Hola Amigos! So this insanely long US Tour is coming to an end. It is Jan 11th...I am sitting here in Saint Petersburg, Florida with my 2 pups (figure of speech, they are certainly not puppies) at my feet writing the start of this dog blog. I was happily reunited with them on January 4th after being away from them for 6 months (we missed them so much). My kick ass sister, and her amazing partner have been lovingly watching them (like their own), while the rest of the Murray Family were finding their footing on their new adventure (we have been pretty busy...see previous blogs here) This was such a solid for us and alleviated so much stress for us to know that our sweet puppies were being loved along side their cousin, Jackson (aka Gandalf the Grey/White). We are forever grateful to our family for helping us on this journey. We head today to Miami to start their journey HOME to their family...in Costa Rica.
So I will quick give you an overview of each dog. First, we have Stella (tiny, brindle Boxer dog model pictured above). She is 14 years old and pretty arthritic, but is a boss ass B who most dogs are a little afraid. Completely amazing with humans and for the most part other dogs...Just don't mess with her or get in her way. For those of you who know the unofficial motto of Philadelphia, that is most certainly Stella's personality. For the first time in her life, she lived with two women and no kids and I would imagine she was living her best Golden Girls life. She is def a Dorothy...the HBIC (you know)! She kicked it with Blanche and Rose for 6 months...But its time to be reunited with her mom, dad and kids...
Now onto Kylo...The gentle giant, who is not so gentle because he is enormous but thinks he is a lap dog. He is the all white Boxer above who barely looks like a boxer (we met his Boxer parents and he is AKC Registered). He is 5 years old and is the snuggliest ogre on the planet. He is a big dummy, but is the most lovable and sweet dog on the planet. He weighs in around a cool hundo depending on the amount of treats he gets. Bro is a straight up brute with a tiny little dog brain. He is so loved, but can be a handful. Again shout out to our amazing family for watching them for us while we made a life in Paradise.
Okay now on to the traveling part. So its kind of a ride trying to get larger dogs to another country. Each country is different and has their own requirements, and Costa Rica is right on par, but it is still annoying. First off, because our dogs are Boxers, they could not fly on a commercial flight. Since they have snub noses, their breathing can be restricted and most airlines have decided this is too big a liability for them. Since they couldn't fly commercial, we had to figure out a different solution.
We got a range of flight quotes from different international pet moving services. The dogs either had to fly on cargo planes or pet specific planes (or, if you have quite a bit of disposable income, you can fly private with a group splitting the costs). Since the private flight option was way out of our budget, we were looking at cargo or pet specific plane transport. In both cases, the area where the dogs are transported is temperature controlled and pressurized, and actually way better and less stressful then it would be to be under a commercial passenger plane. But that shit is still EXPENSIVE!!!!
One quote was 20K...We love the dogs, but 20K love ummmm don't make me say it. We finally found a great company out of Costa Rica called Pet Lounge (it ended up being $4600, which is expensive, but is on the lower end of all the quotes we got, and includes boarding the night before, transportation to and from airport, and all the handholding through customs). You can check them out here.
We worked with a lovely woman named Mariana. She helped with every step of the way, and there were A LOT of them. Obviously you need to have your dogs up on all their shots and vaccines, but you also need to have what is called an "International Health Certificate." This certificate can only be issued by certain veterinarians and requires approval from the USDA. You can read more about the entire process on the USDA's website and even look at country-specific requirements here. My sister was kind enough to take our pups to their appointment with Air Animal. They also offer transport services, but we were already pretty in with Pet Lounge. The certificate is challenging because it is only valid for 10 days, so if our dogs flight gets postponed, then we need to do another vet visit to get a new IHC (which costs like $800). I am now sitting in the MIA airport (it's now Jan 12th around 11:00) typing this and my dogs are already in the air, so we are good with that part...
I had to drop the pups off last night at their pet hotel (Peace of Mind Pet Resort) contracted by Pet Lounge that crates and transports dogs to the airport. They also coordinate pet transports, and have great reviews. They sent nice update photos overnight and from the airport this morning, so that was cool...My sister and I then got tipsy in Fort Lauderdale and dipped our toes in the Atlantic (for me one last time before I am back to the Pacific in gorgeous Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica)
So now I am on my flight (human flight, not dog flight). Dogs are on a DHL Flight that left an hour ago. See you in 3 hours.
Hello again from the future. I am now in San Jose, CR and booked an awesome driver (who I had used in the past with Mango Baby Beach). His name is Danny Hildago or as known around Costa Rica as "Costa Rica Dann". Check out his site and services here. He is also on Instagram, Tik Tok and Facebook under the handle @costaricadann. He grew up between Costa Rica and the US, so he speaks perfect English and Spanish. He is hilarious and made the 4 hour ride from San Jose to Playa Hermosa very fun and chill. The dogs landed in Costa Rica at noon, but we were told that they would be cleared through customs and the Senasa (Federal Government Agency overseeing importing of animals) vet check. They didn't end up getting there until almost 5:15 PM but it was well worth it.
Now it's just 4 hours of me chilling in the back of Costa Rica Dann's 12 Passenger Van with my pups and sipping on an Imperial. He is playing good music and I am beat...I might take a nap...
I lied...I did not take a nap...Drank all the beer though.
Okay now on to the good stuff! The puppies made it safely to their new home with their family in Costa Rica. It was a heck of a journey and required many helping hands, and a shit ton of money... But here we are! Pura Vida Amigos! The Murray Family is all smiles and love and is FINALLY complete again. A Cachete Inflado!!
****Full disclosure.... We also have a cat named Tilly. She is also around 14 years old and is a good girl who just loves to sleep all day. We didn't think it was fair to bring her along and disrupt her life. My father-in-law and mother-in-law, who love cats and also recently lost their beloved furbaby, Sidney, were so kind to "adopt" Tilly and let her live out her days with no kids or dogs messing with her. She is a great cat and I am sure she won't miss Kylo one single bit lol. He is a LOT!!! Here is our Tilly girl living her best life at their house in Charlotte!