As this process continues, we are continually faced with telling more and more people about our decision. The more individuals let in on our little secret, the more amazed I am at how many people ask if we are taking our dogs. The question usually comes after why, when, and why. Just before how and why for a third time. The thought of existing anywhere without the doting eyes of our pups is unimaginable. But, as a volunteer at the local animal shelter, I know that people do make the decision to leave their pets behind so the question isn't completely invalid.
And we're discovering more about why people make this heart-wrenching decision. Because it's hard. It's really hard. Especially when moving to a different country. The United States is a rabies-controlled country. TCI is rabies-free. In order to import animals to a rabies-free environment, documentation is required. A LOT of documentation. And while the repercussions of getting this documentation vary, they all have one thing in common - a horrible experience for people and pets alike. This includes everything from refusal at customs to months of quarantine to euthanasia.
None of those options are acceptable. Our pups are family. There is no existing somewhere else without them. So the paperwork has to be perfect. Which is harder than it seems because the information available on the world wide webs is, well, less than consistent. That's putting it nicely. Fortunately, after hours and hours of scouring the web and asking for help, we made contact with the point person for TCI immigration that can work directly with our vet to insure all proper paperwork is in order.
I can't express the relief experienced at the moment this connection was made. The possibility of a problem with our pups was the source of the deepest anxiety we've been feeling. To have that lifted off our shoulders is the best thing that could have happened at this point. That's not to say the complexity of the process has been eliminated. There is still the matter of how to make arrangements to get them there. But removing the unthinkable possibility of euthanasia upon arrival makes it much easier to navigate the process. Yet again, getting out of my comfort zone and asking for help from strangers has really paid off.