Flying cats & dogs to Panama

You’re doing what? You did what? With how many animals?

Jeanie Friedman and Mr Cool

If I had a quarter for every time I heard these questions . . .well you know.

So here I was getting ready to leave Nicaragua and move to Panama. It couldn’t be soon enough for me . . . a culture I couldn’t wait to get away from. But I had moved there with eight cats that I had rescued. I started out with nine but the airlines I flew with lost one on the tarmac. I proceeded to lose three more due to disease contacted there. But soon at my door there arrived, five Nicaraguan baby kitties.

Smiling street dog

First street dog arrives
Then there was the rescue of “Boo” my first street dog-he obviously had been very mistreated -but with time he started to trust me. Now I have his unwavering love and devotion. The other two-Paloma and Merci came to me through other means of rescue. As in the states I couldn’t get anyone to step up to the plate and open their homes to any of these animals. So I did the only thing possible when faced with this type of move -I chartered an airline to transport myself, three dogs and ten cats to our new home in Volcan, Panama. Now, I am far from being well off financially but in the scheme of things the flight was relatively inexpensive and very smooth.

Escape from Nicaragua The morning of our “escape” I crated the three dogs and ten cats. Soon my dear friends Janice and Julia arrived with their trucks. Helen from around the corner was already there to help with loading. Soon we were on our way-we just needed to pick up Timothy who was flying with us to help with all the animals. Not to mention he wanted to see Panama.

There was the usual BS trying to get out of Nicaragua—I had gone through all the correct procedures with the local “so called” vet. All the shots and papers were in order according to him. But as we proceeded to get on our flight the authorities said that I needed more papers. Exit papers no less! So in the heat of the morning I walked three blocks to another building for those papers in order to get the animals out of Nicaragua. But before he would give me the actual papers I had to return to the airport to pay a deposit at the bank and then bring that receipt back to this man before I could get the papers! Then back to airport to give the exit papers to the authorities!

Puzzled Policeman at David airport

What is this lady doing?
We really caused quite the excitement at the airport—crates of animals, clothes, inflatable beds, dishes and all the other things needed to live while waiting for our shipment of household goods to arrive at our new home. All of this was to fit on a small plane. We actually did it! I must add that the flight was smooth and very beautiful. Too bad the animals could not have enjoyed it.

At the other end in David, Panama I had arranged beforehand for someone to help make our arrival “easy”! There was also a van waiting that I had leased for a day to get the animals transported to our home in Volcan. My friend David Dell was there with his vehicle, to be sure we could haul all the other stuff to the new home.

Mr Cool and friends at immigration

Editors note: The biggest danger to animals when being transported is from loving owners “over tranquilizing” their animals. Jeannie Freidman transported ten cats and three dogs without the need to sedate a single one. Vets may prescribe Gravol to help with queasiness in the stomach. If you really feel a need for a mild sedative then have it administered by a trained professional.

We were checked and rechecked but all in all arrival was very smooth considering. I had to laugh when after we unloaded all the animals and other things from the plane they then brought out a drug sniffing dog. I think he was somewhat confused due to all the animal smells, He appeared to satisfy his keeper.

By late afternoon we were all safely transported and planted in our new home in beautiful Volcan. Three weeks later I can happily say that myself and my family of animals are all extremely content.

Yes it was worth it
The decision to leave Granada and to move to Panama was the best. No more dirty streets, no more bombas, loud music, abused horses, cats or dogs. No more oppressive heat that even the locals have a hard time with.

Morning view to Baru Volcano

Animal Shangri-la Every morning when we get up I look over to the mountains and watch the sun rise over the 11,000 foot Baru Volcano. The clouds start to move in about noon and the mountains are constantly changing their look. The air is clean and fresh and all I can think to say is “Thank You”!

I literally have “cool cats” and dogs.

Jeanie Friedman
Volcan, Panama