If I had known what it would take to get a dog back to the States a year ago, we would have told the kids, "We're waiting till the U.S. to get a dog."
But here we are with a dog we don't want to leave behind because really, could you resist this kind of cuteness?
No, no one could unless they were blind, or heartless, or a robot. So we press on. When all is said and done, this is what we know (at this point, but I am fully prepared for there to be more rigamarole, or at least more money) will have to happen to get her there:
1. My friend Laura takes a collection of Scout's things (bed, food, toys, treats) back to the U.S. with her in early August to give to my parents
2. A health check at one particular clinic in town within 7 days prior to departure where they will unnecessarily microchip our dog (see previous blog post).
3. We take the results of the health check to another clinic in town where they give us some official certificate that proves our dog is healthy. And microchipped. There is a 100% likelihood that this will involve a red stamp of some kind because that's how China rolls.
4. August 30th, 3 days before our departure, we take Scout to the airport nine hours before her 4:10 pm flight so that she can go through customs. It's unclear why it takes this long. Honestly, I'm not at all sure it isn't a scam to grab a few more of our hard earned kuai before we leave. United in the U.S. was completely unaware that this is required on this end. They are also unaware that this process cannot happen on a Sunday, which is why she's flying earlier than us. This would have been SUPER helpful information when we bought our tickets for a Sunday flight.
5. 4:25 pm she lands in Chicago, where my FABULOUS brother and sister-in-law have graciously agreed to come from Milwaukee meet her. The other option was to have her fly all the way to Minneapolis, which would have required a 6 hour layover in Chicago and then a midnight landing. Then my poor parents would have had to pick her up and drive her home.
6. Scout tries to get over her traumatic experience with the help of said items from #1, adjust to a 13 hour time change, learn what life is like on the 1st floor where, "outside" is just on the other side of a door and not 12 floors down, and wonder where her people are for 3 days.
7. The next day my brother drives Scout halfway to Rochester while my parents bring his dog whom he left with them two days before (because we all thought it might be a bit much for my brother and his wife to have both dogs, especially since their dog would probably freak our dog out or our dog will be doing enough freaking out as it is) and they do a dog swap in the Dells. Scout continues to wonder who these kind people are, and where are HER people?!?
8. Oh and did I mention at this point this will run is about $1,300 USD? Thank God she only cost $9 in the first place.