A woman from Iceland just suggested that I chop one of my dog's legs off.
I hasten to add that I appreciated the Icelandic lady's sense of humour. She has a dog of her own and understands completely the terror of moving them by plane with layovers. I have now spoken to two people from Icelandair and I liked them both. I have a good feeling.
I realised that my meltdown -- my complete loss of the plot after the Air France woman told me I couldn't see Tyson in Paris -- came from the fact that I have been to Charles de Gaulle airport many times. It is the size of a city. Somewhere in the city would be my dog amid a thousand planes going to a thousand different destinations. Also, it didn't help that she seemed to be reading from a script.
Neither lady from Icelandair was reading from a script, unless the script contained jokes about dismembering client's pets. When I told the first one how concerned I was about layovers she said in a calm, slow voice, that they were being paid to worry about it, so I could worry about other things. She said that the change was in Reykjavik, a very small airport and the wait was only one hour. She said they would take good care of him. Somehow I believe people from cold places, especially when it comes to dogs. But, she warned , they could only take animals with a total weight, crate included, of 70 pounds.
I weighed Tyson and the box. It comes to 73 pounds without bedding and bowls.
Why am I considering something as unusual as changing in Reykjavik, I hear you ask? Well, the aftermath of the casual destruction of my plans had me wondering if I should stay here, buy a car, find somewhere to live and find a job. My fear of doing the wrong thing and harming Tyson through my negligence is more than I can bare. I spent a bad a night and a bad day lost again between two choices, here or there. Two things helped me to get grounded again. Car hire and a nanny.
The car hire idea came to me and Sarah and some internet people almost simultaneously. Why not just get a direct flight to somewhere and drive to my brother's house in a hire car? I could collect it from the airport and drop off in Ljubljana. I checked. It was very doable. There are direct flights to Munich and Vienna and they are only four hours' drive away.
That had me feeling better and the decision was cemented by the nanny at Dixie and Muppet's house. The nanny is chatty but we have never spoken with any great determination. As this was the last time I'd see her I told her of my travel frustrations and she transformed into a very helpful person indeed. She's majoring in travel. She has friends who work in the industry and many are stationed abroad. She has travelled extensively in Europe and she said that she would move to Europe in a heartbeat if she could.
All I needed was a nudge from a level-headed and neutral party. Combined with the car hire idea, the nanny solution put me back on track and gave me the strength to try again.
The cost of this venture, however, seemed to spiralling out of control. Flights with Tyson were something around $1400 return and, oddly, more than twice as much for one-way tickets.
I was about to give up again when I discovered Icelandair. I'm waiting for an email from the man at Icelandair who looks after animals. Yes, they have a man. I liked that they have a man. Tyson and his box weigh more than the maximum for taking him as a pet, believe it or not, hence the jocular remark about chopping off one of his legs. However, they can take him dressed as a horse, in which case I have to talk to the man in freight who deals with animals. Icelandair is one of the few airlines that sell one-way tickets for less than the price of a return. I could get there for a sensible price if Tyson is ok with being a horse. There is a change at Reykjavik but the layover is 1 hour, and the airport is small enough for me to feel confident he'll be ok. A four-hour layover at Charles de Gaulle is too much, but Reykjavik seems almost homely. We can fly to Munich and hire a car. Cheap, not too terrifying, potentially ok.
It's Sunday night. Hold onto your hats. I'll do all I can to get a ticket that matches up with an appointment with the vet and the USDA by the end of play Tuesday.
Oh, and if you were wondering what the cause of all my concern looks like, here he is:
Moving with my dog to Slovenia.