I am so pleased to share this news with all of our lovely readers….
Luna has landed!!!
She is finally here in the United Kingdom with us and has settled into her new home brilliantly.
At 6:25am on Thursday 19th July, she embarked on her journey of over 3,000 miles which would include two flights, a trip through the Euro Tunnel and a four hour drive from Maidstone to Blackburn. All this…in twenty four hours.
And what an absolute trooper she was! Such journey would be a lot for anyone, nevermind a former-stray in a foreign country, but she astounded us all with her patience. That tail was wagging from 6:00am to 12:00pm, when we finally walked through the front door, and it has hardly stopped since!
The day began bright and early for Luna with her first flight, to Paris via Athens, departing at 6:25am (UTC). I had convinced myself the night before that I needed to lie in with such a big day ahead however I quickly caved and found myself tracking the flight, led in bed, half-closed eyes, glaring screen.
Departed. Brilliant. And again from Athens. Great! Paris, here she comes!
Alice, Luna’s flight partner, was in contact to tell us that Luna was coping confidently in the travel crate and cargo deck – something I had worried about with her going from wide open expanses to thirty six inches or so of confined space. Here’s a shot from the plane window where you can just make out the travel crates.
Another thing we later learned which warmed my heart was that Alice was a nervous flyer but thought to herself…‘If Luna can do this, so can I!’. And it worked! It just goes to show the extent that a four-legged friend can impact you.
Once landed in Paris, Alice handed Luna over to another charity who were assisting us and she was loaded into a van with six fellow rescuees. After she had been successfully loaded, Alice popped us a message over-
It was so reassuring to know that she was in good spirits, especially knowing that she had a lengthy and very confusing journey ahead.
Meanwhile, across the water, Oliver and I had packed her doggy day bag complete with food, water, name tag, toys for comfort etc and headed off to run a few quick errands. First stop, Pets At Home. The charity had advised us to get an additional slip lead for extra security in case she were to get spooked by traffic etc. We picked a turquoise one up and some extra food. Second stop, Asda. Human refreshments were needed for the road ahead.
By 11:00am, we were on our way to Maidstone. Every passing mile that bit closer to Luni! I was so excited, as too was Oliver (after a strong coffee – he’s never been a morning person). The agreed meeting place was Maidstone Services. This felt like a very, very long way off as we crawled through endless roadworks – typical. The fifty miles per hour limits making the journey more tedious and in total, five hours long.
Finally, after two services stops, some car karaoke and a sneaky bit of shut-eye (me, not Oliver), we approached the Services. That’s when we got a call from Fiona, one of the charity workers who was transporting Luna. Unfortunately, they had been delayed at Calais, meaning that they wouldn’t be arriving until 6:30pm, rather than 5:00pm as originally planned.
We were very tired, stressed and ready to stretch our legs so took it as a blessing in disguise. Our long awaited moment was just going to have to wait a little longer. This delay allowed Oliver to grab a quick forty five minutes kip in the back of the car and the time for us to demolish a McDonald’s – a McChicken Sandwich has never tasted so good. As we sat on the park bench in the sun and refuelled, I kept my eye on the time and waited like a kid for Christmas.
At around 6:15pm, we wandered back over to the car which was parked by the entrance to the Services. It was like an episode of MTV’s Catfish, watching in anticipation as vans rolled in, ‘Is this them? Is this?’
Suddenly, I got the call.
‘We’re just coming into the Services now’. We stood ready, I hit record on the camera for the Vlog and watched as a small, white van pulled into the car park with a friendly looking driver and his waving passenger.
This travelling chain of volunteers felt like a relay race and it was our turn to take on our beloved little baton. Fiona and Andrew opened the van and straight away I could hear it ‘bang, bang, bang’, that tail against the sides of the crate. ‘Which one is Luna again?’ joked Andrew ‘’Ah yes, the overly excitable one’. ‘That’s her’ I laughed. And there she was, our first glimpse, beautiful brown eyes behind bars. The door of the crate swung open and out she bounded.
The one question we have been asked the most, did she recognise you? Honestly, at first, I wasn’t too sure. It all happened so quickly. There was so much going on for her: freedom, cars moving all around us, motorbikes revving, pedestrians congregating. Her eyes and nose were in overdrive. After the initial rush, she was very loving but still somewhat distracted, circling the area at the limits of her two leads and exploring this new place. Our encounter with Fiona and Andrew was brief but what incredible people! Turns out they had six more dogs to unload after Luna!
They also informed us that she hadn’t taken much water. I retrieved her bowl from the doggy bag and poured some in. After splashing my hands a few times in the drink, she began to lap it up. My first doggo mom success. We retreated back to the picnic bench and she led Oliver on a scent trail, tracing some four legs who had been here before her. She looked healthy and happy and excitable and energetic – not traumatised or shaking like I had feared.
Suddenly, Oliver noticed something which brought us crashing down from Cloud 9. In all the excitement, we’d let Fiona and Andrew drive away with the travel crate – the one we were supposed to return to Alice (who by this point had flown to Birmingham) on our way back up North. I quickly called Fiona who also admitted that in the heat of their exhaustion, they too had forgotten and agreed to turn around when they could.
This gave us more time to take it all in. Her, us, here, together. She was actually on UK soil. Registered to us. Coming home with us. There was no better realisation. After re-meeting with Fiona and Andrew and exchanging the crate, we hit the road. Luna slept for most of the journey, completely at ease in our company. Whenever Oliver spoke to her , her tail would wag uncontrollably and she would stand and try to lick the back of his neck, such a happy girl.
In Coventry, we met up with Alice. I’m so glad we got to see her again. The last time we saw her was when we said our goodbyes to Luna in Greece and so it felt nice to come back around full circle. Luna too of course was delighted to be reunited with Alice, over the past few weeks they had developed a special bond. We exchanged the crate, some heartfelt words and hugs and she agreed to let us on our way, knowing we still had a fair way to go till we were home. She took this picture of us as she prepared to depart-
Before she left, she asked us to do one thing for her. ‘Even if it’s just once a year, send us an update or a photo of Luna, let us know how she’s getting on’. ‘Once a year?’ I joked ‘You’ll be getting daily updates! You’ll be asking how to block somebody’s number in no time’. That made her smile.
Before we left, I nipped into the Services whilst Oliver gave Luna a small meal. When I returned, it was so heartwarming to see her pull for me, standing on her two legs, wagging her tail as I approached. In that moment, it was confirmed for me – she remembered us, definitely.
And so began the final leg of the journey. Me and Luna fell asleep and with the roads a lot quieter, we made it home in four hours. The time was midnight. We opened the car door and Luna leapt out and heard ‘Luna….Luna’, Oliver’s mum was calling. She trotted into the house and was met with so much love. It was wonderful to see.
Her energy replenished, or at least her tiredness masked by excitement, she began her exploration just like in the hotel room. Within minutes, she was leaping over furniture like a little lamb, skidding from room to room, whizzing her toys in around in the bedroom, so at home with the place and the people.
Bedtime. Finally. She followed us up the stairs and although she wouldn’t spend the night in her new bed, she collapsed on the rug at the bottom of our bed and began to doze.
Mission Bring Luna Home – Completed.
VLOG of the day including reunion and ‘Luna’s First Days’ Blog coming soon!