Hello Everyone, we have arrived back in Seattle. We are arriving with a little more than we left with, in this case two beagles. Undori and Lilac (Samantha). It was a somewhat lengthy journey for the puppies and the humans with the travel back across the international date line effectively letting us have an extended Wednesday having left Inchon Airport at 6:40pm Wednesday evening and 10 plus hours later arriving in Seattle at 1:00 pm Wednesday afternoon.
There were a great many volunteers involved in preparing paperwork providing crates, and of course looking out for the wellbeing of the pups through their loving foster care. This is true of those who looked after the two pups until their trip to the United States and to those who will be trusted with their care now that they have arrived and wait to go to their “forever” forever home.
As volunteers for Seattle Beagle Rescue it is one thing to give of ones time helping at events or taking in a beagle to your home to care for, for a given period of time. In this case there was a desire to understand just how much of an undertaking was truly involved in the co-ordination and work effort involved in transitioning beagles (12+) from one continent to another. In this case the best way to understand that was to partake in the journey. Hind sight always being what it is, we would have been more than happy to have met the puppies at the airport in Seattle and not gone through the details as I did but it gave us the true insight into just how much work does go into such an undertaking.
Consider the following scenario:
One of the main co-ordinations of the effort was in Chicago IL who we were communicating with on a regular basis, one of the foster parents which we visited with did speak some English which was very helpful and finally one of the transporters of one of the puppies spoke no English whatsoever and was responsible for the paperwork for customs/CDC import of the pups and was also the one explaining to me in Korean where to sign paperwork that clearly was not in English and what was taking place. Picture a cell phone connection to Chicago taking place with instant messages coming to me from Chicago based on that conversation that was taking place real time while my explaining we only have one crate and two dogs to transport to the United States.
Then it happened the person working through the paperwork with me disappears and there I am with a customs agent speaking to me in Korean and my nodding and doing eyebrow raises which I am sure in any language translates to I have no idea what is being said to me. Within minutes the transporter of the second pup has reappeared with a disassembled dog crate and some power tools. Now I ask you is that someone who is prepared? In a matter of minutes another fully assembled dog crate with attached water bottle for puppy number two. Well Done!!!
Heart rate was now returning to normal, two puppies, two crates. Now sign the paperwork please. Under the most normal of circumstances how many of us would sign any paperwork without understanding what it actually said? No problem here is my signature, my passport and anything else required to get these puppies where they are going. Only later did it occur to me that the paperwork that I would be presenting to customs and the CDC would be in the very paperwork that I signed that was in Korean. I decided that this would level the playing field if there were any questions asked about the puppies upon entry to the United States playing the odds that there would not be a Korean to English translator on hand to review the paperwork.
Now off to the ticketing counter with the puppies the paperwork and all our luggage. The check in process with the puppies was as straight forward as bringing some fragile cargo to be transported with the exception of this cargo breathing. Something that struck me as odd and I am sure this can vary accordingly, until we paid for the transportation of the dogs in cargo we would not be issued the final ticket for one of the passengers on the flight. Payment was not actually done at the ticketing counter but at another kiosk near by. Finally tickets, paperwork, puppies in crates everything organized; time spent 1.5 hours.
Now take the crates to the cargo area to get the puppies loaded into the plane. Wait a minute the flight doesn’t leave for another 2 hours and it is a 10 hour flight how long can we keep the puppies before we have to deliver them to the cargo area. Well the puppies need to be at the cargo area at 5 pm and the flight leaves at 6:40 pm and is a 10 hour flight plus customs clearance and landing taxi and now math is starting to come into play. Heart rate begins to elevate concern for the puppies time in the crate now coming into the front of my mind. I will just say it, and to be clear this is a very specific example about two small puppies. Can I just buy two tickets for the puppies and bring them in the cabin with us. I have to be honest I think the puppies would have been better behaved than some small children I have travelled on aircraft with in the past.
So there it is, the next 10 hours spent concerned about two little puppies in the cargo hold, just keep telling yourself the last puppies made it over just fine, as true as that was we hadn’t ineracted with any of the puppies prior to their flights over and really did not know what the entire process was. Thankfully our airline had climate controlled cargo space for animals. I am hopeful that all airlines do but was very thankful of our choice of airline when I learned that piece of information.
Finally on the ground in Seattle, oh look customs back log, heart rate elevated puppy concern meter rising. So after about 1 hour in customs (potentially a bit longer) off we go to the area where the puppies are. Upon arrival the two puppies were waiting with some volunteers from Seattle Beagle Rescue however the crates were not allowed to be opened until I properly identified myself. Under normal circumstances I think this type of security is great, the other side of this of course is the puppies have been in those crates for over 10 hours now let’s get them out of those. Out they came and everyone was pretty happy to be out of the crates. Undori (which personally I think should be named Bruno based on his personality) was pretty active at the airport, Samantha (Lilac) was her normal quiet self for the most part.
Everyone got themselves organized and there were some pictures taken at the airport by SBR that I am sure have be posted and I clicked one of Samantha waiting for her ride outside the airport. Off to the hotel we went, and of course later in the evening Samantha made her voice known to us and the hotel. For those who have stayed at an Embassy Suites they will appreciate the s