Uncle Doug and julie originally got us into Aussies. Uncle Doug's friend had a purebreed Aussie named Jesse who was the stud for a litter. Dwayne gave up his right of pick-of-the-litter to Uncle Doug, and we bought blue merle Mandy. Uncle Doug's dog was JJ, Jesse Junior, a long-haired black tri. Oddly enough both females were blue merle and all of the males were black tri, though JJ was the only long-hair and probably the runt of the litter. Mandy's sister went on to become a hearing ear dog.
My sister played the violin from the minute they let her start until she got married. In between that time, Pamela came under the wing of Mrs Jevens, a really awesome orchestra teacher. Pamela's fond nickname for Mrs Jevens was "Wacko Woman", just to give an idea. Julie, Uncle Doug's wife, is a concert-level cellist who gave private lessons to many of Mrs Jevens' students and also performed with her quite often.
JJ was hit by a car a few years before Mandy died, and Uncle Doug and Julie adopted a long-haired black tri named Winnie (for Winnie the Pooh, since Winnie is the bear-shaped archetype of Aussie). Winnie is the gentlest, sweetest Aussie I had met -- Sasha reminds me a lot of her. Mrs Jevens adopted Winnie's sister. and named her Mia. A few years ago Uncle Doug and Julie adopted a male short-haired blue Merle named Jazper, who is the most hyper Aussie I've ever met. Mrs Jevens adopted Jazper's brother.
This past Saturday Mia passed away suddenly with no warning. Mrs Jevens was devastated, so Uncle Doug told her about Sasha. Yesterday and today have been a flurry of phone calls with Mrs Jevens, various airlines, Uncle Doug, mom, and even my sister. We had a first thought I should grab the puppy and head for Rome immediately, while she was still young enough to fit in Heidi's soft-sided carrier and could thus be my second carry-on.
That didn't work out since my free voucher (from getting bumped on my flight home from my cousin's wedding in September) needs two weeks' notice and my frequent flier miles were all in the wrong place (We have enough built up on USAir to do two coach roundtrips or one first class roundtrip, but USAir has no presence in ABQ). Today I came up with a compromise set of dates. We'll need to buy the next-larger size of soft-sided carrier since Sasha will have outgrown Heidi's by then. Luckily it's still small enough to be considered under-the-seat luggage.
So I'll be flying out on June 11th, using the free roundtrip voucher. Sasha will be under-the-seat luggage. I'll turn her over to Mrs Jevens and hang out with my mom and sister for a few days, then return to ABQ on the 16th. And even if Mrs Jevens isn't technically family, Sasha will still be more or less in the family, since I know where Mrs Jevens lives ;).