- First, we contacted China to begin the legal paperwork. He had to be weighed, measured and photographed and we sent those off. Did you know that where you live in the city depends on how big your dog can be? We are lucky he is small since we will be living in the heart of the city.
Next came the research of how to get him there. Most airlines do not accept "snub nose" dogs at all. This is due to their respiratory system having complications during flight. Worry #1. It turns out Continental Airlines has an award winning animal transportation division. However, since United bought them they have not adopted that division over yet. The only way to get him in the award winning transport was to pay $700 and fly from SFO to New Jersey and then onto Beijing. Nope. We finally found that Air China would transport him for a portion of that price and he would fly direct from SFO to Beijing. He would ride in the cargo since animals are not allowed on international flights in the cabin. Hubby and son sacrificed American Airlines to fly with Jupiter (E and I were coming later). We were reassured the cargo is pressurized and the temperature is the same as the cabin. Sedation is not allowed.
Next we had to get a specific kennel. The dimensions had to be exact and air holes even in the back. With him being alone in cargo he needed to have water and food accessible. We taught him that his crate was a good place to be but he would not drink out of the sipper water thing we got. Worry #2
Next it was time to make arrangements for his 30 day quarantine. Major Worry #3! Up until recently the quarantine was "in home" so there was not much information on the new process. We had heard snippets of "it is too hot in the summer", "they treat the animals bad", "he won't come back acting the same", etc. We researched ways to try to get it switched to an in home quarantine...eye drops from the vet that would be too annoying to give to him, an extra wad of cash (we are not above bribing for the sake of our dog, don't judge- love makes you do weird things!).
- Time to go to the vet. China gave us all the requirements that he needed and the appointment was quite routine. Except for the US health certificate needed to be filled out within two weeks of departure, we think. Us, the vet, and the USDA could not clearly decipher if that was the case but we waited until within two weeks just to be safe.
- PDF packet came from China about all the dog requirements in Beijing after he gets out of quarantine. It was long and hard to understand except for the part that said, "if any animal gets rabbies with 5 km ALL animals in that radius must be DESTROYED". Worry #4!
- Ten days before his departure he had his final appointment with the vet for his health certificate. We had to physically drive it to the USDA in Sacramento to get an official stamp (cerifying that our vet is really a vet). After that he was all good to go!
The anxiety about transporting Jupiter was very difficult. We were all worried about his emotional well-being (AND WE ARE NOT EVEN "DOG PEOPLE") and him thinking that he was deserted. We put our pillow cases into his bed inside his crate so he could have our smell. I don't know if it helped Jupiter but it helped us to think it helped.
When we got to the airport he thought he was Top Dog! He was so excited walking around with his tail in the air and taking on this new place. It took a good 40 minutes at the Air China counter to get all the paperwork filled out. Then it was time to say goodbye at the oversized baggage counter. I stepped away, but when I looked back I saw that he did not want to go in the crate and was being gently shoved into it. I lost it and did not see him again.
We prayed and prayed for the safety of "our boys". After thirteen hours, at 3:45 am, I got a phone call saying that Jupiter was fine. They picked him up at oversized baggage and he was perfectly fine. Hubby and D took him to the quarantine location at the aiport. Photographs were taken of Jupiter and hubby (for identification purposes) and they assured him that he would be in a nice sized space with good ventilation and well taken care of. Hearing my
9 year old son reassure me in the middle of the night was all I needed.
We get him back on August 23rd and I will update how it went.