Saturday, June 11, 2011

Flying is for the Birds

My name is Cayenne, and I am an African Grey parrot.

I have lived with my mother since I was only four months old. I was 15 years old in April.

My mother joined the Foreign Service when I was 8, and since then, I have had to get used to this travelling thing. Mostly I have had to get used to my mother's fretting about the travelling thing.

When we went to Jerusalem, no one told my mom that I needed something called a CITES certificate. The officials at the airports in Tel Aviv didn't seem to know that either. They never asked for one. Of course, they also didn't ask for the USDA form that is also required. So maybe they just don't know.

Anyway, this CITES certificate is something about importing and exporting exotic species. I'm not sure why this applies to me, since I was born in Mississippi. I guess Mississippi is sort of exotic....

Anyway, mom didn't know this was a problem until we were coming back from Jerusalem. That is when someone told her that she was not allowed to import me from Israel because they had bird flu.

She told them she wasn't importing me, that like her, I am a native Southerner. And that the bird flu was only in Gaza, and that I was never allowed to leave our apartment in Jerusalem.

They didn't seem to care. They said she had to get a CITES permit or I would be put down when we got to the States.

Not sure why that is a big holds me and then puts me down every day. But she seemed really upset. I got a lot of hugs during that period.

Anyway, it all worked out. They accepted my hatch certificate from Mississippi and she got the permit. I did have to stay at this fancy hotel in New York for 30 days, but mom was more upset about that than I was. This nice lady talked to me every day and gave me some medicine she said was just in case I brought anything nasty back with me. She even let me have some of my toys and my own food with me.

The point of all of this is that this time, mom is making sure she gets that CITES permit so I can both go overseas with her and come home again at the end of the tour. Because you know, we Greys live 25 to 50 years on average, so I am still pretty young. I bet I'll get to see mom retire.

So if you are travelling with your bird, you should check and see if they need that permit too. Just in case. You can find the info about it here and here.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pet Air Travel Tips: More Safety - Less Stress

Sorry I haven't written you in a while...I have been adjusting to my new brother. And now I am adjusting to the idea that we are moving soon.

So in the spirit of moving, my mom got this email from PetLink the other day and I thought I would steal it and share it with you.

Dear DiploDoggie's mom,
Taking flight with DiploDoggie? Make it safe and relaxing for both of you with a few tips from your friends at PetLink.

Many thousands of animals travel safely aboard aircraft every year. How do they travel? You may transport your pet as accompanied baggage, if you are a passenger on the same flight as your pet. On flights of less than 6 hours most airlines will allow pets to be taken with the passenger in the cabin (except when flying to the UK). The container for the pet must fit under the seat in front of you and must have a waterproof bottom. The other way that pets can travel by plane is in the pressurized cargo hold (if they cannot be accompanied or if they are too large to fly in the cabin). Whether the pet is flying as checked baggage or as cargo they will arrive in the same special area of the cargo department, which is pressurized and temperature controlled. Airline personnel make every effort to handle pets with the care they deserve.

If you are thinking of flying with your pet, how should you prepare?


•Visit and update your contact information, including adding temporary contact information where you can be reached during your vacation.

•Animals traveling internationally need to have a 15 digit microchip that should appear on all Veterinary and Vaccination Certificates. This microchip will also be read at security.

•Purchase an IATA compliant pet carrier crate in which your pet can comfortably stand, lie down and turn around. Remember to cover the bottom of the pet carrier with a cozy towel or other absorbent material and give your pet at least one month to become familiar with the carrier.

•During the winter months, the airlines may require documentation called an 'acclimation certificate' stating that your pet is acclimated to temperatures lower than 45 degrees.

•Check your pet's collar tag to make sure it won't become caught in the carrier doors. Get a durable collar tag that shows your pet's microchip number and the PetLink toll-free number. As a precaution, also attach a separate collar tag with destination address & contact information.

•Clearly identify your pet on the outside of the crate including his or her photo, name, and contact information for your pet's destination point. Carry a photo of your pet.


•Within 10 days of your trip, obtain a health certificate from your vet, including an update of vaccinations. •Bring your pet's medical records.

•Bring your first aid kit.

•Bring DiploDoggie's medications - especially anti-diarrheal and motion sickness meds.

•Take prescriptions with you.

•Take along fresh water - freeze it the night before.

•Choose direct flights where possible to minimize exposure to extreme temperatures or stress of sitting in the cargo hold.

•For longer flights or layovers, attach a small pouch of dry food to the outside of the carrier.

•Keep in mind that each airline has its own guidelines: let airline personnel know that you're traveling with a pet.

•Always remain on the same flight as your pet.

Remember, the number one stress-relieving tip is to prepare well enough in advance of your trip - beginning with a visit to your vet and another one on to learn more about pet travel! Relax! Thousands of furry travelers fly safely every year.

Most importantly... have fun!

Sincerely,Your PetLink Team

PS The ASPCA does not recommend flying your pet in the cargo hold. If it is unavoidable, the above tips can help ensure your pet's safety and well-being.