Bella and Buggy’s Big Adventure, Part II

Singin’: “Don’t worry about a thing” – I won’t worry!
“‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”

If you haven’t read Bella and Buggy’s Big Adventure, Part I, you ought to go back there first.

At Pet Express, shortly after Bella stole someone’s breakfast, Bella and Buggy were seen by the vet and we were able to leave for the day. We were staying at an AirBnB that: a) was nearby, b) allowed me to have a dog and a cat stay for a few days, and c) had a yard. It was a good plan. We did very little that day. I was pretty panicked and trying to convince myself that Marley was right–every little thing was going to be all right. It was a struggle.

I bought the pets new fleece blankets for their crates, we spent a lot of time together, I repacked my suitcases, we snuggled. The day was infinitely fast and slow at the same time. The following morning, I drove Bella and Buggy back to Pet-Express. I felt awful knowing that soon I would have to leave them to be crated, taken to the USDA, crates “sealed” and taken to the airport to fly to New Zealand. They had no clue.

Autumn from Asheville Highway Animal Hospital in Tennessee had faxed over posters for their crates. They were wonderful.


We walked around Pet-Express until the last minute, Bella on a leash, Buggy in her much-hated harness but it allowed her to wander relatively freely.


Then I left. 

The Air New Zealand flight from San Francisco to Auckland was hard. As I would drift off to sleep, I imagined their fear. We would hit turbulence and I would envision how scary it would be for them. I knew they were together. Mia–or maybe it was someone else at Pet Express–explained that when pets are from the same family, they are put on the same pallet side-by-side with netting around their crates. It helped knowing they were together. I wondered if they comforted each other. The flight lasted forever–an eternity.

I knew I would not get to see Bella and Buggy in Auckland since we had to take a second flight to Christchurch, but as I got off the plane, I stopped in the glass hallway hoping to see their crates off-loaded or  something….anything. A flight attendant from the plane asked if I was okay. I explained why I was standing there. He said that during the flight, he heard Bella barking–but not much of the time. I wasn’t quite sure if I should be relieved or not. Still, no sign of their crates. I went to my departure gate and began looking for them again.

And then I saw their crates–netted together on a pallet, just as described. Yes, Bella’s crate is huge.


As I watched, an airline employee wandered over to their crates and was talking.  I could see Bella moving around. Then he looked in to Buggy’s crate and was talking. There was no sign of alarm on his face. The guy in the hi-vis vest was my hero.  It was clear Bella and Buggy lived through the long flight. That alone was a huge relief. img_8621

As I boarded the second plane, I had to walk right past Bella and Buggy’s crates. I really didn’t want Bella to see me because I knew she would freak and cry. I waited for her to turn away, then went past. I looked into Buggy’s crate. She gave me a horrible mean stare–clearly she saw me and knew that I did this to them. She was not happy.

On to the next flight.  In Christchurch, I never saw them at the airport, although I tried. Dan picked me up at the airport and we called the quarantine. They arrived safely but there would be no visitation until the next day. We were crushed.

 Dan and I spent the rest of the day together, just tired and emotionally exhausted from the 2+ months I was in the US trying to get them to New Zealand. Such an ordeal. We did what we always do in Christchurch: drank flat whites and wandered in Hagley Park.


Of course, the following day, at the first opportunity, we drove out to the Canterbury Quarantine. We had no idea what to expect, except we knew that Bella would be stressed–and she was. Her eyes looked sadder than usual.

Canterbury Quarantine is a super nice facility if a pet has to be in quarantine. It has high-end luxury suites for cats and dogs.  And Karen and Kate obviously love the animals. Each animal has their own space with an indoor section (1/4) and a fully covered outdoor space with a gorgeous view (3/4). They can’t see the other boarders but they can hear them. It is extremely clean and Bell and Bug each had multiple bedding options. Buggy loved her bunkbeds–especially the lower one when a blanket made a little tent around her. Bella seemed to prefer her outdoor bed.

Other than the fact that Bella and Bug had no choice but to stay 10 days, the only other part we wish we could have changed was that it would have been nice if they could have been together–or at least visited each other. I mean, really, Buggy thinks she is a dog, and Bella thinks Buggy is her smaller twin. They would have had an easier time together but alas, the rule makes sense.

Both Buggy and Bella were thrilled to see us–and Dan especially since they hadn’t seen him at all (other than on FaceTime) for 7 months. Bella cried–a lot. She sobbed. She licked us. She could not get close enough. Buggy did her regular chirping–non-stop–to tell us her view on life and ask a million questions. Dan stayed with one, I stayed with the other, then we switched off. Eventually they went to sleep, snuggled up with one of us beside each.

They were exhausted. 

We were able to visit twice that day. In between visits, we went to a store and bought soft blankets, pillows and a bug long stuffed caterpillar for Bella. She loves pillows and stuffed animals. When we returned, she was just as distressed when we first visited. But she loved her caterpillar.


Given Bella’s anxiety level with us coming and going from the quarantine, we made a really hard decision. Instead of staying in or around Christchurch and visiting every day, we decided to go back to Greymouth and wait until Bella and Buggy would be released. Daily visits–in our view–would stress them more.

For the next nine days and nights, we waited…and waited…and waited. And in between waiting, we called Karen and Kate for daily updates.

Bright and early after the 10th night, we drove across Arthur’s Pass to get the furries…finally!

Continued in Bella and Buggy’s Big Adventure, Part III.


4 thoughts on “Bella and Buggy’s Big Adventure, Part II

  1. Yea! I’m so glad they made it safely! What a hero the worker at the airport was! Can’t wait to see them happily at home! I’m sooooo happy for you and Dan and the fur babies!


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