Rabies free for a reason

The odyssey of figuring out the timeline, ticket purchasing compatible with what multiple sources of information tell us of doing to bring our family pet in Hawaii.

2 years ago

Latest Post 30 years and counting by Victoria Esposito public

We commented before about our little dog dressed as a cat. Scarlet going to Molokai. Today, I took her to the veterinarian for a rabies shot, second round, because without a minimum of two in a break period of 30 days each they don't let you enter the state of Hawaii. It's a mandatory step if we don't want her to spend forever in quarantine in Honolulu and us be wallet raped by the Animal Industry Division (AID).

After so much guessing game today we figured all pieces of the puzzle and finally, I have a date of departure to join my lovely half in Molokai. Let me start with, it's expensive and stressful! Yes, it is and it's like a guessing game until the game is over with you paying all the way through with very little certainties.

Everything started with:

"She needs two rabies shots at a distance of 30 days each."

The first procedure totaled the whooping of US $339 - I am not sure if they inject gold in the veins of the feline but it surely feels like that. This procedure felt like open surgery to my wallet when I saw the bill.

On a second visit, mandatory by the way, they took the furry girl away for 15 minutes, and shortly after that, I was lighter of US $409. At this point, I was confident that what they were injecting was not pure gold but actually liquid Bitcoins. My wallet definitely perceived it as a brain surgery compared to the last experience.

At this point, you have put down almost ONE THOUSAND dollars and you would expect some level of certainty in the process ahead of you. And instead here's what happens:

You paid. Now you are on your own. Call the AID number in Hawaii, they don't tell us everything, and things change... so yeah, you can go know, what you mean to do. You paid, I take no responsibilities from here forward.

I understand, but I have to buy tickets and when I buy them may determine the prices. I have to coordinate things with children, the home we currently live in... Do you have an idea of when the results are coming back and what I should be expecting once I land?

Mambo-jambo-here that ends with a bottom line of "you are on your buddy, I took your money already."
That is obviously a paraphrasing of the conversation but the substance of what happened is very accurate.
Victoria did call the Hawaiian number of the AID office but they don't answer, like ever. They recommend emailing because, between workload and COVID, things are grim, staff-wise.

We did email, with one simple question and the answer came about a week after we emailed. It is true that we live in the age of instant gratification but a week for electronic means puts a completely new spin on the sense of urgency concept.

So we're back to square one and trying to figure out what has to happen and within which timing. What you deal with in those situations is that you get stuck between the slightly different narration of the rules:

Your 30 days period, mandatory, before entry with Scarlet to Hawaii begins when the lab starts working on her blood sample.
Hawaiian Animal Industry Division site: your clock starts when the blood has been received by the lab.

Conflicting information on critical timing. Whichever is the right option you have no way of knowing when either will actual start because they don't call you and the Vet doesn't give you their contact info.

As you can see everything is done by the principle: pay and wait, don't expect more, and be prepared to deal with unexpected expenses because it's not our job to make it easy. We cash cat-cow your attachment to your pet, that's it. CAPISH?! Well... I get carried away.

Since it took us a long time to understand this all mess, I put together the following child infographic that can give you a full picture, no pun, of what to expect.

The robber in the center, yep, that is not you. You're the bank, open 24/7, or your cat diiiieeeessss!

At this point you may think, you are done... oh silly human creature, why do you think that the process of squeezing your wallet should end with a "welcome to Hawaii my dear pet owner".

Nope, nope and that would be a very hard NO.
Your veterinarian will receive the result slightly earlier than the Animal Industry Division - as a name of a public office it sounds threatening. I know, for the cat.

But you can understand that the vet has been paid, s/he is not going to be on the phone every minute to check on your lab results.

The AID will receive the results but they are not going to be published in real-time because that would 21-century technology. Someone manually has to update a PDF and post to this address, using the microchip of your feline as ID. Since looking up a microchip isn't that hard, you can monitor other's people animals... If this business was run by Apple I bet they would have something to say about the privacy of the furry family member. I digress.

At this point, you are at the airport, freshly landed. Well, that depends if you fly coach or business and that your plane didn't lose parts along the way. They take away your furry friend, they probe it nice and deep, oh, they also check the database that some scribble with a chisel, hammer, and rock updated into a PDF.

And finally, they bring it back to you while asking for a merely US $186. Or else...
If God forbade you entered a few days earlier than the quarantine period or worse anything went wrong in the process... well, just give the key of the bank to them.

The cat will be stowed away until all is clear and you pay every day plus some kind of fine that is not called fine. I am telling you, give them the bank account, it will be easier. One vein slit and it's all over. Trust me, you will thank me later.

Irony aside, it's a convoluted process and your mileage vary based on what experience your vet has accumulated with the regulation of the visiting state but overall I found this checklist for direct release at the airport to be very accurate. If you follow in other categories of release have a look at their comprehensive list of scenarios.

With the exception that nowhere they tell you that you don't have to send a money order or a cashier check but you can use a credit card at the airport... again, mileage vary...

Mario Esposito

Published 2 years ago