When we decided to make the move to the Big Island of Hawaii, we, of course, had to bring the rest of ourfamily with us. For us, the rest of the family consisted of our thirteen (13) year old, blind pomeranian, T.C. (short for Too Cute). That’s him in the hard case that he flew from San Francisco, California to Honolulu, Hawaii in.
Because T.C. was elderly, I wanted to do everything that I could to minimize the stress of his flight to Hawaii. I checked the Department of Agriculture’s web site and found that there is a program by which your animals can receive direct release from the Honolulu airport. You have to plan far in advance (3-4 months) in order to qualify for the program, but it can be achieved if you have a good eye for detail.
What I found to be the most difficult to deal with in this scenario was the fact that I would not know if T.C. would qualify for direct release at the airport until we actually got there. I jumped through all of the hoops that the Dept. of Agriculture asked for, but it was no guarantee that he would actually be released instead of having to be quarantined. They made the decision once he arrived at the Animal Quarantine Station at the Honolulu Airport.
When our plane landed in Honolulu, our first mission was to find the Animal Quarantine Station, which none of the airport personnel seemed to know how to find. We finally came across a security guard that pointed us in the right direction. It didn’t even show on any of the airport maps! We were so relieved to find that the staff at the station had T.C. out of his cage and were playing with him. He was approved for direct release in less than ten minutes.
On our flight from Honolulu to the Big Island, T.C. got to stay in the cabin with us, in a soft sided carrier which fit under the seat in front of us. In other words, he got to be carry-on luggage! They didn’t allow this from San Francisco to Honolulu. For that flight, because he had not gone through Animal Quarantine, T.C. had to fly in the baggage compartment in a special section for pets. It broke my heart!
To make a very long day short—T.C. made it to Hawaii and adjusted very well to his new home. He seemed to really enjoy strolling around on the lava….he would just go, and go. I’m sad to report that T.C. passed away in June of 2006 at the ripe old age of 14.
I am still very glad that we brought him with us and that T.C. was able to live out his golden years in Hawaii with us.
T.C. on the driveway of his new house with an old Ohia tree in the background.
T.’s first Christmas in Hawaii, December 2004.