Saturday, January 19, 2013

PCSing to Hawaii with pets

We've PCSed plenty of times.  We've even PCSed with cats.  But this one has been a new experience for us.  It's the first time we've moved with dogs, with the added complication of thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean.

Fortunately, Hawaii no longer requires quarantine as long as their detailed process is followed.  Our dogs are good to go on their microchips and rabies antibodies, so no worries there.

In the past, we've packed up the cats with us in the car on the move.  There's no way to do that this time - our eleven day cross country trek would definitely be too much for all of us bringing the dogs along since we'll only have one car and it'll be stuffed with kids and baggage.  If this were a regular CONUS move, we'd have both vehicles with the ability to spread out a little.  But, there's that pesky ocean to cross and we're shipping the truck weeks ahead of us so it'll be waiting there when we arrive.

So, we've hired Island Pet Movers to do most of the work for us.  They have great reviews from just about any website I've found on moving to Hawaii.  The only negative I've read (and experienced) is that they're not very prompt in replying to email, but they do eventually get back to you.  Once the animals are en route  though, they answer their cell 24/7 for emergencies.  They've provided advice on the paperwork process, called our vet directly to make sure the blood serum samples were taken correctly, emailed us the forms that the Hawaii Department of Agriculture requires, arranged the dogs' flights, and will pick them up from the airport and take them to the kennel.  I'll give a post-PCS report on how they did with everything, but I'm pleased so far, and the relief knowing I'm not going to screw something up out of ignorance is absolutely worth the price we'll be paying (which will unfortunately be considerable - this is not an inexpensive undertaking).

The dogs are one of the main reasons why we'll be living on post in Hawaii.  The rental houses I've seen in the areas we're willing to live have been great and within the housing allowance allotted to us, but very few of them allow pets, and even fewer still allow multiple large dogs.  The on-post housing pet policies allow two pets, size immaterial (although I'm sure they balk at horses), as long as they aren't one of a handful of specific breeds.

I'm not too thrilled with the idea of the dogs being kenneled for a month or more, but there aren't many options that I'm willing to consider and we're bound by a few regulations that others are willing to ignore but we aren't.  From what I've been told, the kennel gives the dogs lots of socialization time which is something they desperately need anyway.  We'll visit them regularly once we arrive and hope we move into a house quickly.

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