Sunday, July 17, 2011

Montepulciano, Italy

I have started doing a little research on our trip to Italy. My language school is in Montepulciao, Italy (where they will allow me to bring Seymour to class) and I wanted to find out a little more about the city since we will be there for 4 weeks. Here are some interesting facts I've found:

Twilight Saga: New Moon used Montepulciano as the City of Volterra,the city where the Volturi live. I'm a Twilight fan so I can't wait see where they filmed!

Montepulciano is a major producer of food and drink. Montepulciano is known world-wide for its fabulous wine. Wine connoisseurs consider its Vino Nobile among Italy's best. I am glad that I won't have a car. I just have to be careful not to drop the wine - or Seymour!

Montepulciano is also known for its pork, cheese, "pici" pasta (a thick, rough, chewy variant on spaghetti), lentils, and honey. So much for thinking I'll lose weight because we will be walking most places! Seymour is a big cheese fan so he may end up gaining a bit of weight, himself. He will have to be careful, though, because some of the hotels limit pets by weight - under 10 pounds, usually. He's at 7 pounds 4 ounces right now!

The trip is feeling more real. I think I need to start doing a little more planning. We do have 3 months there and I don't want to miss anything important!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Seymour's on a Pre-Travel Schedule - UPDATED

We are actually cutting it close now with getting Seymour ready for our trip. We are leaving in about 7 weeks. He got his new microchip last Friday. Today he had to get another Rabies vaccination - even though his last one hasn't expired yet. One of these days, I hope countries will all agree that Rabies vaccines should only be given once every 3 years - at the most. I just read that most vaccine companies say that the vaccine actually lasts seven years. I believe that the less drugs in the system, the better.

We already scheduled his next visit which has to occur in 30 days. That is when he gets his blood test to show that his "rabies neutralizing antibody titre is greater than 0.5 IU/ ml". (We don't have to understand it, we just have to do it)

Then it takes about 2 weeks after the blood test to get the results.

We will then have to go back to the vet to get the Health Certificate signed. The airline health certificate must be signed within 10 days of travel.

One thing I want to mention again is that the dates on all of the pet health forms must be written in the European style of DD-MM-YYYY. The best way to do it would be to write "12 July 2011" to make it clear. I had to rip up 3 forms because I kept forgetting to write the date that way!

Lastly, I will take EU form 998, which will be signed by our Vet, IN BLUE INK (yep, has to be blue), to the USDA, with a check for $36.00, so that they can certify that our vet is an accredited veterinarian! I just left a message with the local USDA office to be sure I can just make an appointment to take in the form and have it certified instead of having to mail it. I don't want that form to leave my hands if possible.
UPDATE: I heard back from the USDA and I don't need an appointment to go there because I can only drop off the form with a stamped self-addressed envelope and they say the turn-around time will be 24 to 48 hours. I feel my heart racing already. We can't cut it much closer to our departure date - and mail delivery to my house is always late. We'll see!!!

And here I am, getting on a plane not needing any certification that I am healthy (mentally or physically) or have current immunizations. Interesting -

But, we are doing everything they tell us to do to get Seymour to Italy.

Friday, July 8, 2011

European Microchip and Health Record

Today Seymour got his microchip for Italy put in. He's now a two chip dog! The opening on the needle is a bit bigger than for a regular immunization but the vet and his assistant did a great job of keeping Seymour's attention while they did it and he didn't even flinch - of course I did!

What I learned about the European microchip is that it is probably cheaper to get it from the vet, even if they have to order it, than it is to order it from one of the pet travel companies. I had thought about ordering it for $49.95 (plus shipping) but decided to just get it through the vet. It ended up costing me about $36.00, including the vet visit. So, I would recommend checking on which is less expensive.

I had also ordered the Pet Passport, which was supposed to include some passport carrier as well as the forms that were supposed to be emailed and sent to me. I only received the email and even after writing to them to tell them I did not receive the mailing, I got no response. I could have downloaded all of those forms - for free. They did email me the info on what needs to be done for Italy, but again I could have found that myself. Another lesson learned.

While reviewing the AirFrance website, it did not say that we need to have a Pet Health Certificate for the plane, although other airlines require it. While I was at the vets, they told me about a woman who didn't have a Pet Health Certificate when she went to the airport (probably because she read the same info I read) and she found out that she did need it, and they couldn't board the plane. I recommend that everyone get a Pet Health Certificate completed and have it with them, along with the other necessary paperwork. In this case, more is better.

It is still my fear that I won't have all of Seymour's paperwork together and we won't be able to get on the plane. I'm sure I'll worry about that until I'm actually sitting on the plane - or maybe until I go through customs in Rome!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Italian Lesson - Number One

I had my first lesson on "Italian for Travelers" tonight. I'm taking this 7 session course to prepare me for my 4 week language course in Italy. Oh boy, is it difficult for me! I think I'm the worst in the class. When we repeat phrases all together, I am OK but when she asks us individually to say something, I cannot pronounce a thing! Luckily I have until next Monday to practice so maybe I'll get to next to the bottom of the class. I'm so glad I'm doing this. I feel more comfortable feeling stupid in the USA than in Italy. Unfortunately I will still need to figure out on my own how to say things like:
"Can I bring my dog?"
"Do you have a room that allows dogs?"
"Can the dog ride on the bus . . . train. . .?"
"Where can I walk my dog?"
"Where can I buy dogfood?"
"Do I need to clean that up?"

I have seen none of those phrases in the course book. So much to learn!

Health Records Forms Sent to Vet

I called my vet and told them I had the information and forms needed for Seymour to travel to Italy. They said they had the 13 digit microchip so I didn't have to purchase it and bring it in. I emailed them the forms. We probably have another couple of weeks before he needs to go in for his microchip and then he will need to go back for any immunizations he will need. About 2 weeks before we leave we will need to go back to get his health record filled out so I can take it to be signed.