Travelling abroad with your pet is like going to the gym: it’s a mission just getting there; you better bring your own towel; and by the end of it you genuinely wonder what made you do it in the first place. I recently had a severe case of wanderlust, so I decided to visit the Golden State of California for a couple of weeks. Problem was, I couldn’t leave my pet giraffe Geoffrey behind because, even though most South Africans have zebras for pets, caring for a giraffe is, like, next level shit you guys.
To give you an idea: I spend around 18 times more on kale a month than my stripe-loving friends do. My hot tub is filled to the brim with diluted milk, and I recently had to fix my straw-covered patio roof because a certain someone got the munchies after chomping down on my neighbour’s marijuana buds.
On top of that, said neighbour had been dropping way too many references to spotted-skinned upholsteries while gingerly stroking her (feral) meerkat. No, Geoffrey was coming with me. I wasn’t leaving him behind just so he could end up as someone’s next sleeper couch/giraffe testis potato stew.
Now, you can imagine how difficult it is to travel with a giraffe. I eventually found an airline willing to put him in the cargo hold, but we had to do a two-day lay over in Dubai so he could stretch his legs and drink a couple gallons of Nestlé water.
And boy, did Geoffrey hate Dubai, especially the constant mob of tourists wanting to take his picture. Geoffrey’s a real introvert (ISTJ, to be exact) and he hates posing for pictures (even though he’s fond of the occasional photobomb). It wasn’t just the people though; every time we passed a camel, he started blowing so much snot out of his nose that at some point someone asked me if I wanted an umbrella.
California was way more Geoffrey’s vibe. Even though he scoffed at the palm trees and almond milk (which gave him hives when he accidentally drank it), he loved the stretched-out beaches and coastal forest foliage.
Sure, we ran into some trouble on a beach or two, what with pets not being allowed (it’s, like, 2018 people get over it), but Geoffrey was a real charmer. Except for that one time he started “necking” a beach patrol officer, which is what giraffes do when they try to assert male dominance. Kind of like when men wear ties. Luckily, the patrol officer thought Geoffrey was just being affectionate and ended up buying him a bunch of carrots. Geoffrey really liked that guy.
And, ladies, let me tell you a lil’ somethin’ somethin’: a pet giraffe is a surefire dude magnet! Turns out there exists a certain type of man who secretly fantasizes about having sex while a giraffe stands craned overhead, staring blankly at some naked butts. One guy said it had something to do with hooves. Or was it the horns. Another guy insisted we play Toto’s “Africa” on repeat. Geoffrey did not like that guy.
One of the biggest problems we encountered while visiting the cities were the dog parks. Now, I get that there are designated parks for dogs, but it really felt a bit discriminatory. It’s not like dogs are the only pets in the United States, right? While the people on the coast absolutely adored Geoffrey, we got foul looks thrown at us whenever we as much as walked past one of these parks. Seriously, the only dog owners who were nice to us were the ones who liked to smoke it up and hang out with their dog in the park for a while. Most, however, were more interested in their Starbucks Venti’s than their dog’s need to play a bit before pooping on a dead patch where grass used to grow. I mean, imagine being a dog in the city. It’s bad enough. The Secret Life of Pets is all the proof you need.
Then there was our attempt at some interstate travelling. As you can see in the pictures, Geoffrey’s still quite young, which means he can easily fit into an airplane cabin. Also, giraffes can sit, you know.
And before you get all sensitive-about-being-insensitive on my ass, I have the proper papers stating that Geoffrey’s my emotional support animal thank you very much. As a matter of fact, I got Geoffrey after I had a traumatic experience on a local flight back home. See, no one on board realised that a young crocodile had managed to sneak inside the cabin, and I saw a man lose a toe that day. There was a lot of blood. The screams haunt me at night. That fucking crocodile is my Freddy Kruger, so my psychiatrist suggested I get a pet that would help me relax whenever I felt triggered by anything related, i.e. flying or seeing a Gucci crocodile handbag.
I chose Geoffrey as my emotional support pet because, as much as I love the little bastard, a crocodile would probably go for him instead of me. Like in nature, you know.
Regardless of my papers, the airline kept telling me that there was no room for Geoffrey inside the cabin, to which I replied that he doesn’t even take up a lot of space! Like, he’ll literally stand still for a couple of hours as long as you hold a leafy branch over his head. CrossFit’s more challenging than that!
Alas, it was too much to ask, and no interstate travel was had. Perhaps it all worked out for the best; Geoffrey can’t stand those little Chihuahuas on a plane anyway.
Would I do it all again? That’s a hard no. When we got back home, I told Geoffrey that we’re hanging up our travelling hinds, and the poor thing got all depressed. Been ignoring me for weeks. Sometimes I catch him staring at the sky, eyes half closed, swaying like a branch in the wind; like he’s back in LA again.
“All the leaves are brown…and the sky is grey…”
Sorry, Geoffrey. I should never have done this to you. Maybe I should be your emotional support for a while.
Or just get you a pet rabbit.