Many of you know we not only came to Honduras with ourselves, but our son, Jacob raised the money for us to bring our pets as well. When Lowell first talked with Jake about our move here, he let him know that bringing the pets would be a possibility but when it looked as if we’d never raise enough money for ourselves let alone the animals, our older children helped Jake set up a blog and a page on Facebook. Within two weeks almost all the money was given. We praised God and live in thankfulness to the many who helped.
Bringing animals to another country is no easy task – it’s obviously not impossible but it takes patience and the cooperation of many people and an attitude of tenacity. The orchestration of all the details has to come about in a exact time schedule for their exit of the country to be executed.
We had the best Veterinarian in the world – Dr. Debra Garing, of Elkin Vet. Hospital and her staff were amazing. She was so patient as she took care to give each of our pets their necessary physicals and vaccinations. That was only the beginning of all her work – she had to complete tedious paperwork on the 2 dogs and the cat. After that we traveled to the USDA gov’t office in Raleigh for certification of the papers, next the tickets for us then the reservations for the animals, then within 10 days the stamped exit papers from the Vet, and additionally we needed cold weather restriction waivers for each animal. (Typically pets cannot travel if it is below 45 degrees, we got waivers for 21 degrees – the morning we left it was 26! … Praise God!) Also, crates that the animals travel in have to meet airline guidelines for their exact size – each animal must meet size restrictions w/in their appropriate crate. Furthermore, you must find an airline that is willing to work with you. This was very difficult but after numerous phone calls and several recommendations of others who have done this before – we went with the Pet Friendly airlines — American Airlines!
Jacob and I traveled into Charlotte (an hour and ½ trip) to go to the airport for a ‘dry-run’ on the Thursday before we were to leave on Tuesday – it was a good thing – our chosen crates were too big! They wouldn’t fit through the cargo door on our aircraft out of Charlotte! Yikes! However, the American Airlines desk agent was so kind and helpful … all our paperwork was in order! Yay! And she went over with us concerning the necessary labels that needed to be on the crates.
The day – February 16 – finally arrived! We stayed in Charlotte overnight. The trip to the airport began at 3:30 – with Lowell taking me and the animals to begin our transactions for the 6 a.m. departure. He had to go back to the house for the remainder of luggage and Jacob. After the paper work was gone through, then came the next inspection by a TSA agent of the animals and their kennels. The identifications, instructions, and labels were all in order. The a-okay was given and they were securely fastened in and the good-byes – we’ll see you in Tegucigalpa – were said.
Our plane was delayed by several hours in Miami and I could see the pets through the window of our Gate area. They were on their own container on the tarmac with one other dog awaiting departure. I was concerned about them – they had been without water for well over 4 – 5 hours. I went to the ticket agent expressing concern – the pilot of the plane happened to be there and over-heard me, he asked if I had a water bottle, he’d go take care of it – I had just bought one. So, he went out to the pets and watered all 4 of them – an angel of mercy!
Our flight and arrival at Tegucigalpa was without incident and in fact the immigration officer that handled the pets was also a Veterinarian and gave us his address and phone# if we ever needed him and advice on where to buy food, etc. – everyone was very friendly and helpful. We were so very grateful. Luis and Milton drove us from the airport to here – Santa Ana – and all of us were so very thankful to have arrived.
We are completing our first week here – our dogs adore the children here at Casa de Esperanza! The children love the dogs. Gabby, the cat, tolerates the kids and would rather hide! She is content and adjusting. Basically, Sadie gets worn out from the play – all the kiddos enjoy playing fetch with her. Izzy absolutely loves all the ‘loving’ – hugs and getting to give her kisses – she could stay outside all day in the middle of them. Skillet, the black lab who already lived here, and our dogs are beginning to be friendly.
In Honduras with Pets is turning out to be very good indeed. We THANK all the people who made it so!