Crate/Kennel = Safety

What is the big deal about using a Kennel?

We regularly have potential customers ask, “Do my pets have to ride in a kennel? How about if we choose private transport and there are no other animals in the vehicle?

Our answer is always, without a question, “Yes!!”

Why? The pets are not accustomed to a kennel and it “seems so cruel” to lock them up!

Because we want EVERYONE’S pet to arrive at their new destination safely!!  Here are the supporting arguments:

(1). Kennels reduce the opportunity for a pet to bolt out of the vehicle and get lost, hurt or killed.

(2). Kennels keep pets confined to a smaller area of the vehicle so that they will not fly into (a). their driver, (b). the back of seats, (c). the windshield and possibly, (d). the street. (No matter how careful a driver is, traffic happens – and sudden stops are part of traffic.)

(3). Kennels help pets feel more secure during travel because they have their own designated space.

We have seen several new companies come out proudly announcing that your pets will not have to be kenneled to ride with them. What that says to us is that they have no idea how to keep your pet safe. We understand that providing the necessary equipment is expensive, but to us … it is worth the expense and we gladly provide that equipment to each of our customers’ pets.

If your pet is unaccustomed to a kennel or crate, buy or borrow one a few weeks prior to your pet’s transport. Follow our guidelines on how to help prepare your pet for transport – and then trust an experienced company to do what they do best!

Choose an experienced pet transporter who understands all aspects of keeping your precious pets safe and comfortable during your move. Sacrificing safety for perceived comfort can have tragic consequences, and we wouldn’t wish that on anyone!

Health Certificate Required?

No Health Certificate required?!

I was shocked and appalled. In reading what other pet transport companies are doing, I discovered a new trend.  Some of the many “crawled out of the woodwork” new companies are making it easier to transport animals. But at what cost? With no health certificate required by their company, the cost may be quite high in the end.

There are very good reasons why we require a valid Health Certificate for each one of our passengers.

First of all, it is required by law. Anyone transporting animals without a Health Certificate is operating illegally.

In addition, and most relevant to US: a Health Certificate issued by your pet’s veterinarian helps uncover a variety of health issues. Some of our past customers have discovered their pets had life-threatening health conditions. These may have resulted in death, had they not caught the illness pre-transport. Instead, they received life-saving treatment and medication. Their pets were then able to be safely transported.

Finally, they are allowing sick or diseased animals into their vehicles. Those same illnesses or diseases may linger. These can then be passed on to other passengers. A Health Certificate helps ensure that pets are properly immunized, as well as treated for parasites.

Be careful, friends. Less expensive and easier does not mean your pets are receiving the best possible care! Maybe it seems easier and less expensive. It is probably just a way to lure in unsuspecting customers who don’t fully understand the implications. We have watched a large number of fly-by-night companies start and leave the business. Most of the time it is to the detriment of their pet passengers.

In conclusion, the best practice is to use a pet transport company that knows their stuff and does not try to cut corners.

Pet Transport Company requires Health Certificate

Potty Stops

Comfort-Carriers believes making time for potty stops on a dog transport is vital.

We build our dog transport trips with potty stops figured into the schedule.  We give our canine passengers plenty of opportunities to “take care of business” each day while they travel with us.

I received a phone call from a potential customer who told me that she is very nervous about using a pet transport company.  Hers was not just the usual “I’ve never dealt with a dog transport company” nerves. In her case it was because last time she did, it had a very unpleasant outcome for her dog.

After 6 days on the road, when she received her dog on the other end of the trip with the other company, he was completely covered in his own filth. She asked the driver about it and she was informed that “the company doesn’t let them get the dogs out once they’re in their kennel because they might escape.”

SERIOUSLY???!!! This dog (and how many others??) had been stuck in a box and not allowed out for 6 full days????? How inhumane can they possibly get??!! Insane!!!

Of the hundreds of animals we’ve transported over the years ONE has stayed in her kennel for 4 full days. Why? Because she threatened her driver at EVERY stop, and we don’t do dog bites! She finally calmed down the day before her delivery, but we were willing to forgive and forget, since she decided to play nice.  She made every remaining potty stop like all of the other dogs: every 3 hours, and she and her kennel were cleaned up and all was well. (The photo on this page is her on day 5!)  Even the research lab pups we’ve transported get the OPPORTUNITY to get out and move around.  At a bare minimum, their kennel lining gets changed regularly so they aren’t sleeping in their own filth.

Dog Transport Potty Stop

I am appalled any dog transport company could consider themselves legitimate by treating animals in such a way!

Potty Stops should be a major point of consideration for your pet’s transport.

Comfort Carriers stops every three (3) hours for dogs to try to potty. If they do not need to potty at that time, they at least get to walk around a little bit and stretch their legs. They enjoy some human interaction and their driver has the opportunity to be sure they are still 100% healthy. The companies who give potty stops any less often are, plain and simply, being neglectful. Should a pet feel ill or injure themselves somehow, waiting six or more hours to check on them is not acceptable.

Will My Pet Have to Ride in a Kennel??

With Comfort-Carriers as your chosen pet transport company – ABSOLUTELY!!

With any reputable pet transport company, a kennel will be required. When your pet is riding in a vehicle with a stranger, the potential risk of your pet bolting at a gas station or other stop is HUGE!!

Imagine that you are already in your new home, 1500 miles away, and you get a call from the transporter.  “We had just stopped for the first potty stop of the day and Scruffy squeezed right out the door before I even stood up completely!”  Now what?  Fly 1500 miles to try to find Scruffy?  Hope the transporter is able to wait however many days it takes to find Scruffy?  And pray that Scruffy isn’t struck by a passing vehicle?  How about just plan on Scruffy riding in a kennel, in the first place?  It doesn’t absolutely guarantee that Scruffy won’t slip through the transporter’s hands, but it sure lessens the likelihood.

Safety, Safety, Safety!!

Additionally, the overall safety factor is a good reason to only use a pet transport company that uses kennels.  “But Scruffy has never ridden in a kennel and I don’t think he’d like it!”  “Scruffy is afraid of kennels!”  Tell that stuff to the hospital when you take a new baby home without a car seat.  Or the police when you are ticketed for not seat belting your child into the car.  We travel thousands of miles in a huge variety of traffic and weather situations.

Just like with a human child, your pet needs to be contained in a relatively small area.  Why? In order to remain safe should we need to brake suddenly in traffic or, heaven forbid, be involved in an accident.  Like a human, your pet could be thrown against (or through) the windshield.  The laws of physics do not care about what your pet likes or is afraid of!

Safety is ALWAYS our #1 concern!!

We have had MANY families proclaim their pets do not like kennels and would not get into one.  Yet it seems there is something about the allure of the adventure that has never caused us a problem!  They always go in.  Yes, occasionally it takes some coaxing, but they realize that the kennel is where they belong.  And they DO go in … and travel quite safely AND comfortably!



Abandoned Puppies on Roadside!?!!

Paid for Abandoned Puppies …

A pet rescue group’s worst nightmare came true when the company they trusted abandoned puppies on the side of the road. People often ask me why I am so particular about who I hire to transport animals. It just needs to be someone who loves animals and likes driving, right? What more could it possibly require?

Maybe the ability to remain calm in the face of any of about a million unforeseen possible situations. Sometimes involving either the pets on board, the transport vehicle, weather, etc.  Someone who doesn’t blink at cleaning up vomit, urine, poop (diarrhea). A person who will not lose their temper if a dog passenger likes to bark … a lot.  Or a cat who meows … a lot. Someone who is not too proud to admit to me that they are burning out, or just plain exhausted. A person who will ask for help, instead of always feeling like they have to have all of the answers, themselves.

Someone who won’t leave abandoned puppies when it gets messy.

Why don’t I just put an ad in the paper and skip to the training process?  Because an interview does not tell me the things I need to know about a person’s character.  Knowing the friends and family members who DO make it through the screening process as well as I do (yes, I have refused to hire life-long friends and family members!!) they STILL must go through a training period where they can be disqualified at any given step along the way.  Doesn’t that strain relationships?  Yes, it certainly can!  But for me, your pet’s safety is more important than anyone’s “feelings”.

abandoned puppies 2

Happy Hounds Transport botches transport abandoning pups on the side of the road

An animal transport taking place over the weekend has gone terribly wrong.

SNARR Northeast contracted Happy Hounds Transport to move five pups over the weekend from West Virginia to New Jersey. While most transports are made by an army of volunteers, Happy Hounds Transport was being paid for this particular transport.

At some point after the transport had started, Happy Hounds Transport contacted SNARR Northeast and indicated they would require twice the money to do this particular transport. It is unclear whether or not SNARR Northeast agreed to the additional fees.

Happy Hounds Transport later contacted SNARR Northeast, yet again, telling them that the pups were ill and they would not continue the transport.

The rescue group requested that the transporters deliver the pups to a veterinarian in the area, but the transporters refused.

SNARR Northeast immediately called the authorities in the Pennsylvania area that the transport had last reported from, and a rescue volunteer was dispatched to try and locate the pups. Several attempts were made by both the rescue and the authorities to contact the transport but the transporters would not answers calls or texts.

The five pups were later found in the apron of a driveway, at a private residence, in Pennsylvania. They had all been crammed into a single small crate and wrapped with a table cloth. One of the pups, Heather, was found to be in extremely poor condition and later died at the veterinarian’s. It is unknown at this time what caused the pups death.

Authorities have started building a case against Happy Hounds Transport and its owner, Carmen Hope Freeman. The remaining four pups are being held at the York County SPCA where they are receiving proper medical attention.

SNARR Northeast will be in contact with the York County SPCA on Monday to determine the condition of the four remaining pups and when they might be able to retrieve them. SNARR Northeast intends to have a necropsy done on Heather, the pup that died, to determine her cause of death.

As of this writing, Happy Hounds Transport is not returning calls, texts, or messages on Facebook.

abandoned puppies

Health Requirement Enforcement

The Health Requirement is required – not an option!

Today I had to do the unthinkable – I had to cancel a pickup because someone did not obey the health requirement.  This business is about helping animals and their families.  It is not a “get rich quick” plan (thank heavens, because we’d be sorely disappointed!!) … but we do have guidelines and policies … and today one of the unpleasant policy options had to be enforced for the first (and I truly hope, the last) time.

The particular health requirement policy in question is something that is explicitly outlined in our contract. The policy states: “A valid HEALTH CERTIFICATE issued by a Dr. of Veterinary Medicine no sooner than 10 days before the scheduled delivery date must be obtained and travel with your pet. Complete medical records or shot records are not acceptable and CAN NOT be used as a substitution.” … “Cancellations made six (6) days or less before transport are non-refundable.” (For clarification: A health certificate will not be issued if a pet is not current on immunizations or has other unaddressed health issues.)

The particular client is a representative of a rescue organization out of NYC.

Someone we have dealt with in the past who violated this policy, but we worked through it with them and decided to give them the benefit of the doubt … and give them a second chance. I took extra, extra pains to make SURE they understood that the health requirements were absolutely non-negotiable. (I still have those chats/emails … it is crystal clear … and he assured me all aspects would absolutely be taken care of, this time.)

So fast forward nearly 3 weeks to pickup day: Today. I arrive at the animal hospital where this dog has been boarded for AT LEAST the past 3 weeks. (Pay close attention: The dog has been in a veterinarians’ care for AT LEAST 3 weeks!) When I arrive, I patiently wait for 20 minutes while they call the client in NYC to get payment cleared. (I actually waited 35 minutes, since I arrived 15 minutes early – but “on the clock” it was 20 minutes … but I digress).

Once they finish clearing payment, I asked them for the dog’s paperwork so I can make sure everything is in order. Missing from the list of health requirements are: Current immunizations, worming, flea and tick prevention, current rabies certificate, Health Certificate. The veterinarian will need at least 20 minutes to get everything caught up on this pup … making total wait time about an hour. My next client’s pickup time will be delayed significantly. Add to that … none of these measures will be effective immediately.

My current passengers would now be at-risk because of this rescue organization’s worker’s blatant disregard for a very necessary policy.

The dog could not be transported. I would not wait, and according to company policy, their money will not be refunded.  We drove several hundreds of miles to pick up this dog. Fuel is expensive right now, so I would be paying out-of-pocket for this person’s irresponsibility. I could have sold that space to another customer. I turn customers away nearly every day. We stay very busy. But I sold it at a significantly reduced price because it was a rescue animal. And … just like last time I transported for him, he attempted to take advantage of my kindness. He had no consideration for my other customers’ pets.

I am responsible for the safety, health and care of ALL pets I transport. Not just rescues. Yes, they have a special place in my heart, but I cannot and absolutely will not jeopardize the other pets because of an irresponsible human. Isn’t one part of being a “rescue” worker … responsibility? I believe it is a HUGE part … that is why we rescue these pets, get them proper medical care, spay/neuter, screen adopters, etc.

So when I notified this “gentleman” that his failure to arrange proper vetting of the dog over the past 2+ weeks was going to result in the transport being cancelled, he got ugly with me.

VERY ugly. I ended the conversation quickly and abruptly by saying, “Our conversation is over. Goodbye.”

He did this on purpose. Once may have been an oversight or misunderstanding. After his ugliness THAT time, I told him not to call me again. But apparently he has done this with other companies and had no more bridges to burn. Because over two weeks ago he emailed me, and against my better judgement, I agreed. My payment for hoping he was actually a decent human being was to be verbally abused and ordered to do as he wished.

I am sure I haven’t heard the last of what he has to say. However, I am now sure that I will not deal with his rescue organization again. Too bad … I’m sure there are some animals who will not be transported, whom they could have saved if only.  If only this one human would play by the rules, instead of trying to cheat.

Digging Dogs: I Can Dig That!

Digging Dogs: 101

Digging dogs. Some do it. A lot. Feverishly and relentlessly, they dig. No matter how many times you scold them and tell them how unacceptable it is for them to dig up your prized daffodils … still, they dig.

Dogs dig for various reasons, but in general it comes down to these things: Heat, boredom, prey, attention and escape. Addressing the root of the problem is the first step.  Still, it may not solve the issue entirely without a bit of work.

Perhaps your pup is feeling a little warm and is just looking for a cool place to lie down for a while? The first step is to make sure your pup has a shady area where he can retreat, no matter what time of day. Keep in mind that if he is confined in an outdoor area, his shade may move throughout the day. Be sure to provide plenty of water for your pup at all times when he is outside, especially during warmer weather. Try to keep his water in the shade as well, since warm or hot water doesn’t do much to cool down a hot dog!

The second reason for digging, boredom, can be more difficult to address.

The solution may be as easy as bringing your pup into the house more often. Allowing him to spend more time with you may help.  Or it may take a bit more time and energy on your part.. Other suggestions are to provide a few toys for your pup to play with.  One of my personal favorites is a Kong.  They make a variety of toys other than the original, so visit your favorite pet supply store to check them out!  A Kong is great for many reasons. They are constructed of made-for-chewing rubber that is virtually indestructible. They bounce in fun ways, and once loaded with a treat they provide your pet something to do while they work to get the treat out!

If toys don’t seem to make a difference, perhaps your dog just needs some good old-fashioned wearing out! Take him for at least two walks a day – or for a run. Throw a ball or frisbee. Play tug o’ war, fetch. Play until he’s too tired to dig, and do it regularly. Yes, it may wear you out too, but if you’re anything like me, a little extra exercise wouldn’t hurt!

Is being a digging dog bred into your pup’s behavior? Terriers or other dogs who are bred to flush out small prey may be digging for moles, other rodents, or insects. Is he digging at the base of a tree? In a flower bed? The best solution for this is to find a safe, non-toxic way to remove his prey (thus temptation). Try to convince him not to dig by using chicken wire around the area. digging dog

If your dog is digging along the fenceline or under the fence, he may be trying to escape from or to something.

Take a look around and try to determine what could be going on. Is there a dog in next yard that your pup wants to go visit? Is there another dog in your yard that your dog is afraid of?

A final suggestion for those tough-to-dissuade digging dogs:

Provide an area where digging is acceptable, then train your dog to dig there.  You may have to place a temporary pen around the area, add sand or loose soil and encourage digging by burying a toy or treat underground.  Praise your pup when he digs in the appropriate area, and try not to react with more than a “No Dig!” when he chooses the wrong spot to dig.  Know there will be a digging mishap or two while your dog is outside of the approved digging area, but plenty of love and positive reinforcement should help make a difference!

Heat Exhaustion in Your Pet!!

Heat Exhaustion: Know the Signs

Summer is in full swing and that means there are animals among us who are suffering the extreme temperatures outside. No matter how pampered your pet may be, every pet owner needs to know the signs of heat stroke! Summer temperatures are into triple digits across most of the country. It doesn’t take long for your pet to go into distress. Know the signs, as well as when to seek emergency help!

~ Excess Salivation – sometimes thickened: Get your pet to a cooler location and supply plenty of cool water for him to drink.

~ Vigorous Panting: If your pet is panting heavily, he is struggling to cool down. Get your pet to a cooler place immediately and be sure to supply cool water to drink.

~ Inside of Ears are Flushed and Red: Panting is not helping your pet cool down quickly enough and he is overheating – get him to a cooler place immediately and supply plenty of cool water.

~ Nausea, Vomiting & Diarrhea: If your pet is suffering from heat exhaustion, he may begin to feel very ill and may begin vomiting or have diarrhea. Loss of fluids can quickly lead to dehydration and escalate his condition to heat stroke, which is life threatening and can lead to death. If your pet is vomiting or has diarrhea, take him to a cooler place and apply cool (but do not use ice water!), wet towels or other cloth to help him cool down.

If your pet is experiencing any of the following symptoms, take your pet to the vet immediately!

Before you hurry off in the car, start trying to help your pet cool down by using cool water (again, not ice water!) from a hose, cool cloths, and the air conditioning in your car. Failure to address these symptoms can lead to Heat Stroke, which can cause blood clots, organ damage, and death.

~ Elevated Heart Rate
~ Weakness
~ Staggering
~ Gasping
~ Brick red, purple or blue gums
~ Lying down and refusing to get up

Even if your pets stay inside most (or all) of the time, please consider providing a much-needed service for the other animals in the area who do not have that luxury. Keep at least one large bowl of water in a shady spot for them! Birds, homeless animals, squirrels, etc. Water is a precious commodity to which some may have very limited access during hot, dry weather.  You could, quiet literally, save a life by making this small effort part of your summer routine!


Scam Alert! Beware!

We are issuing a “scam alert” for unsuspecting consumers. It has come to our attention that there are online scammers who have tried to use Comfort-Carriers’ name, as well as other pet transport companies’ names.  Unsuspecting pet buyers send cash to these fraudulent dealers.  They lure their victims in by “selling” dogs, puppies or kittens that don’t exist. Then they tell them we are the transport company they use and that they will collect payment on our behalf. 

We try to encourage you to adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue organization (whom you will be able to research to be sure it is a trustworthy, legitimate organization). Yet we understand not everyone will make that choice. To protect yourself, please do your research to verify the breeder is legitimate and is not just a scammer trying to take your money. 

Many of these scam artists say they are from other countries including, but not limited to, Cameroon. 

Most are actually from Africa. They offer a free puppy or kitten for shipping/transport costs, only.  Once their customers are lured in, they ask for money to be sent via Western Union or Moneygram.  We have seen emails where the “shipper” is threatening to contact authorities because a pet that was never purchased has been “abandoned” if the customer does not pay to have them shipped.  DO NOT fall victim to this scam!

At Comfort-Carriers, we work with our customers directly. We do not have you make payment to a third party or other company.  PLEASE BE AWARE of these scammers!! Contact us directly if anyone asks you to pay them for our company’s services!  While we conduct the majority of our business online, we are always happy to speak to you on the phone should you have any additional questions or concerns. Be wary of companies who are difficult to track down or contact!

Summer Heat Embargo on Airlines

Summer Heat is here!

Things have gotten crazy-busy here at Comfort-Carriers! With the early Spring weather we’re experiencing – including heat – the airlines have begun their pet embargo! This is bad news to you, the customer. Even though you carefully planned your summer vacation or cross-country move. You arranged transportation for your pets, months in advance. Then when you show up to the airport, your pet will be denied the “privilege” of boarding that plane, even though you bought his ticket 3 months ago!! NOW what to do???

First, I am not going to say, “I told you so”!

… even though I did! 😉

Second, get on the phone with a friend. As sweetly as you can, ask them to take care of your baby for a few days or maybe weeks until we can get him transported for you.

Third, shoot us an email! We are booked pretty solid for the next couple of months, as far as group transports go. Private transport may be an option for you to consider – albeit it an expensive one! (I will always be honest with you – private transport IS expensive!!)

You may not REQUIRE it, but when it is an emergency/last minute situation and we don’t have the time to organize other families’ pets in the same trip – when we commit to taking ONLY your pet cross-country, we are unfortunately going to have to require you to carry the full expense. Aside from vehicle maintenance, fuel, tolls, insurance, motels … you also have to consider that when we are committed to ONE family, it monopolizes your driver and the vehicle, limiting our ability to transport for other families for the duration of your pet’s trip.

That being said … try to be proactive in your pet’s travel! If you insist on flying your pet, be sure to pay attention to their CURRENT embargo status. Stay up to the MINUTE you are to board the plane! No one likes last minute changes to travel plans, and your pet needs to feel secure in his travel, as well. Ground transport can definitely be more costly, financially. Yet when it comes to peace of mind and making SURE your pet will get there safely, comfortably, and healthy, it might best serve you and your family to plan – from the beginning – to transport your pet via Comfort-Carriers GROUND transport services!