As promised, here is the entry on getting Shiva into Finland, and it was not an easy route. I’ll pare it down and add it to her page in case anyone comes across a practical need for the information.
As mentioned, I was in North Carolina to visit family, and most importantly, to escort Shiva back to her new home in Finland. I have had the airline reservations for months, and have been calling them every so often to make sure that notes were in the system and so on. Hah. That worked out so well. </sarcasm>
First, the United States portion. This was mostly on me. I got the Annex II form that USDA had sent me, and on Wednesday, drove the 2+ hours up to Raleigh to have her see the vet at Banfield there, get her health certificate done, and then take it to USDA to get endorsed (all in the same day). Would have been perfectly fine, except I did a space cadet and when the vet asked me, “I see you haven’t gotten her tapeworm treatment done yet, do you want me to do it now?”, I was like, “Sure, dunno why I had it scheduled at the other Banfield for Friday, so go ahead.”
Then my husband reminded me, after the fact, that the reason was so we would fall within the 5-day time period prior to travel. Duh. When we were on our way back to Southern Pines. Edit: My husband wanted me to point out that he was out walking Shiva when the vet asked her question about the shot, so he didn’t know about it until it was done and we were on our way back. He said he wanted no part in that screw-up!
We had arrived at USDA, and the agent there said it was all filled out wrong, but went ahead and endorsed it, told me what had to be corrected, called the vet and told her, and then sent us back to get the signatures. At least I didn’t have to go back to USDA. That same day, that is.
So we get home, Thursday comes and we have turkey and all the trimmings, then head to Banfield in Aberdeen, about 10 minutes from my mom’s house. I tell them that I need the tapeworm treatment readministered, as I had done it too early, and had received an answer from Evira that said that our arrival of December 2 would be outside of the 5 day (120 hour) limit. I even printed out a new page for the vet to fill out and sign.
Go to pick up Shiva (who was also having her teeth cleaned at the same time), and looked at the paper, only to see that the vet had erroneously put the date as 26.11.2014, instead of 28.11.2014. And so they used white out and corrected it. I slept on that, but by Sunday had decided that the white-out made me nervous, so printed out a new sheet, and just had her sign it with the correct date. Done.
Oh, but then I tossed and turned all Sunday night, as it occurred to me that the new sheet didn’t have the endorsement embossing on it, as all the sheets had been stamped. Of course, no one was open to answer the question if that was going to be an issue, so I made the executive decision that we would go by Raleigh on the way to Charlotte (which is really not ‘on the way’) and stop by USDA and hope that they could endorse the new page.
Got there, the agent laughed, said sure, and then also told me that as long as I had the last page with the endorsement stamp on it, that’s the main one. He just stamps all of them to be thorough. Thanks. Now on to Charlotte.
Shiva was very good the entire time, and we boarded Charlotte to Chicago without any real issues. In Chicago, American then decides to check all the paperwork, and they think that it all looks right. No one had a clue. So we board. A bit over 7 hours and she slept most of the way. She was so good! As we are getting ready to get off the plane, we are met by a nice gal from the City of London Animal Reception Centre. And here’s where it gets fun. The front page of the Annex II form had her chip number typoed. The number was correct on all the other sheets, but the front sheet was not. Fortunately, the vet had listed her second chip on there, and it was correct. So that was just a hiccup.
Then, because Shiva is not a trained service dog, she has to pay an entry fee to get in to the UK. Even though we were only connecting through London, that was still charged: £350, which comes out to around $500. Ouch. And she said that American should be responsible for the charge, as they should have told me about it, and that they shouldn’t have even let me on the plane without a letter from City of London Animal Reception giving me permission to do so. She also said that the airline should have given me the contact information for Animal Reception when I made the reservation, so that I could have already been in communication with them. I’ll email AA, but I’m not holding out much hope for any sort of refund. But it doesn’t hurt to try.
In any case, they took my money, and we took her outside to do her business, then back in to the lounge, where we waited the four hours for our flight. We hung out in the Kids lounge, as it was glassed in and away from everyone. We figured that if any kids showed up, we’d leave it to them, but it was nice to give her a little bit of time off the leash.
This time on British Airways, who informed me (once we were on the plane), that she should have a car harness and be buckled in, but on the floor. Huh? In any case, the attendant allowed me to buckle the seat belt through her harness lead, and she got down on the floor for take-off, and then sat in the seat for the flight, then back down for the landing.
Going through Customs in Helsinki was a breeze. Heck, I could have just continued to walk out with her, but they just glanced at the paperwork, checked her microchip and sent us on our way. And it has just occurred to me as I type this, that I didn’t get any sort of receipt from them, and I’m pretty sure she needs to be registered in the city. Not sure what they might need. Another round of research!