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Our Dog is Now an Ex-Pat Too!

Our dog didn't make it to Costa Rica during our first stay because we have no fencing in Costa Rica and had a lot to do to get settled in. Owen and Linda agreed to take care of him until we returned for him in October. This was a BIG ASK! Kizmet is a lovable dog, but not the smartest - he earned the nickname Dummy. He is afraid of his own shadow, inanimate objects, and people (especially tall men who wear baseball caps).

He is a about 60 pounds. We think he is a German Shepard, Rhodesian Ridgeback, and German Shepard mix.


Even though it is a fairly easy process, Mark stressed non-stop about the Kizmet move like a crazy person. He actually had nightmares of arriving in Costa Rica and his entrance being denied due to an error in the paperwork. In his nightmares, not only was Kizmet denied entry, he was confiscated by authorities and euthanized. When Mark horribilizes, he really goes all in.


Bringing a dog into Costa Rica is not difficult. A vet fills out a form attesting to the animal's health and vaccination schedule within 14 days of transport. The paperwork goes through a government agency and is either approved or declined. The airlines have their own requirements regarding the crate size, etc. With the certificate, you check your dog in at the airport. TSA inspects to make sure you are only transporting an animal.


Mark scheduled the appointment with the vet well in advance of our trip and did everything to make sure things went smoothly. Mark took Dummy to the vet exactly 14 days prior to the flight to make sure the paperwork was processed. The vet made mistakes in the paperwork causing the paperwork to be rejected three times - this did not help Mark's nerves! We decided that if we got to Costa Rica and Kizmet was denied entry, Mark would fly back with him.


Days prior to the flight, Mark found something new to freak out about. He decided that the large crate we purchased might be too small and that maybe we should have purchased an extra-large crate. He spent a lot of time looking for a bigger crate, but eventually realized that the size we purchased was correct.


A few days prior to the flight, he had me read everything to make sure that there was not going to be a problem. Alaska Airline actually requires the vet certification to be within ten - not 14 - days. I hoped that this wouldn't be a problem, but it was too late to do anything about it except give Mark one more thing to stress about. Our flight time was also changed so that we were landing at 11:44 p.m. Would they let Kizmet enter if we went through customs after midnight? More stressing for Mark.


The actual process was a piece of cake. At check in, the airline needed to weigh him in his crate. He happily jumped in his crate on the scale. The agent looked at the certification and made a comment about it not being within ten days, but simply decided to use the date the certification was approved. We were going to walk him around LAX for as long as possible so that he wouldn't be in the crate any longer than necessary, but LAX scared Kiz to death. Between people, luggage, shuttles, an announcements, he wanted in his crate. We checked him in and then grabbed some drinks. We actually saw him outside the plan when we boarded. He was lying comfortably in his crate. I watched him get boarded on the plane. The airline gave us a ticket confirming he was on the flight.


After we landed, we had to wait because the special luggage is unloaded last, so by the time we got him, the line to get through x-ray was really long. Kizmet needed to stay in the crate until we went through x-ray and his entry was approved. The Costa Rican agent told me he would walk us to the front of the line. Mark did not hear this so in his most beautiful broken and stressed Spanish, asked if we could cut the line. People were kind and let us go to the front. The agent in charge spent two seconds looking at Kizmet and his paperwork and let him in. No scrutiny. No problem. Kiz usually whines non-stop while in a vehicle, but I think this trip exhausted him. The three hour drive to our home was quiet and uneventful.

Kizmet loves it here! We thought it would take him a while to get used to everything, but I think he was meant to live here! We did have to cover the floating stairs with cardboard because he would not use the stairs when he could see through them. I started calling him Jungle Dog while on our way home. We drove to the beach our second day home and he jumped right out of the car. He loves the beach, the ocean, and the river! He is truly living his best life!




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