Thursday, February 25, 2010

Three Black Dogs







Look how big they are getting. Looks like we are keeping both of them.

Storms in Egypt

We finally had a day that I have been longing for. It rained on and off all day. We went out to Carrefour tonight and heard banging noises on the roof. I thought the roof was going to collapse, but then people coming in said it was pouring out. Thunder and lightening and the works. Although I did not see it, there was HAIL! Imagine that. When we left Carrefour the rain was coming down hard and heavy. It is freezing again also. It is pretty awesome to say say the least. My husband thought it was going to snow. Most people on Facebook were saying they loved watching the storm.

I wish it would snow in Egypt. Seems to be snowing everywhere else in the world right now. How about you - would you like to see snow in Egypt?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Moving Your Dog to Egypt

HOW TO MOVE YOUR DOG TO EGYPT FROM THE UNITED STATES- It's not as hard as you think.

Note: This information is for large dogs that need to fly as checked luggage in the cargo hold. For cats and small dogs the information regarding flying is different, however the process of getting the forms is the same. For animals travelling un-accompanied (without you on the same flight) some of the forms may be different as well.


PRE-PLANNING

BOOK YOUR FLIGHT

There are several factors to consider when booking your flight - cost, time of the year you will be flying and length of flight. At the time I moved with my dog my only options were: Egypt Air, Lufthansa, and KLM. Currently, Delta also offers direct flights to Cairo. I don't recommend flying through England on British Airways, as England has some of the toughest policies on travelling with animals. You want to choose a flight and airline that works best for you, but keep in mind doing direct international flights with pets is harder. Some of the airline websites suggest it is best to fly direct, but it all comes down to personal preference and how well you think your pet could handle being in a crate for up to 12 or more hours. At the time you book your flight, you must inform the airline or your plans to travel with a pet. They will usually ask for the breed and weight of pet, plus the exact measurements of your crate. They may be able to estimate the cost for you, but final cost will be determined once the crate and animal are weighed at check-in. I was quoted $750 on KLM for up to 145 lbs. (weight of the dog + weight of the crate = total shipment weight). Once you book your flight, look at the airlines website to see their pet travel policies as well as to download any forms you may need.

Egypt Air: this is a 12 hour flight between New York and Cairo. While Egypt Air offers great rates for humans, I was quoted (in 2007) a cost of $1,000 for the dog.

Delta: As of summer of 2008, Delta now offers direct flights between JFK and Cairo. Excellent rates for people, and good choice for travelling with carry-on pets. They also accept pets as luggage.

Lufthansa: Human rates are higher than many airlines, but supposedly they are excellent at handling animal transports. Flight time between the US and Germany is approximately 8 to 9 hours (depending on where you leave from) giving your dog time to rest between flights.

KLM (also see Northwest): I can highly recommend KLM for people as well as animals. My dog was picked up by a Northwest employee from the check-in counter and was taken to a climate controlled holding area prior to boarding. Northwest/KLM have Priority Pet Services at the airports in Memphis, Detroit, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. It makes checking in with a pet much more efficient, so if at all possible, try to schedule your departure from one of these hubs. As soon as I was on the plane and in my seat, the flight attendants brought me a receipt that showed my dog had been loaded in the cargo hold. The flight time for me between Memphis and Amsterdam was 8 hours. Upon arrival in Amsterdam I was not allowed to have any contact with my dog, but she was taken to a "pet motel" animal holding area in Schipol Airport where she was fed, her water bottle was refilled, and her crate - which she had soiled - was cleaned out and lined with shredded newspaper. Not only was the staff at the Schipol Airport animal holding area fantastic, the flight crew was outstanding. The whole experience was handled professionally right from the gate agent to the flight attendants, who alleviated my fears by checking to make sure the dog was on board right away - even letting my know that the captain assured me he was a dog owner and he would keep the temperature in the cargo hold up (it was February).

It is important to consider the time of year you will be flying because the airlines have regulations about flying dogs in cargo during certain temperatures. The temperature at departure and arrival destination must fall between their safe guidelines. So it might be best not to try to fly in August during a heatwave. Also, certain breeds that are more susceptible to heat stroke and temperature extremes are not permitted to fly cargo during these times of year. It's best to get on the airline website and see what their policies are regarding weather restrictions and embargoes.

It is also prudent for me to point out that depending on the size of your dog and crate, you might not be able to take certain regional flights because the crate won't fit in the cargo hold. This was a problem I ran into having a Rottweiler in a giant crate. I was not able to fly out of my local regional airport of Evansville, Indiana for this reason. I had to make arrangements to drive to Memphis and fly out of there. You will usually only run into this problem if you are using the extra-large or giant sized crates. You will have to travel to your nearest International Airport.

GETTING THE RIGHT CRATE
Once you have your flight booked, the next step is to get a crate. The earlier the better. My dog had been crate trained as a puppy, but I still had to purchase a new crate for her for two reasons - it was a little too small for her and it did not meet standards for international air travel. Be very careful when buying a crate that says it meets airline standards, because the requirements for domestic and international differ. Most crates that are sold in pet stores in the US only meet domestic requirements. For international, the crate must be made of a harder plastic, must be ventilated on all four sides, and must be put together with bolts rather than the flimsy plastic clips. I searched every pet store in the Evansville area with no luck. Depending on where you live, you might not have any luck in pet stores either.

Futurepets.com has a product called SKY KENNEL. These crates are approved for international travel and are the best best price you will find around (believe me I shopped around). The quality of these crates is better than most you will find in stores. This kennel is worth the investment not only for moving your dog, but for those interested in crate training as well. The website also sells replacement doors and hardware. Make sure you get the right size for your pet. The dog must be able to sit, stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably in the crate. Pay close attention that you don't get a crate that is TOO LARGE for the dog as well. This could cause the airline to reject the crate as the dog could become injured by bouncing around too much.

Once you have your crate you need to also get a water bottle , a crate pad , and a food bowl that can attach to the crate. If you have not already done so, get your pet used to being in the crate and drinking from the bottle well in advance.


PREPARING YOUR PET FOR TRAVEL

ONE MONTH BEFORE YOU TRAVEL

Have your animals microchiped. You can look at PetTravel.com to familiarize yourself with the entry requirements of each country you may be passing through. Get to know the entry requirements for each country on your itinerary. Also pay close attention to the breed of your dog because some breeds are banned in certain countries even for animals in transit.

Quarantine information: Again, you can look here for information on required quarantines. As of my entry in 2008, Egypt DOES NOT require any quarantine for pets arriving from the US or the EU with the proper paperwork. If you will be entering Egypt via a different country it may be up to the discretion of the Ministry of Agriculture in Cairo to determine if a quarantine is necessary.

THREE WEEKS BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
Visit your vet and ask him/her to photocopy all your pets records so you have them for the vet in your destination country. Also schedule an appointment to see your vet 10 DAYS before your flight. Inform your vet of you plans to travel and the countries you will pass through so they have time to gather the US Department of Agriculture APHIS International Health Certificate forms they will need when you come back for your appointment. Most vets have these forms on hand and many have experience with filling them out. Here are some useful links for the USDA and other useful links that you can begin to look over prior to your vet appointment:

USDA

USDA Pet Travel Info

International Animal Export Regulations by Country

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services Area Offices (by State)

Summary of Requirements for Egypt

Pet Immigration Rules for Egypt

International Health Certificate Requirements

Quarantine Requirements (General)

USDA Certification

Other Pet Travel Information

Airline Pet Policies (search by airline)

Airline forms for pet travel

Immigration forms for pet travel
(If you are passing through Europe you will need to get the EU998 form on your own as most vets in the US might not have it. It is available for purchase here or you can just google EU998 and the name of the country you are travelling to and you might find one you can print out for free.)

KLM Travelling with pets checklist and information

Northwest Airline Pet Travel Information

Microchip Information


PREPARING THE FORMS

10 DAYS BEFORE YOU TRAVEL

This part of the process cannot begin sooner than 10 days prior to your departure date. It recommended to begin exactly 10 days prior to departure. Visit your vet and have him/her fill out the APHIS form 7001 (United States Interstate and International Certificate of Health Examination for Small Animals), along with the EU998 if you plan to fly through Europe.

Take the completed forms and Express mail them along with a money order with the appropriate fee for EACH form to be stamped, and a self-addressed stamped envelope (again I would use Priority or Express Mail) to the USDA APHIS VS office for your home state. I will not post the fees here as they are subject to change or vary by State. (In some rare instances, the animal may need to be examined by a vet at the USDA APHIS VS regional office although I think it depends greatly on your destination country. It was not necessary for me to do this to take my dog to Egypt.)

Once you mail off your package, you should have it back within 5 to 7 days. As soon as you receive your package back make 4 photocopies of the stamped certified forms, along with your pet's rabies certificate, pertinent medical records and microchip certificate. Get 8 1/2 x 11 manila envelopes and place one set of photocopies in each one. Do not fold the forms.

- One envelope will be taped to the top of the crate.
- One envelope is for the gate agent at the airline.
- One envelope is for the receiving agent in your destination country.
- One extra copy is for you. Also, keep the originals with you in your carry-on luggage.


ONE THE DAY OF DEPARTURE
Make sure you have the forms, live animal stickers, airline checklists, animal feeding instructions, and "Arrow Up" stickers attached to the crate. Since feeding regulations may vary depending on airline, check with the airline about how soon before your flight you need to stop offering your dog food and water. Animals are required to be fed every 24 hours so if you have a long international flight, you might want to feed your pet at least 5 hours prior to departure time. Just make sure you write the time of last meal down on the feeding instructions.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT GIVE THE ANIMALS ANY SEDATIVES EITHER PRESCRIPTION OR OVER THE COUNTER. THEY CANNOT FLY IF THEY ARE SEDATED - THIS CAN BE DEADLY TO YOUR PET.

It is a good idea also to type up a small bio on your pet including his/her name, temperament etc. I did this with my dog and had it translated into Arabic and Dutch as well. I also put her picture on it. Attach this to the top of the crate as well, so it can be easily seen by those handling your dog.

Take a Ziploc bag filled with one serving of your dogs dry food and attach that to the crate on the ledge just above the door. This location is easily located by those who may be feeding your dog during a layover (you must provide your own food if you want your dog fed). Make sure food and water bowls, and water bottle are attached.

(Note: I will try to upload photos of this in the next few days and will update the post accordingly when photos are ready.)

Make sure your crate is lines with absorbent bedding - blankets, crate pads, towels, or shredded newspaper. The airline can reject your crate if they feel your dog is not comfortable or potty accidents might leak out.

Make sure you have your dog supplies packed in your carry-on. I packed a small bag of dry food as well because our flight was scheduled to arrive in Cairo at 2 am. In addition to this remember the leashes, food/water bowls, toys, etc. Also, carry some small Ziploc bags with you. These will come in handy for holding the nuts and bolts in case you have to take your crate apart to get it into a car and re-assemble it at the airport. You don't want to lose any of the hardware because the airline can reject the crate for missing screws.

When you arrive at the airport keep your pet on a leash while you go to check-in. Don't have your dog in the crate yet as TSA will need to do a swab inspection of the crate. It's also a good idea take your dog for a walk before going inside to check-in. Once TSA inspects your crate and the animal they will instruct you to put your dog in its crate. Remove the leash before doing so and put it in your carry on (you will need it when you reach your destination). Once your dog is in the crate you will no longer be allowed to have any contact with it. You cannot touch the crate or the dog. The gate agent will call someone to come and take the dog to a holding area and then they will finish checking you in for your flight. Remember, you can't have any contact with your pet during any layover either.

Once you are seated on the plane, the flight attendants should bring you a card shortly before take-off letting you know your dog is safely on board. This will happen for each connecting flight you have as well.


ARRIVING AT YOUR DESTINATION
EGYPT

(Note: I can only share my experience with the arrival in Egypt. I cannot guarantee that it will happen exactly this way for you, nor can I talk about arriving in any other country.)

Arriving in Egypt was easier than I expected. I thought the dog would be sent to the Veterinary Services Department of the Ministry of Agriculture (they have a special place in Cairo Airport for this), and that I would have a hard time locating her and getting out of the airport. Much to my surprise the crate was wheeled in on a cart and deposited to me by the baggage claim area before the rest of the luggage was even coming out on the belt. As I said: much to my surprise. Furthermore, I was holding my envelope of paperwork anxiously searching for the proper authority to hand it over to. No one seemed interested in taking it - or even looking at it. The customs agents at the airport exit were more concerned with what I had packed in the boxes than they were with the big dog in the crate. I breezed out of the airport, took her out of the crate, put on her leash, broke the crate down and had it in the trunk of the car all within a span of 10 minutes. I was quite impressed with the ease at which that process happened.

I can't say for sure you will have the same experience arriving in Cairo. But by all means, get all your proper paperwork in order. Even if Egypt doesn't want it, the airline does. And it's better to be safe than sorry.

I hope that you find this information helpful in your plans to move your dog overseas. Don't worry - it's not as complicated as it sounds. And in the end - your dog is worth it!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Egyptian Art Grocery Tote

Over sized tote bag perfect for trips to the grocery store. Help the environment and show your love for Egypt.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ancient Egyptian Art Mugs

American and Egyptian Happily Married T-Shirt

A Quick Look: Mural in Maadi

American and Egyptian Happily Married Mug

American Flag on one side - Egyptian flag on the other with words: Happily Married in the middle.

My Heart is in Egypt T-Shirt

My Heart is in Egypt Tote Bag

I Love an Egyptian

Egyptian Heart Magnet

Chloe Under the Stairs Mug

Sad Puppy Dog Eyes Mug

Get Your Own Ball Mug 2

Rottweiler Mug

Friends Are Mug

Get Your Own ball Mug

Stairs in Egypt Mug

Charcoal Flowers Mousepad

charcoal flowers mousepad
charcoal flowers by 1fleetingglimpse
Browse all other mousemats at zazzle

Achieve T-Shirt

Charcoal Flowers Mug

Flower Mug

Achieve Frosted Glass

Achieve Mug

Friends Are T-Shirt

Flower Card

Flower card
Flower by 1fleetingglimpse
Shop for another greeting card on zazzle

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Visiting Egypt: Wear Comfortable Shoes

I often get contacted by readers asking what to pack for a trip to Egypt. The main concern everyone seems to have is what to wear. But every now and then someone asks the all important question about footwear. Are open toe shoes OK? Is it OK to wear sandals, flip-flops, high heels, etc. The answer to all of those from a cultural standpoint is, of course, YES. They are all acceptable to wear in Cairo. However, from a practically standpoint - not so much. The streets of Cairo are not only covered in trash, sand, and dirt, but are also full of extremely hazardous obstacles. Take a look at these photos of a portion of sidewalk on Road 9 in Maadi:




Even during the day it is difficult to negotiate the barrage of obstacles you will run into when walking in Cairo. But at night it becomes next to impossible. The majority of streets are poorly lit making a seemingly simple task like walking slightly more difficult. I lost count of how many holes I fell into, curbs I tripped over, or puddles (of unknown origin) I inadvertently stepped into. Two simple things you can do to make life a little easier: carry a pocket sized flashlight and wear comfortable shoes.

Open toed shoes and sandals are OK - but be prepared to get back to your hotel with very dirty feet. Because of the amounts of trash and possibility of disease (from spitting and urination on the streets) it makes sense to skip the sandals and opt for something more practical such as a decent pair of athletic shoes or sturdy walking shoes - preferably in a flat heel.

Crossing the streets in traffic is even more difficult and often times you find yourself literally running and dodging between speeding, moving vehicles of various sizes. What you have on your feet can be the difference between life and death for the novice street crosser in Cairo. Egyptian women seem well adept at running through traffic in 3 inch heels, however, I don't feel adventurous enough to attempt it.

Some sidewalks in front of shops and buildings are tiled. It is not uncommon for these tiles to be hosed off or mopped several times a day. Sometimes you will see shop owners throwing buckets (or even cups) of water out the door onto the sidewalks. I guess the theory is that it keeps the dust down and prevents it from blowing into their shops. But in reality, the only thing it accomplishes to do is make the sidewalks very slippery. Don't bother to look for those yellow "CAUTION FLOOR IS SLIPPERY" signs. They don't exist.

If you are going to be doing any amount of walking in Egypt - and inevitably you will be - pay close attention to your selection of shoes when packing. Your feet will really thank you.

Friday, February 12, 2010

New Products

New Products in my Zazzle Store



make custom gifts at Zazzle

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Puppies in Maadi, Cairo

These puppies are 2 from a litter of 5. I don't have all the details of the story, but was told the mother died as a result of an experimental surgery by an unscrupulous vet. These puppies are doing fine and are bottle feeding nicely. They are extremely smart dogs and will make excellent pets. If you are interested in adopting one, please contact me through this blog or contact Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals.

Thank you.