Thursday, March 31, 2022

Well Let's Catch Up Then

 So here we are, sitting a third of the way into 2022, another year in which I have left the blog sitting mostly quiet, un-inked. My posting has always been sporadic, linked to how much time and energy I have at any given point in my life. Since my blogging is a non-commercial venture, I have to feel a fair amount of 'need' in order to pick up the proverbial pen and start writing. It takes time away from doing normal things like paying the bills, spending time with my dogs, spending time in the mountains.

My blogs have been about the Japanese breeds: owning them, living with them, their history, their present. In 2020 I started to feel that there were deep questions about the Nihon Ken and their preservation that were scratching at the back of my brain, but I had to backburner these nagging thoughts in order to stay afloat through a global pandemic (I imagine just about everyone has had to fight some sort of personal battle to get through the past 2 years). These questions were core questions that shake the very ideas of preservation, purebred breeds, closed stud books, dog shows, and dog ownership. Without taking the time to address these questions, I was not in a place to keep writing.

A lot has happened for me and the dogs in these past few silent years. I still post visual snippets on my Instagram accounts, which tends to keep everyone somewhat in the loop I imagine, albeit with less commentary. The biggest two events of 2020/2021 would be the January 2020 purchase of my farmhouse, and the October 2021 passing of The Baron.

The first event was the culmination of over a decade of searching for the perfect property, the one that would tick all my boxes (and fit within my budget!). This property is not perfect, I remember telling my brother after our first visit, but I realized that I could keep searching for another decade for the perfect one, or I could get started with building a dream space for myself and the dogs now. We had waited long enough for more space! We've done a lot of work already, the house is almost completely renovated, kennel has been built, the orchard above the house fenced off for the dogs. As with everything in my life, dog needs take priority, and so everything having to do with them was done first. We're playing catch up on the personal bits of the property. Luckily I have taken a lot of pictures of all the different projects we have undertaken here, so I have plenty of house porn to feed the blog.

The second event was the passing of boar dog and friend extraordinaire, Baron, after a fast bout of acute kidney/liver failure. Cause of death was most likely Leptospirosis since there are outbreaks of it in this area on occasion. Unfortunately Baron nearly died as a puppy due to an allergic reaction to a Lepto vaccination, so he was not vaccinated against it since (and possibly had a predisposed sensitivity to it). We were unable to get a clear diagnosis due to the speed with which everything happened, and the need to start treatment, but it was either that or poisoning of some sort. Everyone who has ever visited with us remembers Baron, and that in itself was a very deep and touching realization I came to during his passing. To see how much he was remembered by friends and strangers all over the world (though to Baron there were no strangers). Everyone was his friend, and guard dog he was not. Baron will have his own post on the blog commemorating the life of a great boar dog. It's just taken almost 6 months to feel I can write about him without losing oxygen.

All things considered, we're doing well. Here we are at the end of March, and I've decided it's time to start writing again.


Thursday, March 17, 2022

What's Going on With Canine Travel to Australia From Japan?

 So it's at least once a week that I have to answer this question in all its varieties: Can you help me figure out how to get a dog from Japan to Australia?

Short answer: If you are a pet owner that is having issues figuring out how to get your dog to Australia, yes. If you are a breeder or someone looking to purchase a dog from Japan and have it shipped to you, no.

The reasons for this require some explanation, and I've wasted a lot of time going over this with so many people. So I am posting this here so I can link it to future requests.

Firstly, Australia requires all canines entering the country to arrive as manifest cargo. That means they can't travel with someone as check in baggage (or in the cabin).

Secondly, Australia has very specific rules about where and how the dogs arrive in the country due to the need to transport them directly to the Mickleham quarantine facility.

Due to COVID, most flights from Japan to Australia were cancelled. There is a JAL flight that I can book pets on, but I've been requested to only use it in case of emergency (ie pets needing to be reunited with their owners etc). A new purchase/import of a dog is not an emergency. The reason for this is that there is limited space on this one flight. Cargo (like medical supplies etc) takes priority over pets, so if there is not enough space, pets get bumped. The JAL flight from Narita is a morning flight (11:40), which does not leave enough time to do the Animal Quarantine Services export inspection, customs inspection, and cargo check in. A dog being shipped on this flight would need all necessary inspections and paperwork done the day before (AQS is only open from 8:30-17:00), and once all is done the animal cannot leave the cargo area of the airport. There is no overnight pet care at Narita International Airport's cargo terminal, so essentially the dog has to overnight with no walks etc from around 17:00-11:40 (18+hours) and then handle the flight which is another 10+hours. The dog then has to clear entry into Australia at Melbourne, be transported to the quarantine facility, and finally be released from its crate. So at the minimum, we're talking about 29+hours crated, and most likely more like 35-40hours crated. That's going to be massively stressful for any dog.

Logistically, the best way to plan a flight to Australia from Japan would be to ship a dog on an afternoon or evening flight. Unfortunately that flight does not currently exist (thank you COVID).

So now the Australian border is open so all is good right? Not really. Qantas is resuming flights to/from Japan, but operated by their budget carrier which cannot handle pets. So this doesn't really change anything.

How about connecting flights using other airlines and through other countries? Essentially we're looking at the same issues as the JAL flight: massive amounts of crate time and stress. I would generally not be comfortable putting one of my dogs through this, so unless absolutely necessary, I have not been and am not accepting requests to arrange pet transport to Australia.