Saturday, November 9, 2013

Bringing a dog, the saga...

So, along with my fourth straight week of dealing with my recurrent migraine problem, I had a lot of fun on the phone today, trying to secure our dog's passage to Ireland. As if the prospect of trying to find a rental property with a dog is not bad enough (thank goodness for for making me feel confident we will find something,) making sure that the dog makes it there, is one of the biggest trials I have faced so far.

Though we are not planning to bring a whole bunch of stuff with us, we are planning to bring our dog, Pepper. We adopted Pepper a year and half ago, after months of begging from DS. I was very nervous about getting another dog, but I did a lot of research before looking and I think we ended up with the perfect dog for our family. So, we are intent on keeping her a part of the family, even through this current adventure.

Not too long ago, if you wanted to bring a dog to Ireland, it would have to be quarantined for 6 months. Yikes! Nowadays, one can bring a dog to Ireland, so the websites I have visited state, if you jump through the right paperwork hoops. No quarantine involved. So, when John received his job offer, I immediately looked up the requirements for bringing a dog to Ireland. I was directed to the USDA website and ended up calling them on the phone. The process seemed simple enough. She needed to be micro-chipped, have her rabies shot (after the microchip was implanted), get a bordatella shot and de-worming (all on a set schedule) and have the vet fill out some papers. Get the USDA office to notarize some papers, pay a $35 fee and good to go! I could handle that, or so I thought.

By the time it came for DH to leave (2 months ahead of me), I could see there was still a lot left on my plate. Plus I would be travelling solo with the two kids. On the aer lingus website, when I looked up "travelling with pets" it recommended contacting an organization called PetMove. It gave no other information. This seemed a little ominous to me. So, I decided to get a quote. The quote seemed like a lot to me, especially in our current financial state, but I was worried about how much I had to deal with and also was more worried about what would happen if Pepper did not make it through customs. I could not do that to the kids. I feel this move is going to be hard enough.

So, after much back and forth with PetMove, we contracted with them to handle Pepper's transport. 

After paying the hefty bill, and emailing all of the papers I had gathered thus far, the adventure really began. I was told that my rabies certificate was not sufficient, I need an "ink signed" rabies certificate. So I rummaged through the adoption papers and called the veterinary hospital on the letterhead for her original shots and they told me that I could drive over to Venice, CA to pick that up. Fun. Yay. All I need is a drive from the Eastside to the Westside to make me ecstatic that I am leaving Los Angeles.

Next, I am told that I need an "ink signed" letter from the vet who implanted her microchip, stating that the microchip was implanted before her rabies shot was administered. OK. The hospital listed on the letterhead tells me I should call the rescue agency because that was handled at the original shelter that the rescue agency rescued her from. I call the rescue agency and don't hear back immediately. When I do hear back, they were mesmerized by such a request. I find "downey shelter" listed on some paperwork from them and decide to give them a call. The first person I spoke to really did not want to help. Her response was, "we don't deal with paperwork once a dog leaves our facility." I tried to tell her that our dog might unfortunately be back at her facility if I can't get this paperwork in order to take her to Ireland. 

After much pleading on my part, I was put on hold for about half an hour until someone else (much friendlier) came on the line. I have to say, I totally understand this is probably an area of work that is overworked and underpaid and my request sounded totally unreasonable and ridiculous, but I was trying my best to keep our rescued dog in our family. I tried to explain my needs to this next person and she responded that it is highly unlikely that the vet who performed the procedure is even still with the organization, but she put me on hold again while she contacted the current vet. I finally got to speak with the current vet, who asked me exactly how I needed my letter worded and when I needed it by. I explained that I was working with an organization that handles pet transport and she asked if she could contact them. Kudos to the vet at LA City Services. Thank you, thank you! I get an email from my contact at the organization saying that they are in touch with City Services and so, I think we are in the home stretch. (I don't play base ball or know much about it except for doing the wave, but I thought I should be doing the wave at this point.)

Around 4:30pm, I get a call from PetMove telling me this: it looks like, after further investigation by City Services, there was a mix-up with your original paperwork and your dog never received the shots that are listed on the adoption forms. The city is being helpful, because of this mix-up and have contacted our current vet to let them know of the mix-up. But Pepper is not current on any of her shots, so I will need to start the process from the beginning. After spending a good six hours on the phone, after sending in all my paperwork that I spent an inordinate amount of time dealing with. ARGHHH! Did I mention that I had a migraine all day on top of this?

Part of me is banging my head on the wall and part of me is really and truly glad I plunked down that ridiculous chunk of money to work with our pet transport agency. Otherwise I would have been walking into customs with a dog about to be sent home. My kids may have just announced that they don't believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Toothfairy and that's OK, but I don't think they would be OK with their beloved dog being non-existent. 

So, the countdown continues with more paperwork, hoops and red-tape. I hope we all make it out on the other end.

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