On Bringing the Dog

So far there has been lots of chatter about the decision to bring the dog to China. There have been some vocal opponents and some serious supporters, but in the end bringing the dog was something that we thought we really needed to do. Yes, I have heard that they eat dogs in China and, yes, there are restrictions on the number of dogs you can have and some rules about when those dogs can be out. Maggie is a big dog, around 65 pounds, and she is a bit of a barker so she isn’t going to fit in well in China. She is also black which I am told might make her seem more menacing to the locals. She is basically a Baltimore street dog– a lab and pit bull mix, we think– and she is perfect for living in the city if you want people to be afraid to come too close to your porch if they don’t know you. And I for one, greatly appreciate that in a dog.  She can look scary, but she is great with kids. We have had her since she was 6 weeks old when our babysitter’s husband found a box of puppies at a city construction site. Yes, someone had dumped a box of puppies and the only one that survived is Maggie. It is expensive to have her come with us, but Henry stood firm in his assertion that without the dog he would be staying in the United States. He had only two requests and those included the shipping of his bed (not happening, but we did send his quilt, pillows, and sheets) and the necessity of his dog. It is a hassle, and I know that it is going to be me dealing the most with the dog issues, but in the expat compounds a big dog isn’t that unusual. We have a place to walk her and the kids might really need a good doggie snuggle those first few weeks in our new home. I think I might be getting some doggie snuggles myself when I need them.

So, the low down on how this dog shipping thing will allegedly work… Maggie travels separately and arrives after us. I have had to buy an ENORMOUS travel crate for her and she will be taking a pet friendly airline. She goes to Europe first and gets a chance to stretch her legs and have a snack, maybe hit the bars in Amsterdam, and then takes another flight to get to Shanghai. While the long flight was a big concern, we were more concerned with the mandatory 7 day government quarantine that all dogs are supposed to endure when they come into the city. With the company we are using they are allowed to keep her for 24 hours at their facility and then return her to us. All in all she may have a better trip than the kids.

The pet relocation company is very serious about keeping you informed. I know people worry about their pets and that it was all meant to reassure me, but I had to work really hard to keep the sarcasm to a minimum.  My first agent there made it clear that I could track the dog online the entire time she was traveling and had access to his cell phone “24 hours a day, 7 days a week”. I love the dog– but I am not that kind of pet owner. I am also going to be pretty busy taking care of the three little people who will be traveling with me. They, of course, might feel differently and need to make several late night phone calls to check on Maggie Moodles.  I hope our agent doesn’t mind speaking with Henry.

Hopefully, the dog will arrive safe and sound in Shanghai and we will all live happily ever after. You can stop laughing now. Of course there will be a glitch, but maybe, just maybe, it will just be something minor. Keep your fingers crossed. And you have to admit, it makes a great story. The dog goes from being dumped in the trash to traveling the world or, as some writers I know suggested, From Dumpster to Diplomat. She will have two stamps in her passport!  (No she doesn’t really get a passport.)  The kids will be chronicling the adventures of Maggie for sure. Unless it is from Dumpster to Disaster… or Deportation…

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