Tuesday, July 8, 2008

More on Moving Coco

Our Labrador gained another pound for her international check-up at Friendship Animal Hospital yesterday. Rick McGranahan is the international pet shipping specialist at the hospital and he was very helpful with us getting the right forms completed.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the Kolkata airport customs is different than other airports in India. Instead of sending her cargo, we have to send her as accompanied baggage. The hardest part in making this happen is working with the airlines, since with each of the 15+ times we called we got a different answer.

What we did learn with dealing with the airlines, is that the main reservations desk tends to be more up-to-date with pet policies than cargo. From our current information, United and Luftansa will allow for a pet and crate (weight combined) to be checked as accompanied baggage for up to 150 pounds (subject to change!).

We had two appointments at Friendship Animal Hospital one a little over a month ago to get a new rabies shot and the one yesterday for completion of the forms needed for customs.

India requires three documents (subject to change!): a rabies certificate with the vaccination more than 30 days old but less than one year old, a USDA certification and a Government of India certification. Rick had prepared the forms, so after the vet examined Coco and signed, I drove to Annapolis to get the USDA official signature.

You can FedEx the USDA form to the Annapolis office and they will send it FedEx back the next day, but because our post also needs copies of these forms several days prior to our arrival, but they can't be more than 10 days old from when Coco lands in Kolkata, the best plan for us was to drive. Whew!

To add more to the process, we are stopping in NYC for DHS consultations so instead of flying Coco to NY to Kolkata with a two day layover in NY, one of us is flying back to D.C. to get on the same flight with her from D.C. to Kolkata. We had to cost-construct this option, but luckily it was a similar price.

To help us with this twist, the hero for the day(s) is Club Pet International, another highly recommended company in the D.C. area. Coco will be boarding there for three days, they will then prepare her and her crate, and bring her to meet us at the airport.

If we were able to send her cargo Club Pet International would have taken care of all details or just the services selected, as needed. From our dealings with then so far, they are an exceptional organization.

With everything lined up, we are crossing our fingers for a painless experience. We will post more about the actual shipping hopefully with a very simple and short finale.


kaushik said...

Good luck with your move to Kolkata. I came across your site from an american in kolkata blog. I can understand where she is coming from price wise but i can asure u that its not always the case and Kolkata is still one of the cheapest metropolitan city in india. Locals are not used to expats working in Kolkata as much as Delhi and Mumbai and so they tend to think of all foreigners as tourists and tourists tend to pay more in majority cases all over the world. However Infrastructure wise Kolkata lags behind, thats for sure. I am sure that you will get to know people there and have a lovely time. Just be patient. Have you sorted out your accomodation yet?

Natalie Buda Smith said...

We are definitely looking forward to Kolkata and have our arrangements already made for us, since we are with the U.S. State Department.

Any advice for how to not pay tourist prices all the time? Any other words of wisdom would be much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, the dog dilemma...

I still remember when we moved to our first overseas post, we actually had to take the dog to the airport and threaten to just let it go right there in the terminal before we started getting some answers. And in the many moves since, it hasn't gotten any easier. Best was the time when our Giant Schnauzer was stopped in Germany - halfway through the trip - and we were told he couldn't continue on our journey unless we coughed up an extra $500 on the spot. I'm still angry with United and Lufthansa for that little mistake.

We've had a dog issue Every Single Time we've moved - I could do a whole blog just on diplomatic doggy travel nightmares.

But you'll get there eventually, even if you sometimes wonder how. And then - when the dog finally comes out of his crate, he'll pee all over, buckets and buckets of pee. So, learn from my mistake: let him out before someone carries the crate into your new house.

Good luck to you all,

Anonymous said...

Sorry, probably should've given you my blog url. But - no good recent dog stories there. I'm over at emailfromtheembassy.blogspot.com

Natalie Buda Smith said...

Thanks for the tip about the pee! As soon as she got out of her crate, I swear it went on for at least 5 minutes. Luckily, they let her out just outside of the apartment complex door and it was raining heavily.

Also thank for your blog URL, I will definitely be reading!

More to come on the Coco move to Kolkata.

Lani said...

Thank you for posting this...This has been one of my greatest concerns...I am single, with no kids, other than my 30 lb Heinz 57 mutt. But I love her, and she is going where ever I go! :0)