Once we got word that the Portuguese government had deemed us worthy of living in their fair country, it was time to spring into action. There are so many things to consider: plane tickets, movers, getting ready for the movers.
Oh, and transport for our “fur child,” Jiver. I had purchased one-way plane tickets for us to leave at the end of October. They had to be canceled but, I got a credit for those and now had to rebook. Let’s just say it: traveling with an animal is a pain in the ass! I had read that dogs could not travel on the plane with you internationally at all. Wrong again! After speaking with an airline employee, it was suggested, if I could get him certified as an emotional support animal, he could ride in the cabin with us. I got online (sometimes the internet is your friend) and promptly found an outfit in Louisiana that did such animal certifications, US Service Animals. For about $200, a therapist calls you and asks you a few questions and then decides if you are certifiable…! Happily, I am. (None of my friends were surprised by this). I mean, they certified Jiver as my emotional support animal. And issued me papers to that effect. In reality, I will be his emotional support human for the trip!
Given airline animal shipping regulations, it’s a good thing this worked. It costs about the same amount to ship an animal as cargo ($200) but, the weather must be 45 degrees or warmer. Getting out of Denver and Newark in February, there is no way it’s going to be warm enough for that to happen.
There has been more paperwork to bring the dog with us than there was for us to get into the country! The vet must issue him a doggie passport, and the airlines require forms to be filled out as well. Then there’s the eight-page Portuguese form the vet must fill out to bring him into the country. It is a relief that he can travel with us. And that there is no dog quarantine in Portugal. He spent the better part of his life as a diabetic alert service dog for his person until he died almost three years ago. We inherited Jiver when that happened so, he has paid his dues, so to speak. He also has the wardrobe for it. He came to us with a service dog vest, which we will use. And all the service dog papers are good for a year so, our little buddy is about to become a world traveler!
The sorting out of what to take and what to leave continues. The movers will come on February 11th and we ship out on the 21st. And, this just in…our passports came back from the consulate in the mail today with shiny new residence visas inside! Coming soon to Portugal…us!