. The crates barely fit the airport cart, it was impossible to put my suitcase on top or bottom.

After I exit the gate, Silvia (my wife) was there to greet us, the dogs were very excited to see her. while we were walking to the Toronto airport parking garage, Mocha couldn't hold any longer, he pooped his pants. My shirt was sacrificed but I still have my ipod.

Looking back
1. I should have lined the crate with puppy training mat with double sided tape for absorbency. 
2. Always keep paper towel in the car, some wet disinfectant wipe is good.
3. TSA agents NEVER saw the ipod, they put the crate on a table to inspect, but never duck down to see an ipod taped inside a dog crate.
4. The baggage people were quite gentle in handling the animals, not so much your baggage. They actually took time to strap down the crates to make sure they were secure.
5. TSA agent recommend zip ties, so that your animals will not bust out the crate.
6. I found it very funny that the airline asked me what my dogs eat, I thought they were gonna give them a free meal, turns out they want to make sure if they were lost, there's feeding instructions.
7. I can probably get on freecycle.org or cragslist to find dog crates, but may be not the construction the airline required.

Special THANKS
John - my best friend who drove me & the dogs to the airport at 4AM.
GLAD - for making awesome zip lock bags that is waterproof but not sound proof. 
Duck tape - for your unlimited creative useage. 
Apple - for making a thin, lightweight, affordable video recorder.
TSA - for not discovering my ipod and confiscate it.
Ground baggage people - for handling my dogs with care and not stealing my ipod.

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Replies to This Discussion

Just curious as to what you think they would have done if they would have found the camera???? I have the exact same crate at home and hope to someday upgrade my other small kennel to this...I highly recommend these although they do take up more room in a car they are much more comfortable I believe.

Thanks for sharing Sam...now we know and hope all airlines are this good! Very creative idea and great to watch!
I think the TSA would have confiscated the ipod or tell me to take it out at the checkpoint. I was prepared to lose the ipod, I thought it looked more like a bomb with all that duck tape :) Considering the Christmas underwear bomb incident, I hope TSA will do a better search now, at least put the crate through an x-ray and check my dogs for contraband.

This was my complain too, the crates are a little too big, they fit inside my sienna van just fine. but I had to fold down the backseats in the matrix.
Hands down...the music chosen was perfect!!! 5 kudos Loved it!
Thank you :) It's one of my favourite show :p
I loved the special thanks..LOL!!!! If they would of discovered it they would of made you just taken it out. I've added things into my crates and sometimes they go unnoticed and others not. I always send dog food along just incase something were to happen and a leash and collar. Continental is very good. Your allowed 2 pups to a crate as well. Must always make sure there is a water and food dish attached. I line crate w/puppy pads and then a blanket or some form of bedding. I usually add a cow hoof to give them something to do if they are relaxed enough. The blankets I add has the smells from the litter or us if an adult to add comfort.
Great suggestions Wendy! I will check out Continental next time. Another airline that we considered was Jet Blue, but they don't fly to Toronto :(
Dang, Sam, I am going right home to check inside the crates. Maybe Al or Gwynn was the one who stole my Blackberry!

They always hide the microfilm behind the iPod when they fly with Air America.

F.Y.I., we often ship biologicals on dry ice. This is regulated; you have to declare the quantity with a special label on the package. One of the reasons for this: this stuff is sometimes shipped via commercial carriers, and too much CO2 accumulating in the baggage hold is toxic to animals (CO2 is used to euthanize laboratory rodents), so they need to know how much is going onboard.
I'll need to check Mocha's cell phone records, I have a suspicion that he's been receiving text messages from Al!

Very interesting, we used to have a vampire come and collect tubes from our office, he had dry ice in his rubbermaid, good to know :)
Didn't realize there was a comment thing here hahaha. I was wondering about this. Remembered the post about you guys doing it but never saw something afterwards. This is great! Next time need to figure out some sort of night vision thing lol. Wanna see what its like inside the plane as they take off.
he he he... i finally got around to editing it last night, sorry for the wait :) I think next time I will get one of these external battery so that the video can record longer. The ipod can last about 5 hrs of music playing, but with video recording, it's about 3 hrs.

My guesstimation is it'll be dark and uneventful.
Thank you Sunny :)

I was expecting Vienna to be more worrisome, she's usually the first to react and bark, but she did great this time. Mocha on the other hand was a surprise, we didn't expect him to poop his pants, he does have a sensitive stomach tho.

You are correct, no sedatives, the airline said it was not allowed when we first call them. During my check-in, they also asked if the dogs were on any kind of medication.
Per airlines no sedation is allowed since they have no one to monitor them and they are 30,000 ft in the air and so there you have different pressures. Being sedated you would need to monitor heart rate and respiration..could be very dangerous. They say you can give Benadryl which can cause some drowsiness and may calm them a bit but in all honesty...if an animal is scared or aggitated, the little bit of calming pills won't do a thing if adrenaline kicks in. When you check them in they do ask if anything has been administered.

Now when a dog is stressed they use up more of their glycogen so it is suggested to give some Karo Syrup, honey or jelly beans prior to departure...this will help keep the levels up. This is advised in young pups or dogs under 3lbs but I do this with my pups no matter what. No vaccinations within 3 days, no deworming w/in 3 days or any procedures. I follow this even with my adults for precautionary measures. Lowered glucose levels could result in hypoglycemic episodes including seizures, reduction of body temperature (hypothermia) and could severely compromise the health of your pup/dog.

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