Friday, August 22, 2008

Circumnavigation Routes, Part 2

One of the major considerations for us in planning a circumnavigation is what to do with our dog Scout. Do we leave him at home or do we take him with us? With our previous dog Charlie, we expected that he might be gone before we started the trip, maybe three or four years from now. But he died prematurely of cancer this past April at the age of ten, creating an overwhelming feeling of loss in our lives. Instead of waiting until after a circumnavigation to start thinking about a new puppy, we brought Scout into our lives in June to help ease the pain. But now what do we do?

When Nan and I attended Lin and Larry Pardey's cruising seminar in Denver back in 2004 ("Lin and Larry Pardey"), that was one of the big questions that came up: Is it possible to sail with your pets? Lin said that it definitely is, that people do it all the time, and that the only limitations are the restrictions some countries place on the importation of animals. Even that, she said, was becoming less of an issue though, as more countries adopted the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). She referred us to The Basics of Boat Travel with Your Cat or Dog by Diana Jessie. According to Jessie, Great Britain instituted the PETS program to allow pets from specific countries to be exempted from the quarantine period--as long as six months for Australia and other desirable destinations--that prevented many people from traveling with their pets. To qualify, the pet must have proof of a current rabies vaccination, an implanted microchip for identification, and a blood test certified by a veterinarian. Papers must be filed in advance with the destination country, but then the pet is free to travel upon arrival.

Jessie's book carries a 2003 copyright, so it is possible that the situation has changed since it was published, hopefully for the better as far as pet owners are concerned. It would still be a good idea to check each destination country's restrictions before planning a trip, but it is encouraging to know that if we want to take Scout with us, we should be able to. If we find that he is not welcome in certain of the countries we wish to visit, we could use the concept of the discontinuous voyage ("Circumnavigation Routes, Part 1") to return Scout home for those particular legs of the trip. Of course, he would need to fly internationally and that's a serious concern all by itself.

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