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The Journey of V’Hadiyyah Shi’Rayan.

By Bernd Fritzsch, Ph. D.
© Fritzsch 2012


     While I have been flying with Sloughis across the world, there are two most memorable trips that show how people react to Sloughi puppies and make such trips a pleasure rather than an ordeal. The first of these events I wrote about some 18 years ago when I imported El Emin Schuru-esch-Schams from Germany. It is only fitting that this story is also connected with Germany, however, this time from the
US to Germany. The Sloughi in question is V’Haddiyah Shi’Rayan and her new owners, Claudia Uhink and her family and Cora Nürnberger, are presenting her on a daily basis on facebook. So, to ease the
tension of all, the trip went well, the Sloughia is in good hands and I simply want to report about minor obstacles and how many people helped me on my way to Germany because of this little girl.

     It is without question that a Shi’Rayan Sloughi will fly accompanied by one of us if at all possible. After the people in Germany became interested in one of the V litter puppies, we had to plot when the trip
could take place. As it turned out, I was invited to present some of my scientific insights into ear development and regeneration at a meeting in Germany in the first week of December, the right time to
fly with the puppy. However, we are talking early December and that could mean in Iowa very low temperature, snow, sleet or any mix thereof. In addition, I had teaching and could only leave on
Wednesday, November 30. There was simply no way that I could drive from Iowa City to Omaha, pick up the puppy, board a plane to Chicago and continue to Frankfurt. In addition, most of the planes out of Omaha were too small to carry the crate, not to mention the problems I would encounter should the weather turn bad.

     So, we decided that I would leave from Chicago directly. That meant that I had the little lady with me from Sunday up to our departure from Iowa City in my apartment and my office during the day. Of course, that would also help V’Haddiyah to adjust to a new environment in anticipation of her new home. Needless to say, during the day she had to be with me in my office at the University as leaving a puppy unattended in my apartment would only invite the creative reorganization of anything that little teeth can sink into. To cut a long story short, she performed above expectations, everyone loved her, other dogs played with her and she enjoyed every minute of it. Finally, the day of our trip had arrived. And it was the most beautiful day, sunny and cool. We took off around 10:30 am to reach, in an uneventful trip, the Chicago airport at 2pm. The plane was scheduled to leave around 6:45pm so there was plenty of time and I knew I would need it. First, I had to solve how to get to the gate. I was not allowed to park and unload the dog, going into a parking house near the gates was impossible as they charge over $50 per day and so I had to go to a very large parking lot about 2 miles away. There was a train connection on this lot to the terminal and I thought that this should be easy. Alas, the lot was almost full and I found a parking spot only very far away from the train station.

    There I was, with my puppy, the crate and my luggage, ready to pull all of this across the lot for the next 20 minutes when a bus stopped near me. The driver opened the door and asked if I wanted a lift. I looked at him, puzzled, as the bus was scheduled to go to the international arrival terminal, not at all where I needed to go for my departure. While I was getting ready to thank him politely, pointing out my different destination, the driver said with a big smile: “I saw you unloading on my way out, saw the dog and can give you a ride across the parking lot to the train terminal.” With this, he stepped out and helped me move the crate into the bus. I plopped on a seat next to him, with V’Haddiyah on my lap, and off we went to the train terminal. We stopped close to the door and I saw through the glass door only an escalator going up to the ramp, not the thing you want to do with a Sloughi puppy. He understood what I was looking for and told me that there was an elevator behind the escalator. Again, he helped me carry my crate out of the bus and I gave him a tip thanking him profusely. With a big smile he waved good-bye while I entered the next leg of our journey to Germany.

     Dragging my crate and my luggage, with V’Haddiyah secure on her leash, I entered the train station, took the elevator to the first floor and waited for the train. A young man got interested in the puppy and inquired about the breed. When he carefully stretched out his hand to her, she sniffed it and then licked his hand. He was “melting” and when the train arrived, he first dragged his own luggage in and then helped me to get the crate in. Off to our terminal we went, people getting in and out on our trip until we reached terminal 1, the last stop of the train. With V’Haddiyah on the leash, dragging the crate with my luggage behind me, I entered the terminal. Everyone stepped aside to let me pass through and the clerk for international flights, after checking my passport, opened the barrier and directed me to a free agent to check-in with my dog. That check-in took almost one hour as the person who did it had not done that for years and had to work slowly through all the rules and regulations. While he was finalizing the paperwork for the crate and had already checked my luggage, I decided to drag my crate out to the curbside, taking a chance to walk across the street to a little piece of green to let V’Haddiyah relieve herself, walked back to the crate and dragged it back to the agent. Meanwhile, it had become clear to him that he needed to get somebody to pick up the crate and those two people immediately realized that he did everything wrong with the paperwork. Instead of being done, I started all over again. In addition, they called the supervisor who started to argue with me that the crate did not fit international specifications as the top had to be screwed to the bottom. I showed him the seven screws, five of which were hidden under handles. He finally accepted the crate and one of the people to transport the crate, a young woman with a beautiful smile and great interest in V’Haddiyah helped me finish all the rest of the paperwork. She also searched long and hard to find a note to be put on the crate that would be given to me before the plane would take of as proof that she was on board. We finally walked to the security check-in where I had to get my little girl out again so that a security person could check the inside of the crate. Once that was done, I cuddled V’Haddiyah one last time, put her in, locked the crate and started to walk to the end of the security checking line. When the person pushing the cart with the crate saw me, he called me back and we walked along the very long and growing line as he had to go through the same security check. Following him I cut at least ¾ hours of waiting in line. Thanks to my little dog I had had experiences with the generosity of people at this bustling airport that one does not normally encounter.

     Finally, I was on the plane in my seat and waited for my slip to arrive, confirming to me that she was on board. When the pilot announced that we would be leaving the gate in a few minutes, I got nervous and asked the flight attendant to check on my dog. While he was talking on the phone I saw another flight attendant walking down the aisle toward my seat, with the slip in his hand. I raised my hand, he came to me with a smile, telling me that my dog was on board. I could finally relax, knowing that we would both make it safely to Germany where the next struggle would wait for me. After a record early arrival at Frankfurt airport I had to walk what seemed to be hours before I finally reached the baggage area. Just as I stepped to the counter for oversized luggage, my little girl arrived. When I tried to lift her crate off, a guy in uniform came to me and told me that I could not take her yet as she needed to see the veterinarian first. From the broken German I deduced that he was not a native and I responded in equally broken German that I am American. He told me he is Turkish and started to help me, loading the crate on a cart, moving the cart to the veterinarian at the other end of the hall, making sure that the process was completed fast. With the crate on his card he showed me to the area where my luggage should arrive. It took another five minutes until this finally happened and I was ready to drag my crate with the puppy through customs and further. However, he would have nothing of this and continued to help me, pushing the cart with my dog through customs where the two officers simply nodded to him as apparently they knew him well. After I stepped out in the arrival hall, I saw my sister. She was parked just outside to the arrival hall and not in a parking garage a mile away. As I finally wanted to take over the duty for my puppy, the guy told us he would help pushing the cart to the car. There, he helped me loading the crate. Of course, I had only US Dollars with me so I got some Euros from my sister to thank him for his help. Initially he wanted to refuse the money. Finally I told him that thanks to his help I had the most convenient entry with a dog to Germany ever and I simply wanted to thank him for his help. He accepted the money, waved good-bye, pushing his cart back into the airport while I looked forward to get the little girl out of the crate after a short trip to the house of my sister.

     Once at home V’Haddiyah could finally relieve herself, played shortly with the two mutts of my nephew and followed us up the stairs to the second floor to my sister’s place without even flinching. She was not in the slightest affected by this trip. In fact, thanks to the long hours of sleep she was full of energy. We called Cora, who was delighted to hear that she had arrived. After my sister learned that Cora would pick her up in an hour or so, she said drily that I could leave her as she found her very beautiful. It took V’Haddiyah only a few minutes to twist my sister around her little paw. However, we soon realized that little V’Haddiyah was very clever. After she had finished her milk, and before I could get her out on the lawn she made a little pee in the far corner of my sisters apartment right on the tile floor. While my sister and I rushed to clean this, V’Haddiyah stretched herself and stole one of the cookies my sister had made for me, the one with the coconut, from the table. Of course, we took her out after that and this was when Cora arrived. She was immediately taken by the V’Haddiyah and after talking with us for 30 minutes it was time to take her to Cora’s car and say goodbye. I had her for the last time on her leash, all the way to the car, then I lifted her in and put her on the pillow Cora had in the back of her car. V’Haddiyah rolled into a ball, utterly content with the comfortable spot she had. I had to fight somewith the tears welling up in my eyes as I said good-bye to this little brave Sloughia who had endured all of this ordeal without ever complaining. In a large measure this was due to the many people whohelped on the way, which made this trip less of a problem then I ever could have imagined. Flying with a Sloughi puppy is fun as you experience the helpful and considerate side of people which you would not encounter otherwise.

Epilogue: Needless to say that V’Haddiyah has managed to secure the heart of her new owners and
everyone can see the daily news of her on facebook. She will always be my little princess and I will
always love her for this beautiful memory that I share here with you.


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The contents of these pages, including texts and images, are copyrighted by Dominique Crapon de Caprona and Bernd Fritzsch.  Reproduction of these materials is prohibited without expressed, written permission.