The Celebrate Life Tour – The Critters are Coming – Part 2

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The Critters are Coming Part 2 – Waiting for the Vet.

The Celebrate Life Tour – The Critters are Coming – Part 2

Please forgive the long break between posts on the Celebrate Life Tour RV Trip. It turned into a whirlwind of adventures, and has only just now started settling down enough to write. If you’re still interested in what’s been going on, I’ll try over the next few weeks to get you all caught up. So here we go.

You already know that Hawaii has great natural beauty and amazing weather, what you may not know is that it doesn’t have snakes. Needless to say, that can be very handy when you’re strolling through the woods. It is also the only state that doesn’t have rabies, and the government is bound and determined to make sure it stays that way. All animals coming to Hawaii from areas that do have the rabies virus must go through 2 rabies vaccines, a Rabies Test, and a 120-day quarantine before they can join their families. A few years ago, they started a program called the “ 5 day or less release “, which allows people that live in Hawaii to take their pets to the mainland and bring them back without going through the quarantine, but you still have to do the shots and tests. That means to get your little furry ones back home to paradise, you’re looking at no less than 5 trips to the vet, plus the cost of the shots, tests, and of course , the  “Entry Fees “. Cha-Ching !

Ok, this ordeal is bad enough for one pet, but if you multiply it by eight ( 7 cats and 1 dog ), you know you’ve gone loop d’ loop. Then again, for us, there was no way we were going to leave “our family” for a 3 month Celebrate Life Tour, so it became of matter of “let’s make a deal”.

We are fortunate to have 2 very good vet clinics close to our home, and we use each for different types of issues, but definitely have a favorite. Our first choice is the smaller of the two as they seem to be a bit a more personal, and have a very caring staff. I contacted them both about pricing for all the work necessary to get our animals back into Hawaii at the end of he trip. The larger clinic took their basic price times 8, but the manager at our preferred clinic, went above and beyond. She gave us discounts on the visits and shots, and allowed us to ship the blood tests to the Kansas State University lab that Hawaii approves for testing. We literally saved hundreds of dollars, whew ! There were however a few bumps in the road.

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The caring staff at Haiku Vet getting our family ready for the trip.

Now, timing is everything with this process. There is a specific time between shots, between shots and tests, and between results and Hawaii’s application approval. Also there is a limit in how long the blood sample for the test is good, and how it has to be handled, meaning “ refrigerated “, and carefully packed for shipping.

When we reached the point of getting the blood work done, we scheduled the appointment for a Thursday, thinking we could ship it overnight, and get it to the lab on Friday. We also assumed ( usually a bad thing ), that we could ship the package as a refrigerated item. Well, that was the plan, but this is what actually happened.

The sample for the rabies test requires quite a bit of blood, and in dogs, that’s not a big problem, but in cats, it can be a long and very uncomfortable process. Since we were dealing with 7 cats, it turned into a very time consuming appointment, and by the time the vet had everything they needed, we had missed the outgoing shipment for both Fedex and UPS. Our only choice was to get them out on Friday morning, and hope the lab would accept a weekend shipment. The vet kindly kept the samples in their refrigerator overnight, and we picked them up all neatly packed in a Styrofoam ice chest with icepacks, and headed first to FedEx. After a lengthy wait in line, we were told that there was no such thing as “refrigerated shipping”, and that if we shipped them on Friday, they would sit in a “not” climate controlled warehouse until late Sunday night, when they would be sent to their delivery city. CRAP !

We then headed to UPS, who of course gave us a similar song and dance. The only option left open to us, was to take the samples back home, pop them in the frig overnight, ship them on Saturday, and pray the icepacks would keep them cold enough to last until Monday morning when they would be delivered to the lab.

I had a dentist appointment in town, so Don ran the samples home to take care of them. What I didn’t realize is that he had not been part of most of the conversations about preserving the samples, and assumed that since they were in an ice chest with ice packs, that they should be put in the freezer. When I found out a couple of hours later where they were, I immediately called the vet to check if we were in trouble, but in using the speed dial on my phone, accidentally called the wrong vet. They of course, not knowing what I was talking about, told me it was fine. You know how some things just don’t sit right, and that uneasiness just keeps coming back until you do something about it. Well, it took about an hour of dealing with that before I finally gave in and called again just to double check, but this time I called the right vet, who said we were only in trouble if the blood had frozen. CRAP !!!!!

At that point, we were about a half hour away from home, and immediately raced back to the freezer to find 3 of the samples frozen solid, and the remaining 5 with only a few drops of moving liquid. OK, this was bad. It meant that we would not only have to put our babies through another round of blood drawing, but it was jeopardizing our timing in being able to get them back to Hawaii.

I called the right vet again to appraise them of the situation, and they called the lab, who thankfully said, that we were OK for this type of test, WHEW !!!!!

We took the samples to FedEx as late as possible on Saturday, to give us the best possible chance of keeping them cold, and on Monday morning got confirmation that the lab had received them, and they were usable. A week later, we were told that all had passed with flying colors, yeah! The hard part was behind us, or so we thought.

The last step that we needed to take in this process while we were still in Hawaii, was submitting the applications and payment to the State for re-entry. We could have mailed them in, but with this much paperwork, there’s no way we were going to do anything but hand deliver it. After the clerk, picked herself off the floor with the 50lb packet we handed her ( Ok, I’m exaggerating a little ), she informed us that they would not have time to process it that day, and for us to call back in a week or so, to verify they had everything they needed. When you have one application, they almost always process it while you wait, so we weren’t concerned about things getting done in plenty of time. Well, I called in a week or so, and then another, and another, until the day we left, to still get the answer that they had not had time to review them. Oh well, we had a 3 month trip ahead, and plenty of time to deal with it, I said to myself with fingers crossed. At least we had everything we needed to get them on the plane to Portland.

The Celebrate Life Tour

Mission Positive Films

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