Leaving a post can be choatic at times. But this departure has gone smoothly for me so far. My packout was completed last week. My car and scooter are both ready to ship out. I've accomplished all the major projects I had scheduled for work. And now it's the final week before I head back to the U.S. for my next assignment.
My travels will be a bit different this time though. As I'm bringing Lucia, my adopted Russian dog, back to the States with me. I learned alot about what it takes to ship a pet from a foreign country to another.
Here's the list of what's involved.
- Check the dog's vaccinations. Rabies vaccines have to be administered at least 30 days prior to travel. In my case, I had Lucia get a new Rabies shot last month since the old one was going to expire a few weeks after our trip. I didn't want anyone to question if the vaccine was still valid. I asked my Vet for a duplicate pet passport just to make sure I had proof she has all her necessary shots.
- Get an airline approved kennel for shipping the dog. I bought one a couple years ago and made sure Lucia was use to it in order to reduce any stress caused during the flight.
- Don't travel during the summer months. Delta Airlines does not allow pet travel in the cargo area between May 15th to Sept 15th. Most airlines have a similar schedule. This is due to the higher temperatures that can harm a traveling pet.
- Plan the most direct route to your destination. I was limited on flight options, but finally scheduled a flight to Seoul, Korea from Vlad. We'll stay overnight in Seoul and then fly directly from Seoul to Washington, D.C the next day.
- Get all the paperwork ready. Some countries have different Customs requirements regarding pet travel. In my case, I have to get a local health certificate from my Vet which only is valid upto 5 days prior to my flight. Then I have to fax the local certificate to the Veterinarian Control office located at the Vlad Airport. On the day of my departure, I have to stop at the Vet Control office and receive my international health certificate that is valid for only one day. At this point, I check my baggage and Lucia in at the airport and cross my fingers that the flight will leave as planned. Otherwise I have to repeat the whole process again.
- Know the rules for each destination airport. Seoul requires a quarentine for pets not transiting throught the airport. So I filled out a Quarentine form to give to the Quarentine Office at the airport ahead of time. Seoul Airport can send you a copy. At this point, I'll wait up to 3 hours for them to release Lucia from quarentine.
- After the release, we'll stay at a pet friendly hotel in Seoul and wait the next day's flight to DC.
- I'll check in early to make sure Lucia has no problems boarding. Always check your pet as excess baggage and NOT cargo. There's more paperwork and expense involved if you don't specify excess baggage.
- Airlines require offering the pet water within 4 hours of flying to reduce the chance of dehydration.
- Prior to the flights, make sure the pet is walked as much as possible to "take care of any unfinished business" and also to help them sleep.
- Then it's the long flight back to DC.