Today we finally picked up Tina from LAX airport. Getting a pet from another country is not the same as picking up a pet at the baggage claim. It’s much more intense.
I would not advise bringing a small child with you. Johanna was a mess and didn’t get her nap. So that added to the mania of the situation. The only information we had was that Tina was coming on Aeroflot Russian Airlines. We were told we might have to go to the cargo area. We didn’t know where that was. Our phones couldn’t find it on the map, and when we called the airport we kept getting disconnected. When we got to the airport at terminal B for international flights I asked the front desk where we might have to go. She had no idea. She asked her manager, and he said we had to go to the cargo area. The cargo area at LAX is in a total different area. I finally tracked the location down on our phone. We had to leave the airport and go to another location on the opposite side of the tarmac. We finally arrived at the cargo area, and they said we had to wait till she was unloaded to their location. We were still on time, but had to wait another hour. Then we had to pay $60 for a handling fee.
After waiting that hour we got the paperwork that we had to take to customs. We couldn’t take the dog till we went to customs and filled out more paper work. Customs is in a total different location. It’s about 5 minutes away. We drove there and had to take a number to be seen. Unfortunately since it was Friday, all the workers that work for customs and cargo area are having to fill out overtime slips for the week. Each person has to take a number, and it took about 10 minutes for each person to get through. So they have to wait and get overtime, just to get approved to get overtime. Tax dollars at work.
Finally after another hour we filled out paperwork that we then had to take back to the cargo area. Once again we had to sign more papers. Then we had to wait for someone to actually let us pick up the dog.
That is the process in a nutshell. Tina spent around 34 hours in a a crate. She had to defecate in the crate as well, and of course the food she starts out with is no longer there.
I tell this story, as I looked online to see what to expect. No one really talked about it. So I am just wanting to inform people about what I had to go through so that maybe you will know what to expect. In the end it all turns out well, it just takes a lot of effort, a lot of patience, and a big bath afterwards.