Saturday, March 7, 2015

International Living with Pets

It used to be that when you wanted to travel or move abroad with your pets, you'd have to submit to having them quarantined for weeks or months. A lot of people still think that's the case, because they ask us about it a lot.

Meanwhile, the locals love our little man -- most call out "que linda!" or "que precioso!" how pretty, how precious, when we pass. Then they ask if he bites. Since he's here as our guard dog, i say "a veces." Sometimes. It's a funny response to most people, but it's actually also true...

Restaurants, bars... this guy goes everywhere with us.
While this is only our experience, this is what we had to do to get our cute lil guy into Nicaragua:

- A visit to our vet back home to get paperwork filled out, verifying he'd had his rabies shot. Cost: about $75.

- Sending that paperwork to the Department of Agriculture's regional office to be signed and stamped within 10 days of our departure. Cost: about $40

- Paying a fee of $150 for him to fly with us in a little doggie duffel bag in the airplane, stashed under the seat. Warning: call ahead to confirm that the airline allows this, and let them know when you book the flight. Some airlines don't allow in-cabin pets.

- Going out of security and back in in Atlanta, so the dog could go pee, carrying a LOT of carry on baggage. Ever needed a cart for your carry ons? We did.

- Filling out a short piece of paperwork and paying $10 for his entry fee. All told, they asked more about the dog than they did about my daughter, who was traveling only with one parent (i had that custody paperwork handy too though, just in case...) If you're confused about the process, just ask your vet back home if they process international paperwork. If not, ask for a recommendation for a vet who does, and they'll help you with the process.

Now this little guy goes everywhere we go -- on boats and buses, to the beach, inside restaurants and stores. Unless the place has A/C and closed doors, there's usually a stray or two wandering in places, so our little dude is also more than welcome. Overall, having a dog with you acts as an added layer of protection, makes you look less like a tourist, and brings an added layer of sanity and a home-like feel to the whole experience. Now if only we could have brought our big Akita girl in the cabin of the airplane too...

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This dog is my comfort and my sanity in an insane world. If you're in need of a little dose of that and you don't have a friend like mine, check out the Choose Online Counseling site to find someone to talk to! 










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