How to get a chihuahua from point A to point B?
April 15, 2009 12:20 PM   Subscribe

What experiences do you have with having a pet shipped/transported? This question specifically concerns an eight pound chihuahua who will be traveling on her own.

I need to have a chihuahua shipped from Madison, WI to Chapel Hill, NC, and I am not sure how to make this happen.
My sister's beloved pup currently resides in Madison, while my sister is living with me in NC. She misses her dog something fierce, and really wants to bring her here. I posted a query on craigslist to see if anyone happened to be roadtripping, and would be willing to bring her down in her pet carrier, but so far, no bites.
Does anyone here have any experience with any of the myriad pet shipment/transportation services? Some of them seem shady, which ones are legitimate? What sort of costs are we looking at?
Thanks so much in advance.
posted by msali to Pets & Animals (17 answers total)
It'd be so much better for someone to fly the dog down, and carry the dog in the cabin (which you can do on some carriers for a small dogs, for a fee). Indeed, it might even be the same price for someone to fly as for you to ship the dog.

Can one of you fly up and bring the dog back?

This doesn't really answer your question, but I hope it helps. Good luck.
posted by bluedaisy at 12:40 PM on April 15, 2009

Previously on MetaFilter. (Not the same question, but note her plan and my comments.)
posted by el_lupino at 1:08 PM on April 15, 2009

And the short answer is that it will be somewhat cheaper, substantially less complicated and immeasurably less shady if one of you just flies up and gets the dog.
posted by el_lupino at 1:18 PM on April 15, 2009

Response by poster: Cost is a significant factor here, and may ultimately put the kibosh on any plans we make. My sister is underemployed and I am in the process of buying a house. Neither of us have the extra $$$ to be flying right now. I was hoping to find an inexpensive ground option.
posted by msali at 1:21 PM on April 15, 2009

You don't actually have to fly with the dog. It can fly cargo in a kennel. Slightly cheaper than airfare, but I don't have a nonair suggestion, sorry.

If you do decide to use cargo, I've done it before and can help with advice. If you did go this route, you'd want to do it before it starts getting warm here in NC.
posted by artifarce at 1:32 PM on April 15, 2009

I thought putting pets in the cargo area of a plane is no safe bet that they would be safe or comfortable, esp. for a small dog. And why put her into the hands of a Craigslist stranger? I agree with above posters. Airfare is pretty cheap right now--I just found a round-trip flight be/t Madison and Raleigh Durham that's about $200--and you should be able to carry her in the plane cabin with you. Best to just go yourself or have a caring relative in WI bring her to NC for you.
posted by luckyveronica at 1:35 PM on April 15, 2009

Not to be rude, but if she can't afford $200 to fly down and get the dog then she can't afford to take care of the dog in general.
posted by hamsterdam at 2:10 PM on April 15, 2009

Response by poster: Hamsterdam, I will be paying for the dog maintenance and upkeep, but thanks for your helpful tip.
posted by msali at 2:19 PM on April 15, 2009

I would locate a local animal rescue using and ask them. Rescues actually move dogs around the country a lot, basically from places where people are not very responsible with their pets to places that aren't ridiculously over-supplied where pets can find new homes. For example, my dog lived in West Virginia and was given up there but I adopted him in Buffalo to bring him to live in Toronto.

So they do this every day. They likely won't let you use their network for free, but at least you can get their advice.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 2:30 PM on April 15, 2009

uShip is good for cheap shipping but the going rate to send a dog 1000 miles there is $200-300. Looking around online, professional pet moving services charge around $500-600 for ground transit. Cheap ground shipping is cheap because it's slow and you can't take weeks to send a dog somewhere like USPS does with parcel post--I don't think you'll find anything cheaper than air.
posted by phoenixy at 3:08 PM on April 15, 2009

A good place to tap into animal transport possibilities is (registration required to post). However, please note that we do this to help homeless animals who would otherwise be put to sleep or live in shelters. And a long transport (which WI to NC definitely is) is that much harder to arrange. You would have to be willing to be flexible (and maybe spontaneous), both on when the dog travels, and how long it takes for her to get to you. You also have to be willing to trust strangers (mostly trustworthy strangers, but still) with your dog.

I can tell you that the transports up to WI and MN from IL and KY are very active, so it stands to reason there is a pool of potential drivers going back home the other way. I don't know much about anything going east, unfortunately.

Which area did you post your craiglist ad in? I would post at both ends. Somebody's got to be coming home for the summer from college, or going out early for next fall. Try even the Chicago area.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 3:24 PM on April 15, 2009

Craigslist? Really? How can you possibly have any assurance that the totally random stranger you get off of Craigslist will care for the dog responsibly? What will they do if the dog is carsick, or barks uncontrollably, or won't stop whining? Will they leave it in the car to bake while they eat lunch at Arby's? Will they become angry if the dog has diarrhea in the car? I think this is a very bad idea--if you've never been trapped in a car with a dog who is unhappy to be there, you can't imagine how unbearable it can be (and I'm speaking from experience with a dog I adore, not transporting a stranger's dog for whom I don't have any affection). I think the best use of Craigslist would be to sell something worth $200 on there and go get the dog yourself.
posted by HotToddy at 4:36 PM on April 15, 2009

If you end up shipping the dog in the baggage/cargo area, you're going to have to do it soon. You can't fly dogs in the summer because of the heat.
posted by radioamy at 6:09 PM on April 15, 2009

Could you offer to pay the gas round trip for someone you know in Wisconsin to drive the dog down to you? You could offer to let them stay a couple days with you and make a short vacation out of it. Maybe relative in their teens or twenties that would like a reason to take a road trip.
posted by stray thoughts at 6:47 PM on April 15, 2009

Best answer: Just saw this today, from the BBC:

'Bone voyage' as pets get airline
posted by SuperSquirrel at 4:34 PM on April 17, 2009

Response by poster: Update, if anyone is still paying attention. My sister ended up driving to Indiana, and an old friend drove the dog as far as Lafayette, where my sister intercepted said pooch. They are both home and safe, and the dog is settling in well. Thanks to everyone for all of your practical suggestions.
posted by msali at 6:35 PM on April 28, 2009

Glad to hear it!
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:09 AM on April 29, 2009

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