Dawn Smith: The hounds were in the air 4 hours and I think 35 minutes. Compartment is pressurized. Our protocol for flying hounds is: Feed with gas-X & Pepcid 5 hours pre flight. 2 Hours preflight we give another gas x and pepcid, along with carbo veg. As they are put into crates we use lavender oil essence topically. All Daphneyland hounds have been trained for calming with the song “When you wish upon a star” simply singing this song to them assures them it’s bedtime, and they lay down for sleep. All hounds slept through loading.
What do you do when you run a rescue organization, you are bursting at the seams, the holidays are soon approaching, which means more animals will be coming up in need of good homes, and you have no room for the new dogs to go to? That was exactly the dilemma that Dawn Smith of Basset Hound Rescue Network of Daphneyland, in Acton, CA, was facing. Luckily, the basset hound rescue community is a tightly woven community and for Dawn Smith, there was a solution. ABC Basset Hound Rescue of New York was experiencing a shortage of bassets and an abundance of homes wanting to adopt. So, the solution was a no brainer: Bassets were going to be flown from California to NYC and then placed onto vans to go to their new homes in upstate NY.
The whole process was not an easy one. There were vet checks, blood checks, health certificates to get, paperwork to fill, airplane arrangements to make, etc. It took months of planning. The weekend before the actual flight that was to take place on Monday, December 2, 2012, the hounds needed to be bathed, their crate labeled and assembled. Volunteers were called, who answered in kind.
The hounds were off on Monday. Twenty were originally scheduled to go, but one stayed back home due to illness. Nineteen took off for the 4.5 hour flight. What is the secret of sending 19 hounds on a cargo plane flight without a hitch, without a potty accident (well, one dog had an accident)? In Dawn’s words, “Each crate had a label with the hounds name, vet records showing health cert, HW testing, rabies, vacs., etc., taped on top in waterproof baggies, all hounds wore collars with names on the ABC numbered metal ID tag, as well as the back of the collar. We were taking no chances of identity theft. We worked for the last 2+ months on setting this u … we sent a “pack” of well socialized, rehabilitated hounds to ABC for placement in their homes, [thus] freeing up 20 spaces for hounds that will be facing euthanasia in the month of December. Flying hounds meant only stress for 4.5 hours vs the stress of a 7–10 day ground transport in winter.” And, there was another trick up her sleeve, “Over the many years, we have developed a protocol that has kept our babies calm during flight—or as calm as can be expected. Five hours before preflight, they are fed and given gas-x pepcid and carbo veg. About 1 hour before crating, they get a cookie with another gas x and carbo veg. We let them run and play for 2 hours before crating so they are well exercised, then we dose them with 7–8 drops of pure lavender oil essence. All hounds are ingrained with the bedtime song of When you wish upon a star, and throughout the loading process, volunteers are walking and singing to them to reassure them. They did great. All 19. All hounds slept through loading.”
Daphneyland and ABC Rescue proved that it takes a village to make miracles happen. Today, Saturday, December 07, 2013, 10 of the 18 adoptable hounds (one went home to his/her furever home upon landing in NYC) found their furever homes.
The basset community kept an eye on the FB sites and joyful tears were shed for these lucky hounds. Yes, no-kill solution is viable, it just takes people who can think outside the box.