Embracing Adventure “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~~Hellen Keller

Puppy Preparations Part III

International Health Certificate

After we had confirmed the request for our dogs to travel to Germany we thought all we had left to do was to get a new crate for Apollo and an international health certificate for both dogs.  We were told at VCA the international health certificates can’t be done sooner than ten days before the travel date and can most easily done by a military veterinarian because the military veterinarian doesn’t have to send the form out to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) for approval whereas a civilian veterinarian does.

The necessary forms for a dog to travel to Germany

When we got to the military veterinarian, we found out that the European Union veterinary health form done by VCA had been done incorrectly. Even if it had been done correctly, it would have had to be sent out to the USDA for it to be valid, which it hadn’t been. The receptionist also noted that the records VCA had given us for the dogs’ rabies shots did not include a rabies license number. Fortunately, since we at least had the dates and could verify the shots were administered after the microchip, they didn’t make us redo them. The military veterinarian said she couldn’t sign off on the civilian veterinarian’s observations and would need to start the process over and see both dogs to do their international health certificates and veterinary health forms.

Apollo was having an allergic reaction to something and had bumps that were swelled up, so we already had him with us. The veterinarian gave him Benadryl and took a culture of a spot that was a tumor. She said she looked at the cells and it seems benign but suspicious. She instructed us to watch it for another couple weeks. She said such tumors are common in puppies and usually go away on their own, but if it doesn’t, we’ll need to have it removed. Once removed, it will send it off to a pathologist to determine if it is benign or malignant. In office, she can only look at it and make a judgement but cannot do testing.

Then, she completed both of the required health certificates rather quickly. I’m not sure what took VCA so long to do one, especially since they didn’t even do it correctly. She also gave us a Certificate of Acclimation stating he couldn’t be exposed to temperatures over 85 degrees Fahrenheit or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. We asked if there was any wiggle room with the lower temperature in case it was a couple degrees colder that day. She said Apollo doesn’t weigh enough and the flight is too long for it to be safe at a lower temperature. This is understandable and obviously we want the safest experience for our puppy, but it was worrisome because we didn’t know how cold it would be. The veterinarian let us bring Gir back with us later that day for all of the same forms, which also went quickly.

I wish we had known about the army veterinarian prior to going to VCA. In addition to knowing what to do and being speedy about it, they were cheaper. If we’d gotten the rabies shot there, it would have only been $10 and the microchip would have been $25. We were also able to get Apollo a heartworm and flea medication similar to what I use for Gir for about $70 for 6 mos. That is cheaper than the rate I would have gotten through 1800petmeds for the equivalent medicine for him (which I’d been using as it is cheaper than the regular veterinarian). Overall, I was much happier with their service than the civilian doctor, and I was glad that we were able to get in and get everything done without having had an appointment.

Apollo in his new crate

Finding a New Crate for Apollo

The original crate we got Apollo was 11 inches tall by 18 inches long. While it was long enough, it was about two inches too short. Originally we were going to let him keep Gir’s crate and get her another. But the small one was just small enough to fit on the back seat of my car next to the other one, so we needed to find one about the same length. We put Apollo in Gir’s crate so he could keep getting used to traveling in one and took him with us to Petco. This would also allow us to make sure we got the size right.

This was Apollo’s first trip in a store, and I was happy that he behaved pretty well. He did pee twice but near the cleanup stations. He was also surprisingly calm when a child picked him up without warning and didn’t put him down right away. This was good to know as I hear people like to walk their dogs in Germany and there could be curious children around. In Germany one can even take pets into some restaurants and non-pet-related stores, although I don’t think we’ll be doing that with him any time soon.

We ended up finding a crate that was 16 inches tall and 22 inches long. The original screwed together with over a dozen screws. This one was easier, just requiring snapping a few clips on the sides of the crate. This also allowed us to actually put the crate together in the store. He fit in it well, and the extra couple inches didn’t keep it from fitting next to the other crate in the car.

We hadn’t kept the receipt for the original crate and I had already put it together. Fortunately, the guy at Petco let us do an exchange for it without a problem. Since I had a Petco card, it took the price down enough that it was only about a $5 difference for the larger crate. I was pleased that we had success with getting what we needed. All that was left was waiting for flight day and hoping the temperature forecast for 47 degrees would be accurate.

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3 Thoughts on “Puppy Preparations Part III

  1. Wow, a benign tumor! Poor dog!! Seems like your flight went alright though. Your comment about taking pets into restaurants and stores made me smile. It was quite an adjustment to me to see how people in the US handle these matters. Completely out of order NOT to take a pet to a restaurant, that’s what I found. But then you adjust to everything, even American conservative standards… No worries, your pet will have a good time in Deutschland. 🙂

    • Yeah we are hoping to get it taken off tomorrow and hopefully she’s right in guessing it’s benign. Yes the flight did go well overall. I’m glad to make you smile 🙂 Haha yeah the only place I’ve ever been able to take my dogs in was PetCo and there are only a couple restaurants with patios where I was able to take a dog in Savannah. I thought it was mostly those kind of restaurants people take their pets in here, but we were in Cafe Rossi and someone took their pet up to the loft area. I have only seen “no pets” signs in a couple stores on Haupstrasse (mostly things that totally make sense like book and jewelry stores where they could potentially damage something, and I’d be afraid to take Apollo in one even if I could lol). Yep, one can adjust to anything. I hope so. Unfortunately I found out we’re getting an apartment rather than the house we thought so they won’t get the yard I hoped, but at least they’ll have places they’ll be welcome.

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