Moving Day? It is never just a day when military personnel and families move from Germany to the United States, it is referred to as “rotating,” and it takes a lot of preplanning and varied packing. My family anticipated this move for the three years we were stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany, and the move spanned from June until September 1976. Final destination: MAINE! Our move would coincide with bicentennial celebrations in the USA.

A long-haired dachshund like this one, plus an active 14-month-old son, made “rotating” to the United States from Germany a memorable journey for Rev. Judy Braun in 1976. pets and foods/

Life changed for my husband, Gary, and me in the three years we lived out of country. We had a son, Shane, and acquired a typical German long-haired dachshund, Brandy. We planned for Gary to do the final cleanup of military housing, which is a stellar cleaning, not just a swish and someone else will do the details. His arrival in the States was timed to pick up our car arriving in Bayonne, New Jersey, and drive to our families in Ohio. Many moving parts to this move, but it is the dog who had most of the attention for the initial start to this lengthy move.

My part of the move was to leave a couple weeks earlier and escort active 14-month-old Shane and dog Brandy. Many friends shared stories about travel to and from the Germany assignment with dogs. My story about this move was dotted with excitement, anxiety and fear. Excited to bring home a son! Anxious about travel with the dog and anticipated fear of all that could go awry! The dog had to have up-to-date shots, travel in a crate by herself like baggage. My son was a very active 14-month-old. I had to travel through three large airports and keep track of this precious human being, who relatives were waiting to meet. I purchased a child harness, which assured me I would have him in my sight at all times.

We boarded a plane in Frankfort, Germany, with 12 hours of flight ahead of us. The dog was securely in her cage, and I witnessed her loading in the plane below us. My son and I walked around and around the twin-aisle 747 and we slept little. We landed in New York. Picked up the dog as expected.  Went through customs without a hitch. I set the dog crate down where I was instructed and walked the other way. Her cry as we walked away echoed my inner cry.

My harnessed son and I found our way to the connecting flight to Cleveland, Ohio, where my parents would be waiting for us. We landed, with great expectation of having all three of us on terra firma USA. I headed to where I was to pick up Brandy.  For the better part of three years, I feared this travel home with the dog. As feared, the dog was not there! No one could tell me anything about her whereabouts. My inner cry now burst forth into tears. We waited at the airport as long as tolerable but finally had to leave. Safe and exhausted, my son and I arrived at my parents’. A while later, someone from the airport called to say they found little dog Brandy. She was still in New York! The caller assured me that Brandy had been walked and fed and she would be flown to Cleveland the next day. Someone from the airport drove her to my parents’ home. She followed me everywhere for days!

The “move” was not completed until we had crossed the green bridge into Maine, smelled the pine trees, stayed in a campground for a month before finally moving into our home in Windham, Maine, in September. No more “rotations” to another assignment. Maine has been home for 45 years!

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