Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Justin Bieber and His Monkey. Or, How NOT To Bring Your Pet Into Another Country

I don't know all the details, but the celebrity gossip world is all abuzz over the confiscation of J Bieb's monkey in Munich, Germany.  What little I do know, is this: He flew from L.A. to Munich on a private jet with his monkey, Mally.  When the plane landed, Mally was promptly confiscated  by German officials and quarantined at the airport because The Biebs could not present the proper paperwork for his pet to enter the country. 
Now, I don't know if Biebs forgot the paperwork on his nightstand at home, or just failed to get the paperwork done in the first place, but if it's the latter, then, whoever thinks they can just hop on a plane and fly to ANOTHER COUNTRY with their pet without going through the proper protocol (i.e. jumping through a million hoops while trying to stay sane) is either very (very) naïve or just plain dumb.  I would like to think that Biebs is somewhat smart, so I will just pretend that he DID get the proper paperwork and just left it at home on the kitchen counter. Or something.
We do not live in Germany.  We live in Turkey, obviously, but we flew through Germany to get to Turkey, so therefore the EU and German rules applied when moving our pets here.  Our vet back in Virginia told us Turkey's rules are a bit more lax than the EU's when it comes to importing pets, but since we were going through Germany first, we had to follow EU standards.
Anyway, getting all our paperwork in order was a nightmare.  Because vet visits can't be conducted more than 15 days prior to your departure, and because our 15 days fell during two federally observed holidays when offices are closed (Christmas and New Year's), we were left with a very narrow window to get everything done. 
Those things included:
Purchasing FAA approved pet carriers, but not before going online to determine the proper measurements needed for said pet carriers.  Since we were checking our cat and dog as "excess baggage" on two different airlines (United and Turkish Air) we had to check the requirements for both.  And then we had to check that the plane going from Istanbul to Adana was large enough to accept our dog's carrier because it was so big and the plane was so small.  Once all that was worked out, we had to make sure we had enough "LIVE ANIMAL" stickers posted on all four sides.  Then we had to call the airline for the thousandth time to verify that our pets would in fact be on the same flights as us, and not traveling separately.
And while we were doing all that, we were scheduling vet visits.  I took both pets to the vet (two separate trips because I physically can't take a hissing, angry cat and a hyper, jumping dog at the same time) where they each had their micro chips scanned and checked, received an update on their vaccines and got proper "pet physicals."   S and I then returned to the vet for a third time to pick up the documents/completed forms for each pet.  I could have waited around for two hours while they filled everything out, but I chose to run five other necessary, pre-move errands instead.  So all totaled: three vet visits
After that, we drove the two hours to Richmond to get the stamps/paper/approval from the official government office for the final a-ok.  I blogged a bit about what a horrible experience this was, so I won't go into too much detail except to say we drove a total of 8 hours back and forth to Richmond on two separate occasions before we were given the all clear on both our pets.
All of this took place over a 10 day period during the holidays while family was visiting, holiday shopping was being conducted, E was out of daycare and therefore needed to be entertained, S was in consultations, we were preparing to ship our car, in the middle of packing our apartment, visiting the storage facility in Hagerstown and pretty much losing our minds.  But it got done.  Albeit at the last minute and with about 1,000 more grey hairs to show for it, but it got done.  We shipped our pets legally and they didn't get confiscated and quarantined.
So all that is to say this: Whatever Justin Bieber's reasons for not having the proper paperwork for his beloved pet, I hope he gets it figured out for next time.  Because our pets are our family and they deserve to be taken care of too.  They deserve the hoop-jumping and the grey-hair stressing and all the frustrations that come with doing what's right for them. 
At the end of the day, a snuggle from M-dog and even a purring head butt from B-cat make all those frustrations worth it.  And it gives me and S peace of mind to know that we did something right if they're at home with us and not in quarantine. 
I hope The Biebs gets his monkey back and that she is okay.  But next time, have the proper paperwork no matter how difficult it is to obtain. 


  1. I think you're giving the Biebs too much credit :p but good for you guys for doing everything properly. My husband (and probably Jack) would love a dog, but that pet stuff is so daunting, and I worry about it limiting our post options. On the other hand, I can't imagine Jack growing up without a dog, so I think it will happen eventually. In the end, pets are always worth the hassle :)

  2. Ha! You're probably right-waaaay too much credit ;). The pet stuff is definitely frustrating and time consuming, but these little buggers grow on you...you can't imagine life without them. They were a factor in our bidding strategy though, and there were a few nice places we had to bid low because we wouldn't have been able to bring them, but we're happy where we ended up. Smaller dogs are definitely easier to manage if you do decide to get one!