Traveling With Pets: Are You Sure?

I love animals. So much so that I never eat them. Okay, well, except fish. I make an exception for fish sometimes. Sadly, we don’t have any pets. Never had. There is a three-part reason why: Part one, we travel a lot. Part two, a convenient allergy to fur by the only male in our home. Part three, let’s face it, four kids is plenty for me to take care of and I know (despite how many times they try to convince me otherwise) that I would be the only person caring for said pet.

We did fishsit a fourth grade class pet over Christmas break last year. He lasted one day in our estrogen-rich environment and was discretely replaced by a much younger, energetic Pebbles less than 12 hours before the return to school in the New Year.

But, I digress.

I have had clients who insist on traveling with their pets. The most memorable was the client who wanted to bring two Alaskan Malamutes to Costa Rica. I thought I knew what an Alaskan Malamute was, but her request surprised me. I googled. As the image appeared on my screen, all I could say was, “Are you kidding me?”

They were 180 pounds.


Turns out the owner was holding out on me. They were GIANT Alaskan Malamutes. This request required the following steps:

  1. Clients’ dogs must visit their current veterinarian and pass a very specific-to-Costa-Rica exam. Check.
  2. Clients must fly on a private jet to transport dogs to Costa Rica. Check.
  3. Clients must meet with a certified Costa Rican veterinarian upon arrival. Check.
  4. Costa Rican veterinarian must meet them in a designated location of the airfield before going through customs. Check.
  5. Clients’ dogs must be transported in crates from the second they depart the plane, during the exam, and until they have passed through customs, immigrations, baggage claim and exited the airport. Check.
  6. Finding a transfer service to take them to their destination. Check.
  7. Finding a high-end rental home that would allow the pets. Check.
  8. Reversing the process upon their return. Check.

Considering all the effort, you can imagine our surprise when they showed up with a purse-sized dog too.


Unbeknownst to us, Britney Spears also happened to be arriving at the same airport that day. By comparison, she got through unnoticed. So, when people ask me if they can bring their pets on vacation, I discourage it. Strongly. Unless of course they have unlimited funds and time to jump through a lot of hoops.

If I had a pet (a dog, of course) I would take her (most likely a girl since John may be the only male who can survive our all-girl household) camping all the time. Maybe she would even help watch after the wandering kids. Hmmm. If someone has a dog that fits this description, can I please borrow her for our next outing? Unless her name is Pebbles. Thanks!

Travel with pets

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