The most stressful part of the expatriation process to date has been organising the safe passage of the dog and cat. Now please understand, I love my dog to pieces. She is beautiful, funny, intelligent, lively, entertaining (much like her mistress, ha ha). Anyway, there was never any question of her being left behind. Ninja, the cat however… anyway that is another story for another time.
Taking your pets to Africa is perceived by the authorities as importing them. Now, that is all fine and good, except that they are traveling as ‘checked baggage’ (which means they are on the same flight as us) and the airline is not considering them ‘cargo’ as such. So we have an import permit from Zambia, but on the French side, the ‘export’ procedure is fuzzy to me, probably because my French is still appalling. I have been trying to find out if some Government authority needs to sign my import document, with no joy. I suspect I am experiencing added difficulties getting through on the phone number I’ve been given because it is August. Paris empties in August; for example you can’t find a dentist open in the Greater Paris area; restaurants, shops and whole businesses close for two or three weeks, with just a note on the door with the dates they are closed, signed off with a cheery ‘Bonnes Vacances’. I think the person who needs to sign my permits has probably gone swanning off to Corsica for the month. The response, if I could find anyone to give a response, would undoubtedly be ‘Tant pis’ (It sounds meaner than it is – sort of ‘never mind’ but with a bit more of an attitude (“tough luck”?).
The airline are happy for them to get on the plane as they are (apparently I don’t even need another health certificate, but I will get one because the one they have is a month old). Thankfully my vet is still working!
In addition I have had to buy the most ridiculously huge crate for Jasmine (the Border Collie) to travel in. Considering the fact that she curls up into a tiny ball most of the time, it seems excessive. She would have been happy in the cat box, had she been able to squeeze herself into it.
Ninja on the other hand, enjoys spreading out in Jasmine’s enormous crate. Perhaps they could swap. I had the option of keeping him with me, in the cabin. The KLM woman insisted that he would be free, and allowed to travel with me as long as he could fit under the seat. Given the fact that his meows drive me nuts during the 5 minute journey to the vet, not to mention the 20 minute drive to the cattery, I decided to pass on that one. Too bad Jasmine’s too big for that, she would be no bother at all.
And to top it all off, we get to spend a night in a hotel room with both Jasmine and Ninja before shoving them both in a box and sticking them in the hold with the luggage. I think after that I might feel less guilty about the second bit, at least for the cat. Ah well. Tant pis.