Donna and Joe have finished their assignment in India. Occasionally they still travel somewhere.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Probably the most long-awaited and important event since our household goods arrival was the arrival of our beloved standard poodle, Luna. Moving a pet to India does not require a quarantine period. However, you are required to have an internationally accredited veterinarian do a health exam, and provide an original rabies certificate, signed in BLUE ink. That has to be sent to a USDA official to be approved, which in our case was in an office in Massechusetts that was in the middle of being moved to a new location. Then the papers were forwarded to the people in Bangalore who were to receive her at the airport, and take her through customs. All that paperwork, and I think the transportation to India had to be taken care of within 10 days of the Vet. exam. Luna was examined on a Friday night. With a government holiday in the U.S. on the following Monday, the USDA office in transition, and a 4 day transportation time, we were really starting to worry that we might have to start over AGAIN. (We had stopped it once before when our house rental fell through and we realized that the serviced apartment was no place for Luna for any length of time.)
Finally we got notified that she was going to be picked up the next day from my friend's house in S. Burlington, VT to start her journey. She was picked up in her crate and flown to Boston. She spent an evening and part of the next day there, at a pet care facility, and then flew to London. She had about a 5 hour layover there, then flew on to Bangalore.
Dogs are now transported in a special compartment under the pilot's cabin that is dimly lit and comfortably cool (same temperature as the cabin). The pet specialist said that with the steady drone of the engine, the pets usually just settle down and take a nice long nap.
Contrary to what we had heard, pets should NEVER be sedated for a flight. The specialist said many vets are still prescribing sedatives despite the new guidelines from the veterinary medical association. He explained that sedatives have a much different effect at high altitudes than on the ground. While sedatives relieve some the physical signs of stress, like trembling or salivating, they do nothing to calm the animal's mind. Instead they reduce the animal's ability to cope by impairing their balance and decreasing their gag reflex, so if they do throw up, they can aspirate it. In addition sedatives can actually affect the animal's breathing. He said almost all pet deaths in air travel can be attributed to either a significant illness or risk factor before flying, or sedatives in flight. To some of those owners who insisted that they should use sedatives, they have said, "Then YOU should take them, because your pet doesn't need them." (He said transporting pets is usually harder on the owners than the pets.) Please share this info. with anyone you know who is transporting a pet overseas.
A couple of days before Luna left we got an urgent e-mail from the company in charge of getting Luna from the airport in Bangalore to us, saying that they didn't have our address. By the time we got back to them they had gotten it from Frank at World Care Pet Transport, the company in charge of moving Luna. But I gave her our land line phone number, confirmed the address, etc. She said she would let us know "as soon as the package arrived." After she'd referred the the package several times, I asked, "You do know that this package is a live dog, don't you?"
She laughed, sounding a bit chagrined, and said, yes, she did.
So with emails from Frank at letting us know of Luna's progress each step along the way, we got a call that Luna had landed at Bangalore around 7 a.m. on Monday morning the 19th. The plane had taken off a bit late, and we had been told that getting through customs can take 5 hours, so not to expect her until afternoon. We very surprised to hear that an hour after her original arrival time she was already through customs and would be at our house in about 45 minutes. (Very early arrival times probably helps the process.)
In less than that time, we got a call saying they were at the gate of the apartment complex. Luna emerged from a much bigger crate than she had started her trip in (It made my german shepherd sized dog look like a puppy!) Luna bounced around in joy, but settled down quickly. After a trip to take care of doggy business, we spent the rest of the day exploring her new surroundings. Honestly, it seemed more like she had arrived from a short trip across town than a 3 day flight half way around the world!
For anyone who might need to transport a pet, I am including their contact information. IBM paid for it, so I don't know the cost. But they worked for a seamless trip for Luna, with loving care every moment she was on the ground, and I feel they accomplished it beautifully. The wait was worth it.
Frank Cedo at World Care Pet Transport
in U.S. at (203) 636-0110
They have headquarters in New York, China, and I think London & one other city .
I'll write more later and add pictures. Right now I have to go walk the dog!