Well, isn’t this a loaded question if ya ever asked one! Tons of people move or retire to Maui every year, but we most certainly cannot forget our furry family. Right?! I, myself, was blessed with the tumultuous experience of bringing my little loved one all the way from Washington, DC a few years back. Here’s a quick article about my experience, some advice, and where to go for the real answers!
My Experience: When I learned I was moving to Maui for my job as a contractor with the federal government (many years back before becoming the awesome realtor I am today 🙂 I very quickly realized getting Cooper the Pooper (pictured) out to Maui was not going to be as easy as throwing him on a plane with me. Hawaii is blessed in many ways, but one of the biggest reasons I love living here is that there are no snakes! Or Rabies! And yah…they really pay attention to that…thank goodness.
Part of that process with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture is to not only ensure people’s safety on the island, but to ensure the safety of the ecosystem here which is fragile and well…we like to keep Maui, Maui! Therefore, all fluffy ones must go through the screening process.
Because I had to be here in a jiffy (yes, I just said that) Cooper had to stay with my parents back on the east coast until we could get his paperwork finalized. By paperwork, I do mean an official blood test with a lab in Georgia, recordation and tracking down of all of his vaccines from birth, and sending in applications with the state of Hawaii. After three long months on the mainland, Cooper was ready for flight. It was the WORST two days of my life.
Cooper’s Journey: This was many years back so it may be different now, however, it doesn’t seem that the Airlines and the Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture are really on the same page when it comes to importing animals. For instance, I found it very difficult to “schedule cargo” (my dog) 30 days in advance when sending in my paperwork. The application that goes to the State has to have a very specific date and flight time so they know when your animal arrives to island. All of this paperwork must be to the State no longer than 30 days prior to arrival. The problem is…you can’t schedule cargo more than 30 days out. So I just had to call and get scheduled dates and times of flights and pray that he could get on that plane. In addition, 24 hours prior to leaving on the flight, Cooper had to be signed off by a Vet on the mainland. That’s all fine and good except Cooper’s vet on the mainland is about 4 hours from the airport. Talk about a stressful 24 hours….oh, did I mention the traffic in DC. AND his flight was at 7am. Next time (which there won’t be) I’ll know to schedule a little better.
Off he went! Dad sent Cooper off in the plane (in a crate) for the long 5.5 hour flight to Seattle, Washington. I special paid for a veterinarian to pick up Cooper at the airport and take him home, rest, feed, play with him. This was the worst part. I had no idea who the vet was, he never responded to calls, I had no idea if Cooper as picked up or not or just left on the runway. If you love your dog as much as I love mine, you can imagine….my nerves were shot! I got an email the following day that Cooper had been placed safely on the plane and was headed to Maui. I could NOT wait. I was at the Cargo holding center two hours ahead of time…you know, just in case.
Arrival: He finally arrived. I saw the plane. I saw it land. I saw the cargo. I saw him….sitting on the tarmac for longer than any puppy should in this heat! Hello! Maui is HOT!
When you arrive to pick up your pup from cargo in Maui, you also have to have a vet show up as well and you meet in a tiny side room where they examine your dog. The vet I had called (and didn’t really know) was from the Wailuku Pet Clinic and he did a great job. When he noticed I was starting to freak about Cooper sitting on the Tarmac he quickly dialed someone and said in a pretty ominous voice “you get that dog off the Tarmac NOW” and not even 2 minutes later did an airport employee run out and bring Cooper right on over to me.
I’ll be totally honest, he was filthy dirty from all his muck and I’m pretty sure he puked a few times. He does that when he gets nervous (poor guy). But dear god I was so happy to see that little man! I think maybe it was one of the happiest moments of my life. I have never forgotten the whimpers, hugs, licks and tail waggles from that day.
All in all it wasn’t a TERRIBLE experience so to speak. It was long and arduous for sure, but definitely worth it and I totally understand why from the state’s perspective. Just look at how happy he is! I give a lot of credit to the Department of Agriculture for coming up with plans to allow outer islands to be a little more pet friendly and in a timely manner.
For all the details and more information, please visit the State’s website on how to get your pup to Maui.