101 tips on Your Okinawa PCS with Pets!
CONTRIBUTED BY KANDY
Okay, maybe not one hundred and one tips, but enough to get your beloved furry friend overseas.
The information is compiled from the Erin Blunt’s Experience PCSing with our dog in detail which can be read in full detail on OkinawaHaiSociety.
LONG BEFORE YOU LEAVE:
- Get your microchip/2 rabies/FAVN things done ASAP!!!!! Seriously, have it done it even if Oki is only a possibility as your next station.
- Have ALL rabies/certification, MDJ form 270, orders, IDs, etc available and in nice order to speed up the inspection and for the kennel. Inspection is NOT a big deal at all if you have the right paperwork. Getting all the paperwork ahead of time and preparing for the worst is the hardest part of PCSing with you pet.
- All of the above documents must be attached to the outside of the airline kennel in a clear bag. Label the bag: “Export/Import Pet Documents.”
- Get a quote beforehand of how much the animal’s ticket will be from your departure city to arrival and KEEP THE RECEIPT for Tokyo reentry. Don’t think that confirming your animal on the flights means that they will have the animal in your reservation. The ticketers have to call and confirm themselves.
- MAKE AT LEAST 3 COPIES OF ALL YOUR RECORDS!-Some docs may be taken from your records.
JUST BEFORE YOU LEAVE:
- Make sure to have a water bottle on you so you can fill your animals bowl when you pick them up. If you get a water bottle and freeze it before your trip-don’t fill it all the way so it doesn’t explode. (Water expands as it freezes.)
- Give your pet a benedryl right before entering your departure airport and when you pick him up at your transfer. *But make sure to ask a vet and test the benedryl before you leave to make sure it doesn’t cause excitability.
- You should receive a confirmation card to tell you that the dog was on the flights.
- Put puppy pads to coat the bottom of the crate. The odor, while embarrassing, is unavoidable and understandable.
ARRIVING in TOKYO:
- “Sumimasen” is one of the most important words starting when you arrive in Tokyo. I can’t count how many times I said “excuse me” and realized no one could understand me!
- First thing you do when you arrive in Tokyo is go through customs with your passport and ID. (Don’t forget to fill out the back of the white customs sheet they give you on the flight.) Next you go down to baggage. When we picked up the dog in Tokyo, they brought the crate right out to baggage claim. (You also have to pick up all your luggage-carts are free, use them!) Tokyo quarantine inspection took us 10 minutes at the most. There was no line when we arrived. The inspection desk is to the far right of all the baggage claims as you approach them from the escalators. They’ll give you a yellow slip that is for customs check-keep it on you. Next, you bring your luggage and animal to domestic connections and actually pass by the first check in and go straight to another (Its right past the “Juicer Bar”that’ll be on your left, check-in will be on the right.) Here you need the yellow slip, receipt for your animals travel from your departure airport, ID, etc. They will re-check your luggage, put your animal crate in a net and take everything. Next you go back through security, which is a breeze. The Oki gate is not very far past the security check. The flight from Tokyo to Okinawa was the only flight that did not give a confirmation card for the dog.
ARRIVING IN OKINAWA:
- Once at Naha, your netted crate will be brought out to the middle roped off area. They will un-net your crate and then you take the crate and all your luggage (on free carts if you wish), show your baggage claim stickers and get out of there! Your sponsor should be right past the doors if you have one. If you need to take your dog to use the bathroom, there are patches of grass to the far left as you exit the airport (just past the police booth). If you do not already have a place for your animal to stay upon your arrival, you might need to have your sponsor take you to Karing Kennels, where they will stay until you secure a home on base or other place for them to stay. They require the MDJ form 270, shot records, most recent bordatella vacc proof, FOOD, veterinarian’s certficate (within 10 days of ARRIVAL *not departure*) etc.
- You will need to bring your animal to the vet office within 72 hours of arrival to confirm everything so as to not get fined.
AT THE VET:
- You bring your animal in, sign them in, give the vet the animal’s records (make sure to have a copy of EVERYTHING with you-cert, FAVN results, MDJ, etc). You sit in the waiting area through the whole thing and once they’re done with the records they weigh the pet, and scan the microchip. They give you the run down on the quarantine and all things you need to protect your furry one from and then you’re off to return your pet to their “quarantine location”. *I hear there is only ONE vet office, so don’t expect to be seen immediately.
Another Perspective: Contributed by Heather Hansen:
I’m going to post this here because it goes with the whole dog/ living out in town thing. I just want to point out the realities and expense of bringing animals. Of course I’m all for bringing them, if that’s what you choose to do. I just think the information isn’t out there for people to get the whole picture.
When you bring over an animal there are expenses with that… fees, airline tickets, shots… Then there is the boarding care.
After that, if you need to get a house in town, things don’t work the same here as they do in America. Here most places require first and last month’s rent, plus the deposit, plus you pay a fee to the company who got you your apartment. It is very expensive.
Keep in mind that you’re also going to be spending a lot of money when you move here. You will need cars, for instance. Cars can run you between 1K and 5K, but the deals are when you buy from military members who are PCSing out. So you ultimately would like cash for this. With the car, you also have to buy American insurance. This is cash or check only. No credit cards.
You will also be replacing your entire stock of food items… all your staples, etc. And cleaners and whatever else you couldn’t PCS.
If you have a dog that is an outside dog, be aware that they will also have a different kind of life here. You can buy and rent fences, but they are not the norm. Some rentals do have fenced in yards, however.
Plus, it gets way too hot to leave your dog outside all the time. If your dog is used to the freedom of the back yard this may be a problem.
Like I said, bring your dog if you want to. I’m all for it. I just want you to be aware of the bigger picture.
I know how hard it is to consider the alternative. We gave away our two dogs, who were like children to us. I’m still upset and sad about it. But I knew in the end, it was the only way for them to have the lifestyle they were used to and for us not to incur major debt with this move.
It’s easy to say, “Get a house out in town.” But very few people have the cash in pocket to make that a reality.
If you are PCSing between 15 May and 15 Sept., be aware of heat restrictions. The flight may be unable to fly your pet due to temperatures at the transfer point exceeding 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Thank you Erin and Heather for the informative contributions!
Documents for Download:
If there is anything else that you lovely animal lovers think should be added to this post or if there are any more questions, please share.