Years ago I flew from Los Angeles to Dulles Airport in Virginia. It was an international flight continuing onto Paris. It was also the time my luggage almost got a trip overseas without me.
As we watched an empty baggage carousel make its revolutions, two men in suits came to inform us that they couldn’t delay the flight any longer. Somehow a handful of us had our luggage “missing” within the cargo hold.
They were matter of fact, no discussion allowed, until -- as they walked away -- a young girl asked, “what about my dog?”
Check mate – they had to get the dog out because he didn’t have his “doggie passports” required to land on the other side of the ocean,(and the dog had already been in the cargo hold several hours). So while they were looking for a full-size crate holding a golden retriever, we asked they keep an eye out for our bags too.
Cargo holds are not the preferred way to transport animals. They are dark, noisy and cold. Definitely travel arrangement of last resort.
Many of our visitors, snowbirds, part-time residents, travel from Canada, Mexico and Europe. The ones traveling by RV into the United States often bring their pets. Every pet that enters the U.S. will need to go through customs, and have their required vaccination and veterinary records.
This applies to all animals – even service animals, normally exempt from other restrictions.
If you are traveling out of the country, take the time to visit two websites: www.state.gov (The U.S. Department of State), and www.cdc.gov (Centers for Disease Control). These two sites have a wealth of information so you can be prepared for your next trip.
The State Department site includes information about import and quarantine restrictions, contact information for U.S. Airlines who cater to pets, and a shipping of pet’s checklist.
The CDC requires dogs coming into the U.S. to be healthy and vaccinated against rabies. Many countries, especially islands with no rabies, require lengthy quarantine periods. A dog that looks sick can be denied entry into the U.S. and foreign country.
I take my dogs along when we are traveling by car. When we have to fly – Boston to see our daughter – they stay home with a sitter.
It’s hard to leave them behind, but in my experience, find the right sitter and they will have a fantastic staycation of their own!