Australia Bound Hound
Time sure flies, aye?
Back in 2008, Pete received an offer for a vehicle design role with GM Holden and the wheels were set in motion for a international move to Melbourne, Australia from our home in St.Clair Michigan. After all, my Aussie hubby had spent 13 years state side and survived the bitter cold Michigan winters so it was only fair (LOL). We had mixed emotions as we were stuck between the element of excitement of a new adventure and leaving our family and life long friends behind. Approx 9,940 miles away or 15,997 kms depending how you measure either way it was a hike over the ocean to the land down under.
We sat down with my parents to share the news of this new job opportunity & relo, I made Pete tell them! My Dad had Parkinsons (4th stage) but at that point, still very switched on and full of wisdom & he still had his voice, "Life is like an ocean & you two have to go where the fish are." He was very proud of his son-in-law.
Mom and Dad knew how far away Australia was as they had made the trip for our wedding in 1992 (a story for another time) but this was different. It was not a vacation/holiday - it was a permanent relocation.
When Pete and I left my parent's house on Michigan Avenue that day, we discussed on the way home how we thought it all went, as far as the "delivery" and "receipt" of this news. We agreed, remarkably it went OK.
Well, we weren't back in St.Clair long before our phone rang and it was my sweet Mom.
She said, "Sandee, honey, does this mean the girls are going with you too?" I paused for a moment, holding back the tears and replied, "Yes, Mom" then there was silence. The magnitude of what was about to happen hadn't sunk in with any of us.
We also had another special part of our family, our 12 year old Chow Chow White German Shepherd Mix named Gordy! Born in October 1995, he was a little ball of fluff complete with curly tail and a purple tongue. Pretty special dog (aren't they all?) and we all wanted him to live with us in OZ , it was a non negotiable. So here's what happened!
The quarantine in Australia have very strict regulations against rabies etc. unless you are Johnny Depp, of course and above the law, whatever. So we had to leave him state side longer due to the quarantine regulations - the longer he was in the US, the less time he had to stay in the kennels in Oz. (An imported domestic animal can be quarantined up to 90 days)
So we organized his stay with our lovely neighbors, Bill and Kathy in St.Clair, and the international pet carriers would arrange a pick up for him a couple of months later. This is where things got a bit interesting...Gordy had to have another vet check up/bloodwork before he flew from Detroit to San Francisco then the vet in San Fran had to check him over (AGAIN) and put him back in the kennel - sealed him in, to continue onto yet another flight via Air New Zealand where he then landed in Auckland. The last leg was from Auckland he had a flight into Melbourne. He was determined to be with us and we knew he would make it if he could.
The story gets a bit more interesting, you see, Gordy was due to arrive at the Melbourne airport on a bright, chilly sunshiny Friday morning in May. The quarantine staff member was to pick him up and then take him into the kennel for a 30 day stay. I kept the girls home from school as they were "over the moon" excited to see him, then the phone call...it was Quarantine. "Hello, Mrs. Facy, regretfully my guy went to pick up Gordy at the airport and he wasn't on the flight." You can imagine my disbelief and shock! What the??
It was all I could do not to completely lose my mind. I quickly locked the girls out of my room and proceeded to call Pete and give him a 2 minute panic version then I called Air New Zealand Melbourne airport staff. I explained that my dog was supposed to be on a flight arriving from NZ. The nice lady on the other end of the phone explained that their was a computer glitch, it was now a Qantas issue, there was only a written manifest and there wasn't a dog on the list. OMG!!! She then calmly asked me what my dog looked like & his name. I hurriedly replied, "big white dog with a fluffy tail, purple tongue and answers to "Gordy" Please be quick my poor dog would have been in that pet taxi for over 15 hours." She reassured me and said, "Call ya back"...that 10 mins felt like 2 hours. Time stood still....
The phone rang
It was the nice lady from Qantas she found Gordy out in the cargo area by yelling his name!! Keep in mind , that if he wasn't located on that Friday he would have perished for sure, as the rules of Australian quarantine are that only their personnel can open an international pet cage. I thanked her profusely and hung up. Quickly, rang Quarantine in Spotswood and said, "Turn your guy around and get him back to the airport - Gordy is there!" The tears of joy flowed as I hugged the girls & by noon that day we were hugging Gordy in his kennel which was "home" for the next 30 days. We were all reunited!
The adventures of Gordy aka Houdini, "the dog that walked himself" (ask anyone in St.Clair), Gordo, Gman etc are for another day & chat with you. He did live another 5 years into his twilight years with us in Melbourne and made his exit to the rainbow bridge in 2013 Australia Day, of course at a ripe old age of 17.