Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Worldwide Wienerdog

Grace's mommy over at Mobile Home said a reader suggested Grace submit this post here. We are glad they did!

Hello, this is Grace, one of Mobile Home's superstars. I have short legs, but in my (almost) four years, I've really gotten around.

I was born in Tennessee and first joined a pack that wasn't the best fit for me. Apparently my first pack leader found me a little difficult to live with ... who knows why. Then, when I was nine months old, I moved to Florida and joined a different pack. My new pack had another red dachshund, and she was awesome. She let me sleep in her bed and taught me to eat my food fast. After a while she went away, and although I missed her, for a few months I got all the attention from my pack leaders. Life was good.

Then the interloper ... I mean, Julie ... arrived. She has really long legs and no respect for my stature, but I guess she's ok. She climbs in my chair with me, and when I'm cold I let her stay. I especially like it when she lays down so I can make sure she knows I'm in charge.

In the last eight months my pack has moved from Florida to Virgina to Manila. I think some of my friends were worried about my trip overseas, but it was ok. I didn't have a great time at the kennel in Virginia because a mean dog bit my ear, but my stay in Amsterdam was ok, and I was happy when Julie and I were reunited with our pack leaders in Manila. When we were waiting in the Manila airport's cargo arrival area I could hear my pack leaders' voices behind the big wall, so I barked a lot to make sure they knew I was there.

I like my new house in Manila. We have a great aso ya-ya who takes good care of us when our pack leaders are away. I used to give her the stink eye, but now I like her a lot.

The best part about living here is the opportunity to chase stray cats. I stand watch at my window to make sure no cats try to sneak in.

When we go outside I patrol the stairs, the park, and everywhere else in our neighborhood. A couple of times I managed to tackle a lounging cat, but my pack leader pulled me back. I have no idea why--I totally could have taken it.

Julie doesn't understand that the cats are invaders who must be eliminated. Sometimes our pack leaders let her off the leash and she just walks by cats that are invading our territory! But she does sit at the window and make sure the tree trimmers stay in line.

If anyone wants to know more about my experience as a Foreign Service dog, feel free to ask. In the meantime, if you see any cats trying to sneak past my perimeter, let me know.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Goodbye Dear Friend. Safe Travels.

While this blog is normally written by Noostie, the Diplodoggie, today I am writing to share our sad news.

Yesterday, after a long battle with lymphoma, our beloved Koshka is finally pain free. The pain now is ours.

Koshka had what we can only imagine was a difficult start before she came into my wife's life in 1996. We eventually learned she had two bb's embedded in her, one in her hip and one near her heart. But even at the tender age of about two years old, she was already a fighter. She waltzed into a friend's home when the door was open, decided this place would do, and went straight up to their cat bowls to help herself.

Our friends decided my wife, who was just on the verge of a breakup with her previous girlfriend, needed a cat. Specifically, this cat. They said her personality was similar to my wife's.

My wife was dubious. She had not had a pet as an adult and wasn't sure she needed the responsibility. But within two weeks, when Koshka managed to escape off of the balcony and my wife panicked, she knew she had fallen for the cat. When she panicked and yelled for Koshka, Koshka sauntered around the side of her apartment building like, "What are you all excited about?"

Koshka quickly trained M that she was in charge. She claimed everything in the house as her own, including the food on M's plate. She was dignified and aloof...she accepted affection only on her own terms. Koshka didn't care much for anyone my wife dated, so I guess she decided I was the keeper when she realized Koshka liked me. Eleven years ago, the three of us became a family.

When my wife left for her first Foreign Service assignment in Baku, I couldn't go with her. Koshka made certain she was well cared for. And my wife rewarded her with devotion, even singing songs to her that to this day are stuck in her colleagues' heads.

Koshka made no bones about ruling the roost. If my wife or I didn't let her do whatever she wanted, she would march straight over to Noostie or Pishik and whap them on the head. They never dared fight back.

Shortly before we went to Jerusalem in 2005, she was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease. She started taking prednisone (and developed a bit of 'roid rage, I think!) with her treats each night. The IBD was under control until April of last year, when if turned into lymphoma. She very nearly died, and the vets told us that even after a blood transfusion and their best efforts, she probably only had six weeks left. We upped her steroids in the hopes of fighting off the cancer, but opted not to put her through radiation.

And like I said, she was a fighter. We were grateful when she made it to M's birthday, and then to Christmas. We took her, Noostie and Pishik with us that year to the beach, and she enjoyed sitting in the window watching the ocean. And then she made it past April and though she kept losing small amounts of weight, we began to hope that maybe she would live forever.

But of course that never happens.

We boarded her at a pet resort to make sure she got her meds when we went on a cruise the end of August. In the week and a half we were gone, she lost two pounds. Since then, we have been thankful for each day. I really expected her to leave us far sooner than she did. But she is a fighter.

But finally yesterday, the struggle was too much for her. She was so tired and weak, and couldn't even get up to go to the litter box. And she was far too dignified for that. We knew it was time to give her one last gift, the gift of letting go.

A friend told me that some animals are just special. And as I write this to you today, I can tell you that she was one of them. I still feel her in this house. Sometime I am certain I see her, sitting in the ray of sunshine that comes in the balcony door or on the back of the couch next to me as I watch tv.

She has left a hole I am not certain can ever be filled, and we miss her terribly.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What'd I Do Now?

I don't know why my mothers think I need to go to etiquette school for diplo-cats....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More Breed Changing

So apparently, changing breeds is not all that uncommon for Foreign Service pets. My mom met another person who is going to a post that does not allow Rottweillers. So now he has become a lab/doberman mix.

Hmmm, I wonder what breed I should change to if some place didn't allow Border Collies? Like that would ever happen. Who could hate a border collie??

In other news, we made the pages of Foggy Bottom Rambles again. It lists some other good links too, and says you should send in your pictures and stories.

Which you should. Especially pictures.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

They say a tiger can't change its stripes...

But can a dog change its breed?


Today, my mom was talking to another FSO, who mentioned she also has a diplodoggie.

When mom asked what breed, the FSO said her dog "used to be a Shitzu."


Apparently, in the post where they are going, Shitzus are decorative and prohibited.

So now she is a mixed breed watch dog.

I wonder if I could be a watch dog someday.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tips on Keeping Busy as a FS Kitty - Tip #1‏

Hi everyone,

As a half-feral cat now confined to the house, it is sometimes challenging to keep myself busy. I have to be creative. Breaking vases and biting ankles can only keep me entertained for so long, and then I have to find new things to do. Mommy yells when I knock things off shelves. She used to squirt me with water until I knocked the water off the shelf onto her laptop (you should have heard Daddy yell about that one!).

So here's a hint: if your parents have a BBQ and someone brings a 24-pack of Tecate Light, don't let them throw away the box!

More advice will follow on how I keep myself stimulated and fit as a housebound FS kitty.

Tigre "Gatito" Torrance

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Guest Post from Princess Pixie Allspice

Warm and furry greetings,

My name is Pixie, actually, my full name and title is Princess Pixie Allspice - yes, I am really THAT complicated and beautiful - but I answer to Pixie... most of the time. I am from Amman, Jordan, and own a lovely new expat family that you can visit at mom's blog Whale Ears and Other Wonderings . My human family includes my mom and dad, plus two non-fur siblings, and my two litter mates, Pumpkin (mom says his full name is "Pumpkin the Destructo Cat") and Ninja (which is her name as well as her life's calling).

Perhaps I should give you just a bit of our history? Once upon a time, long before my non-fur siblings were born, mom and dad were adopted by two British cats. Misty, who was, I have heard, the biggest blackest sweetest barn cat/panther you'd ever be lucky to meet, and Ramses, a clever Siamese who, like me, was of obvious royal birth. I've seen photos of them on mom's blog and wish I could have met them in real life. We love the toys they left behind for us! Misty and Ramses took care of mom and dad through multiple moves and were blessed with the opportunity to raise mom and dad's babies, from birth until about 8 years old, while living in the US and throughout the time the family lived in Egypt. About the time they started preparing to leave Cairo and move to Jordan, Misty took ill. He had reached quite the advanced age. He weakened gradually and died. Ramses was in a terrible dilemma! He knew that his human family was terribly sad without Misty, and that they really needed him and his love. They were heading into a difficult life transition with the coming move away from the only home the kids had really known, but he was also elderly, and oh so tired himself. He also knew that his brother Misty must be very sad to be alone. He thought about his options, and a few weeks after Misty passed on, Ramses lay down and left to go join him. However, my kids tell me that Misty and Ramses did not leave them completely. They believe they have 'visited', and we've heard about a number of angel sightings. My non-fur sister is quite convinced that Ramses-angel is the one who guided our cat momma to birth us where she did, because he knew our humans needed cats to take care of them, and we'd be just the kittens for the job. We like to believe that too.

Anyway, after a sad and cat-less summer, our family finally moved to Amman. About the time they were settling into their new home, my cat momma was settling into a ledge on the wall in their garden. It was filled with all sorts of lovely plants to hide and play in. We were very happy there at first, and enjoyed watching the birds in the garden and the humans through the house windows. Eventually though, it became very difficult for momma cat to feed us. Street life is hard! The humans noticed and came to our rescue, bringing us inside the house where life is safe, warm, and the food is good and plentiful. We had a few indignities to endure... flea collars, shots, and SURGERY! (ow!) But all of these were easy to bear because mom and dad took us to a nice vet who treated us very kindly. His name is Dr. Ala'a Shehadeh, and he has a gorgeous pet hospital in Amman. You can visit his website , where you will find his email address and phone number so you can contact him with questions, or you can visit him on Facebook .

You can also find information about pet relocation on Dr. Ala's website. From what I can read, it says that they provide "Cat and Dog Relocation (Our Exclusive PetPort Service) " and that they have "Extensive regulatory knowledge for relocating your pet to any global destination, with necessary lab work and microchipping. " I'm not so sure I'm comfortable with that microchipping thing - sounds like it might pinch?? - but if mom thinks it is necessary, I suppose I will endure it. Unfortunately, I cannot give you a review of the relocation service, as we have not used it, but mom says that Dr. Ala'a always answers emails and is very professional and friendly.

We were lucky to be able to adopt a good family as easily as we did, but sometimes cats (and dogs) do not have a feline (or canine) guardian angel to assist them, so, what do they do? I asked mom and she said that not only does the VetZone Facebook site often have announcements for people and pets searching for one another, there is also a very good place in Amman, run by humans for the benefit of orphaned animals, called the Humane Center for Animal Welfare HCAW . They not only bring families together, but they help to educate humans about their animal co-inhabitants of this planet, and provide medical care to the less fortunate creatures who have suffered in the wild, on the streets, or even in zoos or on farms. It sounds like a wonderful and kind place. Mom tells me that she knows of a couple of families that have been brought together with help from HCAW.

Now, the sun is warm, my tummy is full, and I feel a nap coming on. I believe Ninja will share the top perch of the cat tower - as long as I do not chew on her ear too much (Her ears are sooo cute though! It is hard to resist.). Thank you for listening to my story, and please, come visit mom's blog sometime so you can meet my family and keep up with us. Also, if you are lucky enough to be coming to Amman, make sure your family checks out the VetZone and HCAW websites.

Love, delicate kisses, and Princess waves

HRH Pixie

Friday, April 9, 2010

Calling All Pets!

I haven't posted in a while. My mother decided to get into shape and decided to get me into shape too. So I have been tired. Plus...


I'm hoping you will help me by writing in guest posts. Don't worry if you have to get your parents to transcribe for you. Just bark or meow or caw or squeek at them (not sure what fish do, except get eaten by cats).

I did get a nice email from Connie at Whales Ears about her three cats from Amman. She says they will write and tell us about their vet and travel agent (your parents might call them pet shippers but I am far too cute to be "shipped." She has some video of her kitties...I bet they could get her to type for them!

Anyway, tell me about where you are and what it is like there.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wag More, Bark Less

We got mentioned today in Foggy Bottom Rambles' post Wag More, Bark Less.

Wag More, Bark Less seems like good advice!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cayenne's turn

My name is Cayenne, and I live with Noostie (aka DiploDoggie) and Koshka, as well as Pishik (who I like to call Aaawwwww because she is so cute). Pishik hasn't shown any interest in blogging though.
I was born in Mississippi April 4, 1996. Okay, fine, hatched. I adopted my mother when I was four months old.
I really like to try to crack my mothers up. The one that works best is when I make a really high pitched squeek and then say "nobody likes that noise!" That gets them every time!
I made a big splash in Jerusalem pretty quickly. When the GSOs, the people who fix things, come over, they always knock first and then open the door and shout "hello" into the house. They have permission to be there, but they want to make sure they don't startle anyone when they come in.
The first time they came to fix something at our house, they opened the door and said "hello." My moms weren't home and I stayed quiet. Then they got into the kitchen, where they couldn't see me, and I decided I had been rude. So I said, "hello?" And all the work stopped. They said "hello?" So I said "hello!" And they said, "hello?" And I thought, wow, friendly folks, even if English isn't their first language! So I said hello again.
We did this for about five minutes before they realized it was me. They told this story at the weekly staff meeting. Apparently I was the hit of the FSN (Foreign Service National) staff!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Guest Post from Gatito in Monterrey

Hi, My name is Gatito.

I lived on the streets until I was four monthsold, and then I found Mommy and Daddy one day when they were outrunning. I put on my best sweet act for the next few days, and then Iresorted to my ferocious nature. Mommy says the scratches on her armlook like a "highway map," whatever that means.

My favorite activities are sharpening my claws, running away so I can hang out on the roof (but I always come back when Mommy callsme...well, almost always) and hunting moths. Once I even killed a coke can (see attached evidence). I didn't know it would shoot juiceat me! Moths never do that.

Daddy leaves the house almost every day. Mommy stays here and staresat a screen and talks to people I can't see. When she does that, I knock things off the shelf so she knows she can talk to me instead. She also plays with her toys, but gets mad when I stomp on them. Something about "deleting an entire email." So yesterday I just took a nap. Her toy makes a nice little cave area where I can sleep. (See other attached photo.)

Meow from Monterrey, Mexico.

Tigre Rayado "Gatito" Torrance

Rascal in boots

Here is a picture of Rascal, another Diplodoggie, that was sent in by a reader.

Rascal tells her Mommy: "Okay I’ll go with you to Bamako but this is the last time I wearing these boots!"

I don't blame you Rascal. I wouldn't want to wear boots either, though I could swear my mother said something about getting me boots when we were walking in the snow last month. Something about how I'd need boots for Estonia. Not sure what that means.

I hope lots of Diplopets will email me their pictures, because there is nothing better than pictures of us, right? And stories too! I love stories from other pets and I am happy to post them here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Word from the Princess

My name is Koshka. You can call me Princess Pretty.

First, I don't know why the dog has a blog, and I don't know why you are reading it. Clearly you don't have enough to do.

Second, when it comes to overseas experience, you should clearly be listening to me instead.

I have been with my mother at two posts, first Azerbaijan (this was before the interloper joined us) and then in Jerusalem.

I understand about travel, and about dignity. When we travelled from Jerusalem back to DC, we were in our carriers for more than 24 hours. At the end of the trip, I fussed at my mother about the appalling conditions and then went about my life. The dog, a bundle of nerves. Pishik, the younger cat in our house, actually soiled herself. Unbelievable.

In Azerbaijan, I had my mother to myself, which I consider the optimum arrangment. In addition to the services of my mother, I also had a housekeeper who kept my litterbox clean (and the rest of the house too). But you should be aware that language issues can cause problems. My housekeeper was Russian, and my name is, of course, Russian for cat (because my mother is not terribly creative). The housekeeper thought my mother was translating my name for her, and would run around the house calling me "Cat" in heavily accented English.

I was not amused.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My new picture

So mom finally found a good picture of me in Jerusalem. The new picture on the masthead is me on our balcony in Jerusalem.

Down below, you can see our "dog park." The land is actually owned by the Queen of England, and was supposed to be where they would build an embassy if the final status of Jerusalem was ever determined. Of course, now it is WAY too small. But it was a good place to go potty and look for squirrels.

Speaking of which, Jerusalem has NO SQUIRRELS! What a rip off! And what is worse, they have lizards, which sound like squirrels climbing a tree but then aren't. Not cool.

We had a crazy neighbor who lived on the other side of our dog park. He liked to point his stick at me. He didn't like dogs because we could see him when he put his prayer shawl on his head. And apparently that made him invisible to people.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Traveling with Pets

I don't know what any of this means, but mom said you might need it if you are in the Foreign Service and travelling with your pets.

She said some of the links are not regular interwebs links and can only be clicked from a State Department computer.

She said you'd know what that meant.


1. Summary: This telegram provides guidance for pet owners who are preparing to transfer this year.This guidance supersedes all earlier guidance relating to traveling with pets. End summary.

2. Shipping a pet is the owner's responsibility. Although the USG may reimburse some costs and posts may provide pet owners with some level of assistance, the USG does not accept any liability relating to the transportation of pets, including the death of a pet in transit.

3. The Department strongly advises travelers to contact their post of assignment to obtain post‐specific information pertaining to pet shipments. Travelers are cautioned that some air carriers may refuse to transport pets during certain times of the year. The desire to travel on the same flight as a pet is not justification to fly on a foreign carrier, travel a less direct route, or make other changes to an itinerary that would violate travel regulations or result in increased costs. Travelers are encouraged to confirm arrangements for their pets well in advance.

4. An excellent resource on traveling with pets is the Overseas Briefing Center (OBC) located at the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center or online. This website contains valuable information and links to resources on pet travel, including current U.S. air carrier pet shipping policies, country specific pet entry requirements, import and quarantine restrictions, as well as a list of commercial pet transporting services located in the Washington metropolitan area. OBC's DVD "Traveling with Pets" also contains up to date information and can be viewed or borrowed from Room E‐2126 at the Shultz Center. The 2010 "Traveling with Pets" program sponsored by the Transition Center will be held at the Shultz Center on Wednesday, April 14, from 6:00 to 8:30 pm. To register for this program call 703‐302‐7268 or e‐mail FSITCTraining@state.gov.

5. The Travel and Transportation (GSO) section at each post will also have invaluable information that generally includes any restrictions on pet import and export, clearance procedures and fees, and quarantine (if applicable). Please contact the GSO or management officer at post for specific requirements. A current post TMTHREE would also include pet‐specific information.

6. Reimbursement for Expenses: The miscellaneous expense portion of the Foreign Transfer Allowance and the Home Service Transfer Allowance (DSSR sections 241, 242, 251, and 252) provide for reimbursement of "certain extraordinary costs" related to moving to and from foreign posts. Such costs may include expenses for shipping a pet. In keeping with current Department policy, only the transportation portion of any charges for shipping a pet from airport to airport is considered allowable when itemizing miscellaneous expenses. No other expenses related to moving the pet to a new location (e.g. veterinary costs, kennel costs, quarantine costs, transportation to and from the airport) are allowed.

Please note that only pet shipment costs from foreign post to foreign post, from foreign post to U.S. duty station or from U.S. duty station to foreign post are allowed. Reimbursement for pet transportation costs is not authorized in connection with travel to and from a home leave address or as part of R&R, nor is it authorized for training periods. On a post‐to‐post transfer where the employee takes home leave, training or R & R before proceeding to the new post, expenses related to shipping the pet to a home leave, training, or R & R address may be calculated on a cost construct basis, based on the cost of shipping the pet directly from post to post. Without receipts, reimbursement for all miscellaneous expenses is paid at a flat rate of the lesser of $500 or one week's gross base salary for single employees and the lesser of $1,000 or two weeks' gross base salary for employees with families. Single employees who present itemized receipts for their miscellaneous expenses may be reimbursed for actual allowable expenditures up to the lesser of one week's gross base salary or the one‐week gross base salary of a GS 13/10, ($1,786 in 2010). Employees with families who present itemized receipts for their miscellaneous expenses may be reimbursed for actual allowable expenditures up to the lesser of two‐week salary of a GS 13/10, ($3,572 in 2010). Please visit the Office of Allowances' Intranet site at for additional information.

7. Tax deductions for moving expenses: Costs beyond the limits prescribed in the DSSR are considered personal expenses. In some cases these costs may be claimed as moving expenses for income tax purposes. Check with a tax advisor or with the IRS for more information on the tax treatment of these expenses. Forms, publications, and other information are available from the IRS Internet web site. Of particular interest is IRS Publication 521, "Moving Expenses." In addition, to assist employees living abroad, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a new IRS brochure, IRS Publication 4732, "Federal Tax Information for U.S. Taxpayers Living Abroad." It is available here.

8. The three ways to transport a pet via air are listed below (not all airlines provide all three options):

(a) As excess/accompanied baggage:
Depending on the airline, a pet may be able to travel on the same flight(s) as the traveler, either in the cabin or in the cargo hold. Pets transported this way may be considered excess baggage and charged accordingly. Do not assume that the pet will be allowed on the same flight. Seek confirmation in advance. Animals weighing 100 pounds or more will usually travel as cargo, even if on the same flight as the traveler. Check with the airline.

(b) As air cargo:
Pets may be transported as an air cargo shipment on a separate flight. In this case the pet does not have to be accompanied, but must be picked‐up at the final destination. The cost of this service is often considerably higher than shipping a pet as excess/accompanied baggage.

(c) As air cargo via a commercial shipping company:
A licensed commercial shipper can arrange to ship a pet as air cargo. Some airlines require use of this method unless the pet is small enough to fit in the cabin. Charges are likely to include the cargo rate plus the shipper's fee. Arrangements for shipping pets as cargo can be lengthy. It is crucial to plan in advance. Be sure any commercial shipper used is either a "known shipper" or holds an Indirect Air Carrier (IAC)license. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) strictly enforces regulations regarding the shipment of cargo, including pets, on passenger planes. (This does not affect pets traveling in‐cabin or pets traveling as excess/accompanied baggage.) Airlines will typically only accept air cargo from a "known shipper," or from a company that holds an IAC license. A "known shipper" is a shipper that does business on a regular basis with an airline.

9. Shipment of pets to member countries of the European Union (EU): The EU Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) established requirements for the shipment of pets to member states, although some EU member countries impose stricter requirements. Requirements can also vary depending upon where the pet previously resided. The pet section of each post's welcome cable (TMTHREE) should include specific pet entry requirements. The GSO or Management Officer at post can also provide detailed information. Travelers transiting an EU country for a limited number of hours and not taking possession of their pet may avoid some of the more stringent EU Pet Scheme requirements. Links to the EU and the UK Pet Scheme websites are available here

10. Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA): In addition to the other websites mentioned in this telegram, travelers may wish to visit the IPATA website. IPATA is an international trade association of animal handlers, pet movers, kennel operators, and veterinarians who care for pets locally, nationally, and worldwide.

11. Airline Restrictions and Pets: Some U.S. carriers impose restrictions or embargoes on shipping pets between May and September, the hottest months for pets to travel in the Northern Hemisphere. It is important to note that restrictions imposed by U.S. carriers are not uniform from carrier to carrier. Also note that airline partners and code share flights may have different restrictions. Detailed airline‐specific information is compiled in the OBC's "Shipping of Pets Checklist," which is available from the OBC or online.

12. Additional contact information: Any questions regarding this ALDAC may be addressed to the Overseas Briefing Center, Maureen Johnston, johnstonm5@state.gov or telephone 703‐302‐7277, or the Transportation and Travel Management Division at TransportationQuery@state.gov, or the Office of Allowances at AllowancesO@state.gov

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I Like To Eat Stuff

And not just stuff I am supposed to eat, like food, treats, and shoes.

Scratch that last one. NOT supposed to eat shoes.

It is SO hard to remember.

I ate part of my mother's pants once...her work ones. She came home after being gone FOREVER (or at least several hours), changed into her jeans, took me out, and the LEFT AGAIN!

It must be the fault of the pants. Whenever she wears fancy pants, she stays gone a long time. So I ate them.

Turned out, she was going to a seminar on "Travelling with Your Pets."

Good thing she loves me.

Anyway, I eat things I'm not supposed to. Boxes are my favorite, but I really like plastic too. So when we went on vacation and I found this little black piece of plastic, I ate it. Mom called it a roach trap, and instead of getting mad, she got really scared and called some people about poisoning me. Or maybe it was to find out if I was poisoned.

Turned out not to be a strong poison in the trap, but what she found was that my microchip from "Home Again" offers a deal for $15 a year where you can call doggie poison control for free (Plus some other stuff I don't remember. Oh, if I get lost, they will pay like $500 to get me home). But seems like that might be a good place to be able to call if we were overseas too.

'Cause there's ALL SORTS of interesting things to eat there!

Getting there is half the battle

I got the following email from someone named Catherine:

Dear DiploDog, I know air travel is not your favorite thing to do. What would you suggest to bring on your flight to make it a more comfortable experience? Do you have a favorite/least favorite airline experience?

First, I wonder if Catherine is really code for Cat...I suspect this actually came from Koshka, my feline sister who I am certain is plotting to get rid of me. I think this is her plan to lure me onto that big grey box.

But I will answer the question anyway.

For those travelling willingly, there are some things that can make it better. My mothers got me a new big grey den before my first (and least favorite) trip. I thought it was interesting at first, but I think they should have left it out longer for me to get used to it (They did on my second trip, but it brought back horrible memories of my first trip). They also put a comfy pad in there that could absorb any "accidents" (like I don't know how to hold it!) and a shirt that one of them had worn, plus one of my favorite toys. They put some food in a bowl that attached to the den's door, and froze some water in another bowl and attached it to the den door. So I had water during the trip.

They put my name, address and a picture of me on the outside of the cage, in case I got lost. Of course, I have had a microchip as extra protection since the day they brought me home.

Everybody should have a microchip. They are MAGIC! It barely hurts and if you get lost, it will help the nice people who find you get you back to your family. I don't know how...it's just magic!

Even with everything, I didn't enjoy the flight too much. It was loud and long, but in the end, I was back with my mom and it was fine. And the second time, I wasn't scared at all because I was a veteran.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Where Can I Get MY Passport?

There is a post on the interwebs today about how pets going to England have been getting passports for the last 10 years. I want to know where I can get one! Don't you think my picture would look pretty on a passport?

I'm glad though that the pets there don't have to go through quartan...uh...kwaran...uh...getting caged away from their families for six months. My sister the bird had to do that when we came back from Jerusalem. But she only had to stay in New York for a month and she said the people there were really nice to her. They just had to make sure she didn't catch that bird flu. I tried to tell them I had never even seen her have a bird cold, much less the bird flu. But no one listens to dogs about these things.

Sounds like that Lady Mary Fretwell's doggie had a much worse time of it and ended up going to doggie heaven (unless it was a bad dog...). So I am glad she helped make it better for all the fur children who go there.

But I still want my own passport.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Story

My name is Noostie, and I am a DiploDog.

I don't like to talk about my life before my adoption. Let's just say I was sick, hungry and scared. But in September 2002, as I was sitting in my tiny, stinky cage at the Chapel Hill, NC shelter, just after I heard whispers from the guards that they were going to make me go to sleep (I sleep just fine on my own, so I am not sure what they meant), my mother came to visit. Then she visited again, and again. And then she took me home.

And now I am a DiploDog. I travel around the world serving the country, conducting very important business with other governments, going to fancy parties, and getting to live in interesting places and meet interesting people.

Wait, my mothers get to conduct the business and go to the parties. But the last part is true.

And here is where I will tell you some of my stories. And my sisters, the cats and the bird, will tell you their stories too. Well, the nice ones might. I can't say for sure about Koshka. She is kind of old and cranky. But Pishik will...just don't make fun of her, because she is kind of slow.

Don't tell her I said that...she might get Koshka to beat me up.

Welcome to Foreign Service Tails!

My name is DiploDoggie, and I am your blog dog.

It has come to my attention that with all the blogs out there about life in the Foreign Service, most everyone has a voice. Officers, specialists, spouses, you name it.

Now it is the pets' turn.

So if you are a dog, cat, bird, lizard, guinea pig or any other kind of pet who follows your owner around the globe, this blog is for you. And I welcome guest doggers, er, bloggers.