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Service Animal Mayhem!

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Getting ready to cruise with your service animal and you will breeze right aboard? Think again!

What a surprise to discover all the hoops we needed to jump through to get my wife's 11lb. service dog Muffy to join us. Here is the breakdown, in brief: 

1. In order to fly commercially and as a requirement to continue the process you must fill out a US Department of Transportation form. It is free but you must carry a copy with you. Your vet name and contact info required but does not need to be signed by them.

2. Once you have the DOT form completed and you are traveling to a rabies "High Risk" country (most of the Caribbean) you need to complete an "Importation" form with the US CDC. This is a tedious form which requires documentation as if you were importing a dog to the US for the first time. Our Muffy is not microchipped so this was the deal breaker for us as I did not start the form well before we were to depart. You are also required to upload these documents and photos of the dogs teeth so some computer savvy is needed.

3. Once you have those forms completed then you must contact your cruise line to submit those forms, complete their form(s), and sign a waiver that you will be responsible for any cleaning or damage caused by your service canine. 

Again due to my tardy start to this process and that the CDC permit can take up to 60 days to be approved we were forced to leave Muffy home.

BTW there is no provision available for any service animal other than a dog so if your peacock isa trained service animal then you will have to leave him home.

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So sorry that Muffy was unable to make the trip. This is a good reminder for anyone planning on bringing a service animal on board to begin the process well in advance, starting with the cruise line’s website and following the links to all the requirements. The most important is the Department of Agriculture which covers the regulations for all pet travel, especially when returning from a foreign country. 

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