8:00 AM PSTI woke up to a very rainy day out in Los Angeles and as I walked down to the corner to get some breakfast, I got caught in a heavy downpour -- what a way to wake up in the morning! Meanwhile, Harley was at the Kennel Club LAX where she could eat her breakfast inside and stay nice and dry.
10:00 AM PSTAfter going over every detail of Harley’s Australian Import Permit and making sure all of Harley's accompanying Australia Pet Import paperwork was in order, it was time to take the documents into the USDA for their endorsement. Once the USDA signs off on everything, Harley will be ready for the final kennel sealing before her departure.
2:00 PM PSTAfter the USDA, I arrived back at the Kennel Club LAX to check on Harley. The sun was now shining and things had dried out quite a bit. I took Harley out to the play area for a little bit of play time before we headed back to the USDA. The Kennel Club LAX, a bright pink oasis in the sea of airline cargo terminals and busy LA traffic, has a great playscape in the back for their guests to run and play. Playtime is a standard amenity during any dog's stay at the Club and I took a video of Harley at the Kennel Club, enjoying some California sun!
Once Harley had had her fill of sniffing in corners and trotting around, it was time to load up and head over to the USDA for the final kennel sealing.
3:30 PM PSTWhen we arrived at the USDA for the final kennel sealing, we were #6 in line -- a lot of dogs were traveling to Australia and New Zealand that day. While we waited for Calvin (the officer with the USDA) to finish up with the 5 dogs ahead of us in line, Harley and I took some time to walk around the parking lot. She had a long flight ahead of her and I wanted to make sure she got to stretch her legs as much as possible before it was time to get back in the kennel for her flight.
4:00 PM PSTIt was finally Harley’s turn to see the USDA officer. They scanned her microchip one last time to make sure it was still operating and matched all of her documents, and I gave her a few last scratches on the head.
The kennel sealing is done by the USDA and consists of six points of sealing -- each of the four corners of the kennel and two on the kennel door must receive a seal. Each of these metal seals has their own individual serial number and cannot be tampered with or broken. After a pet has been sealed in their kennel, they cannot be taken out until they arrive in Australia. This process prevents the spread of rabies into Australia, which could devastate the ecology of a country that has been historically rabies-free.
The metal USDA kennel seals on the crate door and corners.
Once her kennel was sealed and we had all the final endorsed paperwork, it was time to head off to Air New Zealand to get Harley checked in for the flight. Many times we use Qantas Airlines for our Australia moves, however Harley is flying with Air New Zealand because she is moving to Perth. We can’t take a connecting flight through Australia on Qantas to Perth so we have to connect through Auckland, NZ on an Air New Zealand flight and then continue on to Perth.
4:30 PM PSTMy time with Harley is quickly winding down. Once we complete her check-in with Air New Zealand, she will wait safely with the Air New Zealand staff until she is ready to be boarded on to the aircraft. The check-in doesn’t take long, and after her air way bill is issued (which is similar to a human's boarding pass) it is time to say goodbye. Harley, as she has been through the entire trip so far, is very calm and ready to go. I say my goodbyes and then it's time to get myself checked in on my flight back to Houston later that night.
I had been working with Harley and her owners for the six months leading up to her trip, and Harley and I became pretty good pals during our two day trip from Houston to Los Angeles. So it certainly felt bittersweet to see her off but I knew that she'd arrive in Australia safely -- after all our hard work, it was impossible for her not to! Plus, I knew how excited her owners were to see her after being separated from her for a while. I could see why they missed her: she was a very easy traveler (not once did she complain) and her tail was always wagging. Stay tuned for more updates on Harley’s arrival into Perth, Australia.