…so, the dog is being wheeled across the tarmac to a waiting plane… and you just have to get on yourself.
At Gatwick the entrance “funnel” of temporary barriers is occupied by zealots kitted out like charity workers on a funday. Rattling their buckets to get you to get rid of your cigarette lighters; issuing plastic bags for you to put your toothpaste and other dangerous items. The advice here is just to accelerate through – don’t look at anyone and basically act as if you are late.
The X ray scan however was my downfall. Expecting to be stuck in Borispol airport I took a tin of dog food and a water bottle as the dog would have been without food or water for a while.
My bag got a tug to one side and the theatrical way in which the tin and bottle were identified made me think of the exaggerated actions of a pantomime dame. “What are these!!” the security officer screeched “Don’t you know that… blah blah blah”
I calmly explained I had a dog on the plane – produced the receipt and the dogs passport. She waddled off to speak to her boss – she was used to separating old ladies from their juice and businessmen from their starbucks but this was a new problem.
She returns with her Boss (cue nasal whine) “I’m very sorry sir, but the regulations clearly state that….blah blah blah”
Deep breath. “I know that… but I have a dog on the plane – I just want to feed it and give it some water when I get to Kiev.”
“You can’t feed the dog if it’s in the hold can you? So, you can’t take these on the plane” said Mr Whine.
I breathed deeply again. “But you can see the tin is sealed and the water is just that” I took a large gulp.
“Sorry sir, but I have to confiscate these items as they constitute…blah… blah”
“Excuse me,” I said “Do you hear that sound?”
“Its the sound of my uncle – a rear gunner on a Lancaster bomber – spinning in his grave”
I drank the rest of the bottle of water and handed over the tin of dog food.
I also swore.
I did not get arrested for that which, in hindsight, I should be grateful. How British a response is that? How reasonable.
Arrival at Kiev went without a hitch… my “contact” had “undertaken negotiations” with both Customs and the animal import section in advance and after a check of documentation I wheeled the crate and my luggage through. Anyone else in this position though, should be prepared for a 30 day quarantine period or having to “undertake negotiations” on the spot.
Now, a week later, Asha has settled into her new home, has got used to having her feet showered avery time we have come in from a walk and found her own space next to the radiator.
We get some odd looks on the street – Ukrainians have been told that Staffies are “killer dogs” and it is amusing seeing hulking guys scuttle to the other side of the road. Others though, walk up and pat her on the head. True to the breed she licks and jumps over 80 year old babushkas who offer her a biscuit.
Was it worth it? ….Da.