One Week Before Our Voyage on The Queen Mary 2
I'm currently getting ready for our Paris trip via the Queen Mary 2. As you can see, I'm incredibly ungroomed. Nikki lets me get shaggy like this because she thinks it's cute, but I definitely look like I belong to a homeless guy. We're hitting the groomer today.
Check out what I had to do to get ready for this trip:
1. Eight months ago I started regular veterinary visits to qualify for a "pet passport." This included getting microchipped, a bunch of vaccines (that I wasn't happy about) and a whole bunch of blood tests.
2. Six months ago I had to send my blood to a lab in Kansas (or somewhere in the Midwest) for a rabies titer. As if I have rabies. Come on now. Do I look like I have rabies? Please answer that after you see my "post grooming" photo below.
3. On Monday we will hit the veterinarian again for deworming and a flea and tick treatment. I'm a bit insulted that anyone would think that I have worms and ticks, but thems the rules, so we shall abide. See how obedient I am?
One Day Before Our Voyage to Paris on the Queen Mary 2!
We are nearly ready to go. Here is a photo of me groomed for my voyage. I'm way sexier groomed (or so I've been told).
Today, we had the final visit with the vet. The de-worming was just a pill I had to take -- no big deal -- and the de-tick medicine was a tiny bit of liquid they put between my shoulder blades. This is what I was worried about? This was the best vet visit ever! Oh, but the vet did do something with the thermometer that I didn't like, but I didn't bite him. I've bitten a vet or two in my day for doing things like that. But he's my pal, so I let him do his job.
Here's a pic of me with the vet at Westside Animal Hospital here in NYC. As you can see, I have worry in my eyes and terror in my soul. But it worked out fine.
Nikki is still packing and she keeps sitting on her suitcase to get it to close. I can tell that she thinks it's my stuff that's taking up the most room, but I can tell you for sure that it's her shoes. Tomorrow we board the ship at 11 o'clock-ish. Will post photos and a blog entry from the ship.
Our Embarkation Day!
I knew we were embarking on an adventure, but I had no idea it would start before we left! We got picked up by a nice black car and Nikki put me in my rolling carrier. Off to port we went. There was a lot of security at the port, but they didn't make me ride on the conveyer into the x-ray machine, thankfully.
But, we did have a problem -- Nikki hadn't gotten one little piece of my paperwork signed by the vet! The purser said we'd have to take a car they provide for us to a vet nearby in Brooklyn and that I'd have to get another exam. I have been to the vet so much in the past 6 months getting ready for this trip, I have thermometer nightmares. I could tell that Nikki was about to cry.
So, off we went to the vet. They were so nice to us, and after some paperwork and a quick exam (and $87) we were all set. No thermometers.
When we came back, the chief Purser, Chantal (pictured here), was there to greet us again. This is one of the kindest and most patient people I have ever met. She even carried Nikki's heavy bags while Nikki walked me. That's above and beyond the call of the uniform. Nikki packs heavy.
We walked to the kennel where I met the kennel master -- such a nice guy, I can tell he really loves dogs.
But then I saw the cage -- hey, I thought I was going to be in the plush, luxurious room with Nikki, lounging on the balcony and eating bon bons.
Nope. I have to stay with my canine and feline friends in the kennel. But hey, being in a kennel on the QM2 is WAY better than being in a vet's kennel, or in the shelter, where Nikki got me. So, I'm not doing so bad.
Nikki Moustaki and Pepper on the Queen Mary 2
Day Three At Sea in the Kennel on the Queen Mary 2
It's the end of day 3 at sea, and I can say with all honesty that I can get used to this. At first, I was reluctant to be separated from Nikki, but now I have 5 new doggie friends, 3 new feline friends (they don't play out on deck and I don't know why) and a whole bunch of new human friends. I get pampered from dawn to dusk. Mostly, I'm in it for the attention, and there's plenty of it. There are a few notes I'd like to make, however, on the way things are run on this ship:
1. I should be running it. I'm a Schnauzer, therefore, I know how to do everything and I truly don't understand why I am relegated to just one part of the ship. If I'm as sure of anything in the world, I am sure that I should be the Captain of this vessel. I'll say it now, as I've said it a thousand times, if I had thumbs things would be very different.
2. I should be the navigator. Sure, Europe is probably nice, but wouldn't all of these people rather go to the Canary Islands, the islands named after a dog? I think so.
3. Dogs should have free run of the ship, and humans should have relegated areas. Beyond these three items (so far), this is turning into a stellar voyage. In fact, I have actually gone a bit hoarse from barking -- talking -- to everyone, every cloud, every wave. I'm a talker. There are over 900 Germans on the ship, and since I'm German, they LOVE me. Hey, what can I say? I'm an international playboy.
As for Nikki's voyage, I think she's doing pretty well too. She doesn't report everything to me, but I have a great sense of smell, and I can tell she has been eating caviar, salmon, and more pastries than a human should consume in a small period of time. I heard her speaking with one of the other dog moms, and apparently she is hosting a "Dog Lovers" gathering in one of the bars on board. The event even got put into the daily schedule. I'll report back on how that went -- I'm sure it will be the talk of the kennel.
Day 4 At Sea: A Dog on Cunard's Queen Mary 2
I have gotten my sea legs, even in the 7 foot seas we had yesterday (Nikki was a bit queasy, but I wasn't). My thoughts have turned inward now, and I've gotten philosophical from being surrounded by this much deep blue water. You know that saying, "It's a dog's life?" It's supposed to mean that us dogs don't have great lives. I'm on the Queen Mary 2! Eat that, whomever came up with that axiom.
I have made a lot of friends on this voyage so far. My best friend is an English Spaniel named Dexter. I like him the most because he barks MORE than I do! I wouldn't have thought it possible, but it's true. He's a vocal guy. Because he's here, I look totally sane! How about that. As personality goes, Dex is a truly good-natured pup. He's my home boy, although I don't really understand his humor. I just nod my head and smile; Then there's Benny, a buff Cocker Spaniel. He's pretty cool too, though he spends most of his time sniffing around for food. The Black Lab named Velvet is sweet as can be, and a bit of an attention-hog (I should be getting all the attention, you see). Finally, there's Diva, a 16 year old Pug who's deaf and pretty wobbly, but she hangs with us -- her guardian said that she doesn't like other dogs, but I beg to differ with that. She likes me. There are also 3 cats on board! They are Velvet's cats, and she says they're all right, so I'll allow it.
I found out that there is a formal emergency protocol for the kennel. There are 5 people plus the kennel master assigned to the kennel in case of an emergency, and there's a doggie evacuation procedure and we get to be on the lifeboats with the rest of the guests. Let's hope we don't have to test it out!