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I’m still fiercely debating shipping the birds versus taking them with me. Is a day of sheer terror on their behalf (and, yes, some financial investment) better than 15 days of “driving gently,” only being able to go to motels that allow pets (rather than hostels and friends’ places), not being able to make stops longer than 10 minutes (and risking some well-meaning know-it-all calling the ASPCA on me, even so), dealing with Canadian and US border guards, and constantly worrying that someone will side-swipe me and the birds will be killed? (To be fair, I’m going to constantly worry that someone will side-swipe me whether the birds are there or not; that’s just how I approach driving. It’s a notch up the fear scale, certainly, but it’s not like I am normally unafraid on the road, anyway.) Also, as the climes get colder, it may get to the point where every time I open the car door, I’m at best ticking them off and at worst risking them getting sick.

Will I save enough in hostels and friends’ offers of crash space to make up much of the cost of shipping? (Because, let’s be honest: friends offering crash space might feel like they’re willing to put up with birds, but I’m not likely to take them up on it, knowing what loud and messy little terrors these guys can be.) Is the freedom to get out of the car, stretch, see a few extra sights, and maybe eat a leisurely salad instead of a burger (or salad-in-the-car) for lunch worth the money and the risks inherent in shipping? Is shipping even actually more risky? I don’t know. It probably only feels riskier because I’m not there to keep an eye on the process.

I’m asking here, because I’m interested in people’s opinions, but I’m also going to call my birds’ vet, obviously. Just knowing what I know, I am leaning toward shipping, a bit. American Airlines is out, since they go through Dallas–and what are the chances of Dallas being below 85 degrees Fahrenheit AND Anchorage being above 45 degrees Fahrenheit, at 1:30pm and 7:30pm, respectively, in September (or any time, really)? I’ll have to call Delta, but I’ll wait until calling the vet.

Dale’s flying with Ella the chinchilla when he comes up. I can’t find any information implying that chinchillas are not allowed on planes, but I can’t find much implying that they are, either. There are, you know, competitive chinchilla breeders; they must get around somehow. I can always call the airlines, if it comes down to it. And talk to the vet about that, as well.

These details, they are beginning to stress me out. Not making this decision, but making the waterfall of decisions that come after this one’s made, you know?

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August 2009