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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Life has dealt a new hand of cards to Shadow and I. No details, except we are in the process of returning to USA after long time in China.

Fortunately, I have located a Pet Relocation company to manage all the numerous details.

Vets, microchip, vaccination records, Govt Vet, health checks, time limits...….. Export out of China, Import and Export for Hong Kong, Import to USA. Pet container training. Coordination with airline to secure space for Shadow and me on the same flight. The list is extensive and detailed. One of the more complex hurdles is the Customs for Pets between the China/Hong Kong border. They open at 9 am, requires 1 hour to process......if lucky. Airline requires pet and owner to arrive 3 hours before international flight. Plane with pet accommodations departs at 11:30 am. uggh…… So, Shadow will leave a day before me to get through Customs then overnight in a kennel. Then to the airport to meet me for check in with another 24+ hours in the pet container. International flights are restricted on the number of pets they carry and the pets must travel as cargo, only Service animals in cabin. BTW, ESA animals ride in cargo. So, Shadow's ticket is based on his and the container weight. Estimate is $550 USD. I won't say about the Pet Relo costs......lets just say the service price is not for the faint of heart.

Once we arrive, then its US Customs and Immigration...…. after clearing that we have a 5+ hour car ride from Chicago to Central Iowa in December weather.

Today, Shadow is visiting the Govt approved Vet for final health check. He begins his journey on 12/19. I leave China at 5:15 am on 12/20. We board the plane on 12/20 for the flight from Hong Kong to Chicago. Jet lag is a real bummer to adjust a 14 hour time shift.

There is a silver lining to all these hurdles. We will be home for Christmas. First time in my 6 year stay in China.

International travel with a pet can be very detailed, expensive with a million "gotchas" that can pop up anytime to suck off more money. It is possible to travel with your pet. But, it is not as simple as sticking the dog in a soft bag and poking it under the seat in front of you.
 

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Wow that's exciting for you! Good luck with everything; I hope all goes smoothly.
 

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Yes, good luck and safe travel to both you and Shadow. Look forward to hearing about it when you are safely settled back in U.S.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, Shadow has passed his Health exam by the Government approved Vet. Now, just need the Health Certificate, then all is GO.

Final invoice has been received. Total for the Pet Relo with all the documents and transportation comes to 12,650 rmb ($1800 USD). Not too bad.

Freight (Shadow's plane ticket) is estimated at $550 USD. I won't have a final on this until Check-In and the weight of crate/dog is determined.

Then need to move through US Custom and Immigration after a 15+ hour flight.

Thanks for the wishes. Yes, it is a relief to be leaving China for numerous reasons. It will be a nice Christmas to see my daughters and granddaughters and wife after 6 years on the opposite sides of the world during the holidays.
 

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Up, up, and away!
A safe journey to you and Shadow.

Listen, don't you think you're taking this whole retro-travel thing a bit too far? Trains, boats, and planes. Come on. It's 2019. Why don't you just beam out like everyone else?

Also, people who really love their dog insist on traveling with him in the cargo hold, as his emotional support person. You get to wear a special ES vest that says please don't pet me, I'm working.
 

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Honestly, good call on getting a relocation company in on this. I fumbled through all the paperwork and logistics myself (with some help from my local vet) and it was so much headache and stress. I'd still be stressed and worried with a relocation service, but it'd have been less with an experienced professional in my corner.

I also couldn't believe the number of people, most of whom were otherwise sensible and none of whom privy to my mental health information, who told me to get Sam registered as an ESA so he could ride in cabin. As if that were a loophole I should exploit for my convenience, and not a right offered to people in genuine need of that support during travel due to legit mental health conditions. The US is incredibly lenient about service dogs and ESA regulations, and that allows a lot of people to get help who otherwise couldn't due to expense, wait times, housing restrictions, availability, diagnosis (or lack thereof) etc., but that really demonstrated to me why so many other countries are not. I worry about what will happen to those people really benefiting from an animal companion (service or ESA) if so much of the general public is perfectly comfortable exploiting that leniency.

...sorry for the rant, just thought of it when you mentioned the in cabin option for ESAs in the US. Good luck to you and Shadow!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Final results of our relocation from China to USA.

Check-in was a long 3 hour process, but without any problems. His freight ticket was just a little over $400 USD. I saw his crate loaded onto the plane, confirmed with ground crew that his cargo bay was heated and pressurized. They were a bit hesitant in their answer, so I did a follow up with the lead flight attendant, she confirmed with the pilot.

After a 14 hour flight with 12+ hours of turbulence (minor to stomach wrenching severe), we landed in Chicago. I saw Shadow's crate unloaded from the plane before I was able to exit the plane. I managed through Customs & Immigration without trouble. Shadow's crate was waiting in Oversize Baggage pickup. After my luggage arrived, I called the CBP agent to examine Shadow's paperwork. All was approved without a hitch. We were officially in the USA.

The next task was the 6 hour drive to Central Iowa. Fortunately, baggage carts and a pet relief area were available at the car rental facility. Shadow was ready to explode, he did not relieve himself for the entire time in the crate. He was in the crate for about 20 hours. Got the car and headed out on the road. Shadow just curled up in the front passenger seat for a long sleep. We had 3 stops for food, walk and relief.

Arrived home with only a minor problem. His sebaceous cyst ruptured during the flight. I wasn't able to treat until we arrived in Iowa. Simply cleaned the area with betadine, shaved the area, expressed the contents, cleaned again with betadine, applied antibiotic. 2 weeks since arrival, he is healed and just waiting for the hair to grow back. I'm finally through the 14 hour jet lag time shift.

The weather is a bit of a shock. We left temperatures in the 60-70F range.....now, adjusting to a temperature range of 25-40F plus wind chill. Shadow is loving the change. He spends hours gazing out the windows and on constant alert for squirrels and bunnies. I can see his instinct kick in when he eyeballs one of these critters. When Spring arrives, I will need to put in a cyclone fence around the back yard. He is intensely focused on his prey. His off-leash return call is 100% without prey critters......don't have confidence he'll respond when on the focused hunt.

Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.
 
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