I’m 24 years old, but to be honest, I’ve never really noticed animals. I just never cared. I feel like I never really saw pure bred breeds of cats or dogs til the tiny cubes in pet shops in Korea; you know, the microscopic clear cubes stacked 10 long by 4 high, 2 week old puppies or kittens inside with no toys, just a ragged cloth, going to the bathroom all over themselves.
Yeah, it’s a terrible industry…but sometimes your best friend is in there and you gotta get him out.
Anyway, in this great year of 2015, I finally walked past the shops in Cheonan on pet street (there are a better selection here than the ridiculously terrible and famed Chungmuro area in Seoul, believe me) enough to be spot the future newest member of my family.
There he was, a tiny chocolate poodle, named Choco by the pet shop. He was old by their standards at 4 months and kept in the back. I had to have him. I paid $300 on the spot. The shop owner simply took the money and handed me a receipt. Didn’t check if I was a crazy person or even if I had a house. Just handed him over. Shocking business for sure. 😦
I took “Choco” home and christened him Peregrine Took Houser, affecionately known as Pip or Pippy. I’ve had him for two months now, and he’s the best thing in my life. Super healthy since I take him to the vet weekly. I got him a ridiculous haircut and more clothes than I have myself. He wears socks. GAze upon the pictures and vomit if you will, because he’s my baby, damn it. ❤
Well, two months in I quit my job and am moving back to the USA. As a new pet owner, I’ve never experienced international travel with a pet, but after 2,000,000 questions, I’ve got a run-down for anyone else needing to fly their pet home and I’ve checked all of these items off the list to fly my pup home in two days.
Flying Your Pet From Incheon To America
- Get a crate if flying cargo. I bought a crappy plastic Japanese one for $40. Of course I find out it isn’t IATA ok, so I wasted my money. All dog owners here recommended I buy the PetMate Vari Kennel, which even comes with Live Animal stickers. Useful to say the least. $100 for small, $200 for medium and going up from there. Just do it if your pet is going as cargo. Add the stickers, zip-tie food and water to the side, and add a copy of your information to the side just in case.
- Get your pet used to it. My pup uses his as a bed.
- Get the documents ready. Here’s what you need, and can be provided by any vet:
- Health certificate
- Vaccine booklet
- Rabies certificate
- Microchip (if returning to Korea)
- Add comfort items. Don’t fool yourself, your animal will go through hell. Just make it as easy as possible on them. I taped pee pads to the bottom, added a comfy blanket, my old shirt, and two everlasting treat toys and a puzzle toy to keep him occupied. I tested those before we left- he hates when I take them away as he could play for hours.
- On flight day, notify the attendants your pet is in Cargo. They’ll adjust the temp and check on them.
- If flying in cabin, you lucky duck, you’re golden. I’m doing that for my second flight. I’m checking the expensive crate and have a bag for Pip to transfer into at my connecting flight.
- Go through quarantine. With your papers, it should take less than 15 minutes unless something is wrong or the attendants are jerks.
Gotta say, having a pet is expensive beyond belief. However, Korea has so many adorable cube-animals that even though the pet shop industry is evil, I caved and got a pup. My vet at least said the shop I chose was the best one. I know many people say “adopt ONLY” but for some of us it isn’t feasible. I didn’t want an older dog, and I wanted to train from scratch as a new owner. If you disagree with my choice, I’m sorry, but Pip has a great home with me and I have no regrets.
Anyone else have a sweet Korean friend they got here? Leave comments below on your experience!