The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

- Robert Frost

the 1 less traveled by

A move to Nicaragua

Browsing Category:

Dogs in Nica

View from the outside

Robot Rigley

We’ve always called Rigley, “our athlete”.  At the park he’s a Frisbee dog and will do anything to get to a tennis ball, while Tasha sniffs at gopher holes and points at birds in trees.  I purchased a brand new Chuck-it and looked forward to presenting it to Rigley once he arrived.  The morning after the dogs reached the surf camp  the 4 of us excitedly took the dogs to the beach to test drive Rigley’s new toy and enjoy the doggie freedom Nica beaches have to offer.

We had been on the beach all of 10 minutes when Kharron threw a long one that bounced close to some large rocks.  Rigley went full force right into one and yelped like a little girl at a Bieber concert.  Kharron ran to him while I stayed back with the kids. I could hear him shout, “Its bad! Its really bad.” Kharron carried Rigley back up the stairs to the surf camp, his leg dangling in an unnatural position as they passed us.

We had just been making fun of my friend Goyo who runs the camp because he had to go to Managua that day to do some errands.  Little did we know then, that Kharron & Rigely would be his passengers.  We are lucky that Goyo already knew of a great vet and surgeon and they were able to drop Rigley off on a Saturday for an inspection and hopeful surgery on Monday. It turned out to be a comminuted fracture, says my brother the radiologist.  Dr Dorn (who turns out usually works on humans) did an outstanding job.  He opted to put pins through Rigley’s bones instead of an invasive surgery since one of the bones was in too many pieces. He explained that the fragments would slowly move back together while the contraption stabilized his leg.

We had to leave the surf camp without Rigley because our home in San Juan del Sur was ready for us to move into. Kharron will return to Managua on Tuesday to pick up our wounded athlete and deliver him to his new home.

Rigley and Tasha in the airline purchased crates.

Moving to Nicaragua With Dogs

2 Large Dogs, Will Travel

Getting the dogs to Nicaragua was a task. Probably more our fault than anything.  We made several mistakes which ended up costing us time and money, but at least we made the rabies vaccine appointment on time!

1. Booked our flight to Nicaragua to arrive during the weekend.  – Dogs are not shipped via United Airlines PetSafe program on the weekend.

When I was looking at the flight options and deciding when and from which airport it was best to depart from, I noticed that all the flights out of San Diego arrived into Managua at 9:30pm.  I had read conflicting information about whether customs was open after 5pm, so I didn’t want the dogs and us arriving that late.  I also thought we had so much baggage, etc that I’d rather hassle with it in the light of day. Flights out of Los Angeles had a red eye option arriving at about 12:30pm.  Los Angeles was more of a drive, but I didn’t feel like we had another option.

I finally booked our tickets and then right away called the PetSafe department to book the dogs on the same flight.  I was told right away that dogs aren’t transported on the weekends and that they could fly out the next Monday morning departing at 8:30am, arriving in Managua at…9:30pm!!! Having already booked non refundable tickets for the family, I went ahead and booked the dogs.
2. Not understand the importance of the check-in time frame. – Must be 3 hours before flight (unless military), but for an early morning flight, no more than 3 hours

Kharron’s brother, Kevin, graciously agreed to take the dogs for the couple days after we left and get them to the airport 3 hours prior to their flight. Yikes, that’s early! It was set, problem solved. We boarded our plane on a red eye at 12:30 Saturday morning with a plan to spend a couple nights in Managua until the dogs came in, then go to stay at a friend’s surf camp until we could move into our home in San Juan del Sur.

We woke up Monday morning excited that we would be seeing our pooches that night.  Kharron and his brother were texting that Kevin was on his way to the airport with his dad, Baylee, and everything was going as planned. Things turned bad quickly.  Once Kevin found the cargo area it quickly became clear that he had missed the 30 minute window between when the cargo department opened at 5am and 3 hours before the flight. Dogs were not going to fly that day.
3. Book dogs on their own flight arriving at night. – Managua will not allow animals to arrive after 5pm unaccompanied by a passenger.

Kevin had to make a new reservation for the following morning.  The dogs were going to need to spend the night in Houston (more money) so that they could be on the first flight out of Houston on Wednesday morning and arrive in Managua during the daytime.
4. Send someone who doesn’t own a credit card to drop off the dogs at the airport. – United only takes credit cards, no cash allowed.

We decided to go to the surf camp anyway and Kharron could drive the 1 and a half hours back to Managua to pick them up on Wednesday. Again, Tuesday morning we were excited to get the process underway.  Kevin was on his way to the airport and targeted to arrive within the allotted window. Kharron was giving me the play-by-play as I chased Azalea around paradise.  Kevin and dad arrived on time…dogs are out of the truck…they are getting checked in…paperwork is missing…wait, no it isn’t…  It was tense! My interpretation to the story is when Kevin pulled out the wad of cash we had wired him to pay with the ticketing office then told him they only took credit cards.  NO!!!

Let’s do this again.  Dogs are booked for Thursday morning flight, staying in Houston, arriving on Friday.  We were quickly approaching the 10 day expiration date of the Certificate of Health the vet filled out and USDA stamped.  This was going to get really messy and expensive if we didn’t manage to work this out by no later than a Friday arrival.
5. Didn’t pay enough attention to recent changes in crate regulations. – I couldn’t even tell you the rules. Allow yourself enough time to buy another one if needed.

Dogs on the dolly in the incorrect crates

We called in for back up.  My friend Kelly recently became a stay at home mom.  She’s fierce, smart, gorgeous, and owns a credit card…she was just the person for the job! We wake up Wednesday morning now with a feeling of doom.  Again, Kharron on his phone now with Kelly. Kharron’s dad again there for support. Everything is going good. We are texted the above picture.  Dogs were on the dolly!  They must be in, all is clear… wait, no, there’s a problem. Rigley’s crate is too small and Tasha’s doesn’t have the correct bolts holding it together.  They are given one new crate and BayLee goes to another airline and is able to buy another crate.

Finally, dogs are cleared and the crowd goes wild!

I get this email a couple hours later and the stress pours out of me like frozen margaritas from a blender.

Email Alert
United Cargo email alert.


Yoga in the morning, chill spot in the afternoon.

Surf Tours Nicaragua – aka Paraíso

I had to hit up my friend “Goyo” who runs Surf Tours Nicaragua  for a favor because in the end we couldn’t get our place in San Juan del Sur until the 9th of March and already had plane tickets for Feb 28th.  We were having a hard time finding a temporary option for the dogs that also had good internet so Kharron could work. Luckily he seemed to have no problem with us invading his space and welcomed us to his Eden.

It was like a scene from the movie The Beach coming from Managua to this garden of paradise.  We found the place easily with his step-by-step instructions and were soon sitting up top at “The Rancho” watching the sets of waves roll in and enjoying some homemade sangria.  I can’t say enough about the beauty of this surf camp and the hospitality my friend and his local & American staff offer.

Goyo took us and the other guests to “The Lobster Lady” which was a great look into the way the locals live and the best food I’ve had yet in Nica.

Bittersweet to leave this sanctuary and drive the 3 hours south to our new home in San Juan del Sur.




Pet Health Certificate

Two dogs, a baby, and a borrowed Accord

Its been a little tough to figure out exactly what we need to do to prepare our dogs for the move.  Some websites say we need to get our dogs micro-chipped, although it doesn’t sound like very many places have the scanner.  Some people say you need to get the Health Check Certification stamped by the USDA (which the closest one to us is located in Los Angeles), while other people say they got their dogs in fine without it.  I guess we’ll find out if we did everything correct once we get there.

Luckily I called our vet yesterday to schedule an appointment for the Health Check.  Everything I’ve read is consistent that the dogs need to get certified within 10 days of entering Nicaragua.  When I called the vet to make an appointment at the end of the month, they told me that Nicaragua requires that the dogs get rabies vaccinated no less than 30 days before departure…that’s today!  So I loaded our two dogs and Titus into my mother-in-law’s Honda Accord this morning and drove to get their Rabies, Canine Distemper. Parvovirus and Hepatitis vaccines.  Next step is the Health Check Cert at the end of the month.  I have until then to decide whether I’m driving that document up to LA.

This is the website the vet used to see what is needed: