canis familiaris

probably should have been no surprise, but the process of getting gromit into nz is almost as complicated as it is for us. nz biosecurity and nz maf (ministry of agriculture and forestry) are responsible for regulating the process. the good news is that the states are considered “a country or territory in which canine rabies is absent or well controlled” so the process is not as lengthy as it could be. whilst it’s still a major logistic, paperwork and scheduling headache – the biggest challenge for us will be that gromit is a major scaredy cat. sneeze and he cowers. smoke alarm goes off and he’s under the table. take a ride in the car and he’s shaking non stop.

the highlights of the process are:

  • gromit is micro-chipped, vaccinated and tested for rabies starting a six month clock.
  • after six months, a second rabies test and a battery of other tests gromit is cleared for transport.
  • on flight day he is placed in a crate sealed by immigration officials. the crate must remain sealed until he has arrived in christchurch at an authorized quarantine facility. this will require a 14 hour flight from la to auckland, a 1 hour flight to christchurch and a 30 minute car ride to quarantine.
  • gromit then spends 30 days in the slammer. we can visit him each day for as long as we want until they nicely ask jackie to go home.

for some reason we didn’t connect the dots and realize that we needed to get hoppin’ on this or gromit would become the long pull to our departure. so 2 weeks ago we had him chipped and today he had his rabies booster. in a week i will go back for the rabies test and that will start the six month clock. that puts his earliest departure at 24-OCT. doh. our vet was great and reviewed the tall stack of paperwork to ensure we had everything in order. my favourite sound bite was “omigod – the last time i did that test was in vet school and it was on a sheep!”

the jboss has done a lot of the leg work contacting the authorized pet shipping companies that specialize in us to nz transports. they seemed to have the process down and it will be a big relief to have someone handing it that has been through it before. either that or we smuggle him in on a chinese container ship.

our current plan is to take several weeks traveling across the country before departing from la. i’ve always wanted to see more of the states and this will save the hound one 6 hour plane ride. but as i mentioned he’s is terrified of the car – so it could be that by the time we get to nz all three of us will need valium for the flight to nz.

one lingering fear in the back of my mind. on april 4th i go in for lasik surgery to get my steve austin bionic vision. if for some reason i were to lose my sight the jboss would be able to have gromit ride with us in the cabin as a service dog. now is it a coincidence that jackie asked to meet in private with my surgeon? or that when i was recently trying to choose between two paint colours she said something like “oh, i wouldn’t worry too much about that.”

probably nothing.

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