I still tend to be one of those people who believes in doing business on a handshake and that someone is trustworthy until they prove otherwise. It does get me in trouble at times but therein lies my dilemma. Do I become suspicious and untrusting every time I have to deal with someone? Nope I just won't, it's not in me! But here's my latest in needing to be a little smarter in dealings on the internet.
I'll back up a little bit, Raja is my children's St Bernard, mainly for Noah who is autistic and needs someone to roughhouse with a bit. We acquired Raja from a lady we lived near in Tucson, AZ, she loved him but she was riddled with guilt as she worked away from home for long hours leaving Raja alone all day. She was so pleased when we got Raja and we stayed in touch and passed pictures and stories. When the time came for me to make a move to Reno, NV, it was diffficult finding transportation for him. Planes no longer allow animals checked as baggage, not that I would even have wanted that! And most transports wanted $1000 or more which just wasn't possible. I was turned on to an organization called Pilots N Paws and put out my request.
A man named Sam contacted me that he would be able to fly Raja up in his private plane, originally the date was a week before I was leaving but he said no problem I can keep him until you get there. This sounded like a dream come true! I kept insisting he take some payment and it was refused, he stated he was a volunteer and this is what he did. So plans went forward, then he emails that his travel was pushed to the week after I was due to leave, so I contacted Raja's previous owner and she was thrilled to be able to babysit him for me.... for a week.
I flew up to Reno as scheduled on April 24th leaving Raja in capable hands. Sam and I emailed back and forth trying to line up a new date... his plans kept changing but didn't seem like any worries as Raja was fine at his former owner's home. Then things started getting a bit more serious, Raja's babysitter was leaving on vacation! So I pressed Sam who agreed to go pick Raja up and keep him until the time came to come up to me. I was told June 1st and if not then the 17th at the very latest. I was becoming concerned as after all this is my son's therapy dog! Noah has cried himself to sleep missing his dog, and a day doesn't go by that he doesn't inquire if Raja is coming today... it's heart breaking to a mom! As I pressed Sam I kept hearing how much he was enjoying having Raja and that he was living it up and I needed to just shut up... the tone had turned!
I started investigating other options for getting Raja up here... I recommend anyone with anything of size to ship go through http://www.uship.com/ ! I found a kind soul there who for $200 would bring Raja to me so I contacted Sam with this information, he would not return my calls or my emails. I discovered the address he had given me was that of a gas station, so now I'm a bit panic stricken! I contacted the sherriff's department of Pima County, AZ, they were less than thrilled to take the report or help out at all, but did say they would contact him (apparently he showed up in their computers). In the meantime I let him know via email I had contacted the police, this got a response! He emailed back telling me how neglected and abused the dog was and that he was contacting the ASPCA and I would not get my dog back! I played a little hostage negotiator and emailed him back pleading a bit to remember I had not had the dog for over a month and to contact my veterinarian to check on Raja's condition before I left... he took the bait! Little did he know my vet was also a good friend and her husband is a police officer!
I'm not sure what she told him when he called but next thing I know the transporter is telling me a meeting is set up for 7pm to get Raja!
As you can imagine my heart is skipping beats by this time... 7:30 I got the call, Raja is safely in the possession of the transporter and will be on his way here shortly! My mom got to see Raja before he left and says he looks fine and is happy... I broke the news to the kids, probably not a good thing to do at bedtime! They were so excited it took a couple hours to bring them down.
So here I sit knowing Raja is on the road heading this way back to his family, his boy! And the lesson learned in all of this, know who you are dealing with! Things I should have done, get confirmed information on who this person was, verify address, and get him to sign some form of contract when he took possession of the dog stating what the terms were. At the very least this would have made it easier for the police to intervene had he not given Raja back.
So this is also why my post is late, a day of pure torturous stress consumed everything! but back on track and I will catch up with yet another post later tonight!!