Lucia's buddy Gizmo (left) during his stay last month
Being a pet owner in DC has been a bit easier when it comes to finding others with pets. When I'm overseas, finding someone to look after a pet when you're on R&R or traveling is always tricky. Since you tend to travel farther away and for longer periods you want to make sure the pet sitter is prepared in the event something happens. A kind friend in Vladivostok was my backup for pet emergencies if a temporary pet sitter had to take Lucia to the clinic.
Transporting pets can take a while to prepare for depending on how you need to travel. I was fortunate during my last trip overseas. Some airlines restrict what months of the year they allow a dog to fly in the cargo section, due to the risk of heat exhaustion. It's no problem if your dog meets the maximum weight limit, they can reside caged in the cabin space with you.
Quarantine is also another issue. I flew through Seoul during my last trip. The Customs/Quarantine office at the airport needed an International Vet certificate saying my dog was approved and cleared for transport. I picked it up a couple days prior to leaving my place of departure and arriving in Seoul. They had me fill out a Quarantine form and then stamped my papers so I could fly out the next day. I had a reservation at a pet friendly hotel near the airport so we were able to spend the rest of the time getting plenty of exercise and resting up for the big flight from Seoul to the US.
Coming into DC was not a problem either. I had the blessing of the Vet certificate and my shot records from my Russian vet, which showed which vaccinations she had in English also. There was a bit of a delay waiting for them to unload all the cargo out of the plane. So by the time I got her through the baggage claim and through Customs she was ready to break out of her kennel. The only trouble I had was bringing a couple foreign "canned" dog food products in my carry on. Dulles Customs officials made me dispose of them on the spot. But after that we were free to go and I introduced Lucia to her new home.
My best advice to pet owners is to contact as many people as you can to find out what the requirements are for airports, customs, quarantine, and any special country restrictions you need to be aware of. Even though it's not the GSO's responsibility, they might be able to provide some names or numbers of contacts if you ask them nicely.