Thursday, May 10, 2012

moving and traveling with a pet overseas....

Since we were so busy and didn't post anything on the blog about it - here is a quick recap of our last 2 weeks or so of moving craziness. It really was a whirlwind. We were exhausted and just really worn out by the time we boarded the plane to fly to Germany. So we did actually both get a few hours of sleep and didn't really deal with too much jet lag. We are 6 hours ahead of US East Coast time right now.
We were so thankful that the military took care of us and moved us so well! It was such a nice change after I have done moves on my own to just have packers come and pack everything up for you! It does still take a lot of work though - I felt like I had a ton of prep to do ahead of time to plan what went in what shipment (we had a early shipment of necessities - that we were hoping we would be right around the time we got here....but it's not here yet....hopefully any day now, then our big HHG shipment of everything else including furniture, and then we had another team of packers who came and took anything we didn't want shipped to a government storage facility). I also had to go through and sort out anything to get rid of/donate and also organize it all. It was a lot of work. But then two nice ladies came and packed up our whole house in one day. It was amazing!

The next day they some guys from the same company who packed us came and packed up the truck. Hopefully our stuff is all safe and on a boat on its way to us - sooner rather than later. It could be anywhere from 6-12 weeks until we get it. Since we had no bed or anything left other than our suitcases, we decided to go grab Chinese and stay in a hotel for our remaining few nights in NC. I thought this fortune I got was funny - I didn't feel like I had any energy left at that moment....but I sure had been running like a crazy person for 5 days straight at that point. And I still had 3 or 4 to go!

It ended up being the hottest week in NC we had yet - in the 90s.... I grabbed a few smoothies that week to keep me cool and going. Andy liked helping to deflate our Sleep Number bed as part of the moving process. And I decided I needed a pedicure after all that moving. Even though my legs were all banged and scraped up from packing up and all.

After moving we got to head up to Baltimore to deliver our other car (one car is on a boat on the way to us in Germany) to family to use for my 16 year old brother to learn how to drive. It was so good to see them and some of my friends. My mom was so sweet - she even hosted a little going away party for us for some of my extended family and friends to drop by and say good-bye. It was so nice of her and great to see everyone in the few days we were up there before we left.

And then there was the whole dog drama. Traveling overseas with a pet is not fun. At all. When we first had the idea back in Dec./Jan. that we might be heading to Germany we talked to the vet at her annual visit about what we needed to do and one of the big things was getting her microchipped - anywhere in Europe, pets have to microchipped. So we did that then. We also got her shots all up to date and found out she would need a health certificate. We planned in advance to get everything she needed done in the right amount of time for it to supposedly no problem. But of course there were problems. We couldn't get an appointment at the military vet and since we are civilians and didn't know any better, we took her to her regular vet who said they knew what we needed for the health certificate to fly to Germany. We spent two hours at her vet so they could make sure they got everything right - which I wanted them to so we could make sure our dog would be able to fly with us. Then at the end, they hand me the health certificate and say I need to go up to Raleigh to get the USDA to stamp it. I hadn't been told anything about this stamp before and Raleigh is about an hour and a half away. And we were leaving NC the next day to go to Maryland to fly out to Germany. I was a little upset about not being told about this stamp in advance in the middle of an insane week, but figured we could swing by there on our way out of town the next day. I decided to call the USDA to check on everything and was glad I did because apparently you need appointments to get this stamp that no one told me about. Thankfully he made an appointment for us even though he said he was booked and we got it done on our way up to Baltimore. Just extra stress. Then the biggest dog stress and drama came when we got to the airport on Monday with this special stamped health certificate and everything we had been told by our vet (and we even called the airline to double check and all they said we needed was the "health certificate" too).....and we get to the gate and were told we were missing some form required to be with the health certificate for her to fly. We were in shock. But we asked what we could do and were told if we could get our vet to fax the form filled out then she could go. Thankfully my husband likes to get to the airport psycho early and this was one time that we were really glad that we were so early. We got on the phone and with minutes to spare finally got the proper form faxed to the airline and our dog, Maggie, was able to come with us.

The real problem was that we were civilians and took our dog to a civilian vet. The form that was missing was a military form that was only needed because we were on a military flight. If anyone else out there is a civilian flying on a military flight with a pet - just beg, plead, do whatever you have to do to get your pet to a military vet to save yourself all of this drama. We know we sure will in the future. We just had no idea because no one ever told us that there was any difference in the health certificate that a military vet would provide vs. one that a civilian vet would provide. They don't seem to know that there is a difference either - but it's a huge one apparently that almost kept our dog in the US. 

1 comment:

  1. Really glad that you made it safely and that your dog was allowed to go!