Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Flight to Canada – Beau Discovers a New Land

June 1991 rolled around and the family was almost ready for the return to Canada.  Our four-year assignment in France was over.  John left in August 1990 to begin studies at Harvard University and was working in Toronto for the summer, so we were excited about the prospect of being together in our own country once again.

Glen called Air Canada to book flights for – Eleanor, Elizabeth and himself. Then he mentioned the dog would be travelling with us. “Will he be traveling in the cabin or down below?” asked the Air Canada agent. We hadn’t really thought about it.  We could imagine Beau sitting in seat 21 C, bib tucked in, enjoying his steak and Perrier as we flew over Greenland to Toronto.  Since the cost of that was prohibitive we answered that he would travel below – in his cage rather than in seat 21C. Beau was not consulted in the decision – we knew what he would say and we did not want to go there. 

The tickets were bought, the farewells were said and we prepared for the trip to Canada.  We were heading home.  But Beau was heading to Canada as a foreigner.  We contacted the Canadian embassy to see what would have to be done to bring the French member of our family into the land of the Maple Leaf.  The Canadian embassy spelled out the requirements:  he had to be vaccinated within the last year and at least three months before so the vaccinations had a chance to take effect.  The vaccination certificate had to be validated by the French government.  So off we went with our vaccination certificates from the veterinarian, ratified by the French government’s veterinary service and off to the Canadian embassy to get things set.

Beau had to be prepared for the trip.  Elizabeth took on that responsibility, administering tranquilizer pills each day for the week preceding our trip home.  On July 1 we headed to Charles de Gaulle airport and put Beau in his cage for check-in at the Air Canada counter.  Elizabeth administered the injection of a tranquilizer and Beau headed off for boarding.  Beau, not a fan of needles squirmed as she knelt on the airport floor, holding his paw in her hand, as a result spraying a portion of the injection on the Charles de Gaulle floor tiles.  As we stood at the gate awaiting our boarding, we watched him as his cage was towed across the tarmac to the plane – with Beau, the only canine still awake, standing up observing the entire adventure.  It appeared that the tranquilizer was not having any immediate effect, no doubt due to some spilt drops…

We boarded the plane for the 8-hour flight to Toronto.  After clearing customs in Toronto we emerged to meet our family and collect our luggage.  From behind we heard a familiar sound – the plaintive bark of Beau in his cage, welcoming us to the new land, asking when he could get out.

We were home.  Beau had cleared Canadian immigration.  The family was home and Beau was beginning a new life in a new land.  It was a land of big parks, open spaces, squirrels to chase.  The adventure for our three-year-old rocket was just beginning.
Word Guild Award
Word Guild Award

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