How to get your dog out of China.


I also refer to this notebook as my PhD in animal logistics, it took 3 months and an unbelievable amount of luck. 

I had to leverage ever ounce of social capital, fledgling language ability, and straight up on- my-knees universal prayer to get this dog from his birth country to my birth country so that he could annoy me to open the door for him every 20 minutes for the rest of his life and bite my sisters new fiancé once. 

There was bribery involved, and a tricky situation where vaccine and quarantine dates  got either misquoted, misunderstood or changed. Luckily (and suspiciously) a dog of a similar breed and color had been rabies registered around the time that Murphy was supposed to have been rabies registered and so the veterinarian was able to politely forge some documents for an extra charge. A doggie visa was printed by a government employee who miraculously was in his office at the time and place that he was supposed to be. Two separate checkups from two seperate veterinarians in two seperate cities, the one that he was born and registered in and the one he would be flying out of, which was overkill but honestly worth it for the piece of mind. 

I scoured every pet market in the city to find a dog crate that was the correct dimensions and material, that would allow him to turn around and lay down comfortably, had wheels and could house a giant water bottle for the 15 hr nonstop flight where he would be held in an air conditioned pet cargo compartment. 

The airline, Korean Air, had the best record for not accidentally killing animals in flight. The time of year was a factor because this Frenchie breed is prone to overheating due to their adorable smush faced snout and therefore inability to cool down like a long nosed dog. 

And then, after hiring a van to drive us to the airport, a final nerve wracking check in and a snarling incident when the tags were placed on his crate, I bent down and looked him in the eye and gave him a pep talk. I said, “listen, you stay alive okay? No matter what happens, it’s going to be loud and scary and  you’re not going to like it. You just chill the fuck out and take a 15 hour nap and when you wake up we’ll be in LA and I will be there to take you out of this crate and give you some food and you can stretch your legs and then we’ll go home home where there is a backyard to play in and people who love us. I’ve got this, and you need to trust me, you snarling little shithead, and stop scaring these poor people for heavens sake.”

And then I got the plane and accepted the fact that the dog could die in flight and there would be nothing I could do about it.