This is one of those experiences that I can now finally look back at and laugh while wincing in pain. After Hurricane Irma (oh yeah, I still have hundreds of more stories from this time to tell) we traveled to the island of St. Kitts & Nevis from Sint Marteen with our dog Bear. On the day when we were leaving St. Kitts I remember not wanting to get out of the hotels bed, because this happened to be the first real night of sleep we had in a long time, even Bear was sleeping so peacefully curled up between my Fiancé and me.
Before being able to enjoy a night sleep in a hotel’s bed my Fiancé and I had been taking shelter at his Medical school with so many other students and their families, and pets. In these situations, you have no privacy, no quiet time, sleep isn’t a priority, and don’t even get me started on the washroom situation. In addition to experiencing communal living at it’s finest, the previous day we had taken a fishing boat to St. Kitts along with the other Medical students and their pets. This ended up being one of the roughest boat rides I had ever been on, it rivaled the ferry I took in Greece from Piraeus to the island of Ios where all I needed were salty crackers to help me through my sea sickness. My stomach is not meant for sea travel at all, and I’ll admit I vomited for hours all over myself, and was accepting of death at that point in the middle of the ocean, wishing I sent a text home to tell my parents I loved them and that I was sorry for getting on this boat that oversaw my fate.
But, this new day where the sun was shining, and we woke up to just ourselves in an actual bed, this day was full of hope. We were finally on our way home with Bear, and it felt as though the fishing boat was just a bad dream. St Kitts at the time had a functioning airport, while Sint Marteen’s airport suffered damage and was in use by the military. That’s why we all had to make the journey over to St. Kitts with other Medical Students and their pets. When we got to the airport, I think we waited 2 hours before boarding and in that time, we spent it drinking juice, giving Bear water and letting him relieve himself and socialize with his dog friends. I won’t lie I was worried that this flight would be hectic with dogs, cats and a rabbit on board for 5 hours. I remember thinking about what if Bear tried to incite playtime with some of his friends. I imagined Bear running up and down the aisles with his dog friends, and flight attendants scolding us.
The moment we stepped aboard with Miami air, I think a lot of us on that plane let out sighs of relief because we all managed to go home with our pets, and the school made sure to get us a flight that would allow us to take our pets on board (which couldn’t have been an easy task).I would have given up all my belongings and left what little items I had left in Sint Marteen just we could bring Bear home, he is not a material object that can be replaced. I’ll never forget some tourists who made there way into the school for shelter getting agitated over the students with pets who would not leave the island without them. Things like that will always make me angry, only people with pets understand how important they truly are and that they are family.
The plane ride (which was on board a Miami Air aircraft) was one of the best flights I had ever had in my life. Bear has traveled in cabin since he was 3 months old, but never with other dogs he knew. Bear fell into his old routine where he fell asleep (as he usually does on airplane rides), but he claimed his own seat in the middle between me and my Fiancé and the two of them fell asleep together. I on the other hand enjoyed the free internet they gave to us on the flight, I was able to face time home and show my parents Bear sleeping soundly on his own seat. My parents always get a kick out of Bear because he’s had so many weird experiences just from being with us, he’s traveled on planes, trains, and automobiles- and well my list could go on and on. Bear doesn’t know it, but his life is anything but ordinary.
Being on board a flight with so many pets is an incredible experience, let me tell you that they were all so well behaved on board. I think each pet felt just as exhausted as we did from everything they endured alongside us. It’s truly an emotional experience to know that all of us stood up for what we believed to be right, and showed a lot of people out there that pets are family, and deserve to be treated like so . And if any of you are wondering where we ended up from St. Kitts we were flown into the lovely city of Chicago who welcomed us and made sure we were all okay ( I made a formal thank you in my NYE post to everyone who helped us), and we then made our way to a hotel called the Q Center in St. Charles with Bear. (p.s sorry about your golf courses sand trap always having paw prints in it, Bear was born on a golf course and he also loves sand which usually triggers the puppy crazies- and stay tuned for our St. Charles Story time coming sometime in a future post)
I’d also like to thank Miami Air for not minding that our pets enjoyed your plane seats, and thank you for understanding how important pets truly are, and for being kind to all of us after going through something that won’t be forgotten. And also thank you to the Marriott hotel in St. Kitts & Nevis, Caribbean for letting a lot of students and their pets enjoy your facilities. Also sorry for the image quality, these pictures were taken with my iPhone which was pretty beaten up at the time.
M & Bear