How NOT to Ship a Goat (part 2)

Continued from last post…

I am a planner. I plan all of our vacations, keep things organized, do all our taxes and handle all business details. Details don’t scare me. Shipping a goat for the first time excited me! I coordinated the flight and times with the buyer and we purchased the ticket. I read, twice, the instructions on live cargo shipping on the airline website. I called customer service to verify the process. I was prepared. Simultaneously, I booked a flight two hours after the cargo flight at the same airport, believing it was plenty of time to drop of the goat, complete the paperwork and get to the gate for my flight. The best laid plans…

On the day of departure, I was up extra early. My entire day was timed out to the minute. I expeditiously completed my morning routine. All the hogs accounted for and where they are supposed to be- check. Open the barn doors and let the cat out to roam- check. Open up the chicken coop, allowing the chickens and rooster to range freely- check. Cows in pasture are happily grazing- check. Now, for the goats.

Before checking on them, I grabbed the plastic dog crate, placed it in the back of my Jeep and drove down to the goat barn. After enduring a few dozen goat hooves on me, checking their water and petting our LGD (livestock guardian dog), I carefully picked up the 12lb baby goat and headed out of the barn area. Placing him in the crate with some fresh hay, I secured the latch and closed the back door to the Jeep, leaving the glass partition up so he could get some fresh air. Back to the house to shower.

I had (of course) packed the night before, so after showering and putting on what we have come to refer to as “non farm” clothes, the goat and I headed out for our 70 minute long journey to the airport.

As I pulled into the Business Valet parking area, the valets were a bit taken aback as I exited the car with my purse, then proceeded to grab a suitcase and a rather large plastic animal crate with pieces of hay and a soft bleating noise exiting it as I attempted to gracefully maneuver all three items. A manager approached and called over one of the young men to assist me. I proceeded to ask him where I go to “check” in the goat for transport. He gave me a puzzled look, said he wasn’t sure, but offered the young man to accompany me to the gate. I accepted.

One key observation to note. It’s hard to get the right information until you ask the right questions.

Amidst suit clad business travelers trying not to stare, we climbed on the transfer bus and the two of us, the goat and my suitcase headed to the main airport terminal. After a few minutes in line, several odd glances and a few kids approaching for a peek in the crate, we reached the counter. Not one airport employee had said a thing. The woman at the check in counter asked “is that a goat?” rather loudly. More stares.

I was in the absolute wrong place. Apparently, there is a completely different area at the airport, only accessible by car where we had to take the little guy. This other area is for cargo and the goat was, in fact, cargo. How embarrassing. Plan B!

The young man, who was more than kind and accommodating, carried the goat back outside with me to wait for the bus. Panicking, because the goat had to check in soon and so did I, I called the Valet and asked them to get my Jeep. Realizing now that I was stressing, the young man said it would be faster to take his car. At this point, I am up for anything. The bus politely dropped us at his car. We put the goat in the back seat and he headed to the cargo buildings on the other side of the airport. I should be checking in for my flight in 30 minutes.

I was just starting to relax as we hurriedly headed into the cargo building…

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion!

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