Getting the paperwork to get my dog from Russia to Korea has proven quite a challenge. Fortunately I have had Vera, a local lady that is a wonderful help with all things pet related, to help as there is no way I could have done it all without her.
You have to have a current Rabies Neutralization Antibody Test prior to leaving a destination that still has issues with rabies even if you have had it done before. It is a test that is usually only needed once, but may be required again if you have been living in Russia, or any high risk rabies area. The test must also be completed by a listed laboratory and in most cases this is not a big issue but it does take time. If you are living in a far flung destination, such as Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, this can prove to be a challenge as the only labs allowed to do the testing are all based in Moscow which is 6,650 kilometers away.
I had to visit two vets just to draw the blood. The first vet tried, unsuccessfully, and he sent us to another vet who managed to get the required amount. Poor little girl has very sore looking front legs that resemble pin cushions. The blood was given to Vera in a test-tube that she was to keep upright until the next morning, this apparently allows it to ‘settle’ so that the required part of the blood can be separated. The following morning the blood sample is returned to the vet where he draws the part that is needed and this is then packed into a flask type box with dry ice – I had to supply the box and the dry ice! Once packed up there was a mad dash from the vet to the Special Post offices where it is shipped to Moscow. It has to be with the Special Post people by 8.20 am and the vet does not open until 8 am.
Once in Moscow the time for processing the test is based on how much you are willing to pay. Two weeks was 5,000 RUB, one week, 7,000 and three days, 10,000 RUB. I opted for the express service as I had already booked my flight, although I still had to change my travel date as there was no way to get the test back in time for my original booking.
As I write this I am still not sure what date I can fly. Once the test is completed I still need to get the paperwork back before I can board my flight. In theory the test results should be ready by Thursday and be on their way back but it will need to be sent by courier and no-one can tell me when the courier will arrive, so I am in a bit of a quandary. Do I re-book for the following Monday in the hopes that it will get back in time, or play it really safe and stay for another week and fly out on the following Thursday? The direct flights only go Monday, Thursday and Friday …..
I am to blame for this quandary though, I should have done more research into the process. I was not aware that this test would need to be done again and perhaps if I had read more I would have started the process earlier and not had this mad dash at the last minute. Lesson learned and a timely reminder that you need to do a lot of reading, checking and double checking when you are travelling with a pet.
For the moment I am just keeping my fingers, and toes, crossed that by the end of the day I will be a little more informed and can re-book my flight for the next adventure ….