Taking a pet from Costa Rica

It figures, just when we thought we’d started to have everything figured out, we hit another snag. (There’s always another snag.) This time, it’s with Asia, our cat.

Our problem is not with Canada — all they need is a valid rabies vaccination, which we have. Our problem is not our airline (Continental) — we already have a reservation that allows us to take our cat. Our problem is with Costa Rica.

I’m so not surprised.

It hit us about a week or so ago that merely leaving the country with Asia wasn’t just a matter of having the airline say a pet was okay. There was the matter if we had documentation saying that she was okay. Wendy, our super-awesome travel agent, managed to find out that Continental needed a letter from a vet saying that Asia was fit to fly. No biggie.

So Alex trucked over to the veterinarian (conveniently located at the front of our condo complex) to get that sorted out. That’s when the complications came in. It wasn’t just as simple as a letter from the vet. Oh, no, that would be too easy. How quickly we forgot how much Costa Rica loves its bureaucracy!(Keep in mind that it took us over a year to get our temporary residency.)

No, to leave Costa Rica means that we need to have an export permit to take Asia. Export. Like she’s a Costa Rican product or something. This isn’t quite as bad as the fact that we also had to get a similar legal document so we could leave with our two year-old daughter! (That one has me at a level of disbelief that I can’t even fathom.)

[Insert rising panic here.]

This is not something you want to discover with a mere 11 days (now 10) remaining until you leave. Down here, things never happen quickly, and the word "urgent" (as spoken by a North American) never translates well.

Alex got the vet started on getting us a certificate, which could take — and I’m not joking — a week. This could get uuuuugly. We don’t have the luxury of delaying even a single day going home. We have too many things lined up to start the morning after we arrive, and the balls are already well in motion. I’m not saying we’re going to abandon Asia here (we’re not, just to make that abundantly clear), but it’s not going to make me in any way happy if things don’t go according to plan.

We even went through calling 10 different hotels before we could find one that would allow pets of any kind. That’s enough of an annoying snag. This current one is borderline catastrophic. (CATastrophic. Cat. Get it? Ha!)

I hate moving.

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