We adopted our clumsy bull terrier Feijão about 8 months ago when he was just a tiny puppy. We already got him with the idea that we would be coming to live on a boat. Bull Terrier is a breed we always both really liked and after reading a lot on it and finding out they are pretty lazy, like the water but don’t love it (we don’t want him jumping from the boat all the time) and tolerates warm weather pretty well, we though he was perfect! And when we put our eyes on our tiny Feijão we just fell in love with him.
As we had to set up the whole boat, figure out and learn a million things, as well as get used to life on board, we decided that we would come to Croatia first, get ourselves settled in, and than go back to pick up Feijao. We left Feijão for the past month at the Kadesh Canil in Rio, where we bought him. Jorge and Amanda, who own and run the canil, are amazing, they spoiled him to bits during this one month, and he got to play 24/7 with the other 20+ bull terries they have at the canil, so I am not sure Feijao actually missed us that much… But I just could not wait to bring him to his new home!
Bringing a dog from Brasil to Europe is not the easiest thing. Since all countries in Latin America still have incidents of rabies and most countries in the EU are very low risk, this is a bit bureaucratic and time consuming process. Also, no one really seems to be 100% sure of what you need to do. After speaking with several different people and government bodies, this is what we have found out:
- you need to first implant a microchip in the dog, which can be done at any age, BUT, very importantly (God only knows why), it needs to be done BEFORE the rabies vaccine;
- than you can give the dog the rabies vaccine, the first anti-rabies vaccine in a dogs life can be given at 3 months of age;
- after 30 days of the vaccine, you can do the rabies antibody titre test, basically the vet will colect a blood sample and send it to an authorised EU laboratory to perform the test (which for us, the laboratory was in São Paulo, so our vet in Rio de Janeiro had to send the blood sample by post to São Paulo, which took an extra few days);
- if all goes well, after a few weeks you will receive a “positive” result, (it must be at least 0.5 IU/ml). You get the result by email, than the official stamped letter comes in the post. But the dog can only travel after exactly 3 months of when the blood sample was taken.
After you take all these steps, and you know your pup can travel, than you are ready to buy his airplane ticket! Before the purchase of your ticket, it is important to check if the airline will take your dog safely as the compartment he travels must be pressurised and some companies have only a few slots in each flight. Apparently if you have a small dog some companies allows them to travel in the cabin with you. Unfortunately that was not the case for Feijão.
Now, the process if almost over… Once you buy his ticket and know his exact date of travel, you must book an appointment with the local government authority (in Brazil is the Ministry of Agriculture office at the International Airport) a few days before travel. Meanwhile, your vet must issue a health certificate for your dog which is valid for 10 days. You then take the health certificate, the microchip certificate, his vaccine booklet, the official stamped letter showing his rabies anti-body titre test and your passport to the appointment at the Ministry of Agriculture, in about 48h an official document that you can enter Europe and which allows your pet to travel will be ready.
We also did a pet passport for him, but after we found out the Brazilian pet passport is only valid for Argentina and Uruguay, but it is still fun to have and we can keep all his vaccine records, etc, in there from now on.
This is practically all you need to do, but alway a good idea to check with the embassy of the country where you are going if they require anything else. This is what was required for Italy and Croatia! Most EU countries seems to be the same with the exception of UK and Malta.
So after that one month apart, the boat was ready and Feijao was finally allowed to cross the Atlantic. We now had to bring him from Rio to Split in Croatia, where our boat was. Renato had the mission to go pick him up while I stayed back doing some final touches on the boat and counting the days for them to arrive.
A few months prior to the trip, we bought his travelling house so that he would get used to it. We treated him a few yummy snacks there and now he loves his place. A few year ago, apparently was mandatory to give some medication for your dog to travel so that he sleeps the entire flight, currently it is mandatory NOT to give them any drugs. Feijão rests so easily at this house as you can see on the picture that we did not give him any medication, we just got him very tired before the flight.
This was going to be a veeeeery long trip for him and we didn’t want him to be stuck in a travel house under a plane for too long, so we divided the trip. As there are no direct flights from Rio to Split, and we did not want Feijão to be doing several stop overs by plane, Renato picked him up in Rio, drove to Sao Paulo and stayed there for a few days to also sort out some documents, see family, etc. After one week they both flew from Sao Paulo to Rome, which was the closest direct flight from São Paulo we could find, while I rented a car and drove from Split to Rome to pick them up. The drive out there is actually very simple and nice, you just cross the Adriatic Sea from Split to Ancona in Italy in a ferry boat and than it is just a 3hs drive from Ancona to Rome. Seeing Renato and Feijao at Rome airport was one of the happiest moments ever, I was so so so happy and we were both so relieved he arrived safe and well.
We ended up doing a day trip in Rome out of it. The three of us went about exploring town, seeing some famous monuments, and having a laugh with Feijao in Rome! Who would ever imagine!? Feijão the emperor!
After spending the day in the city of the empire, eating a lot of gelatti, we drove to Ancona and hopped in the night ferry boat to cross the Adriatic on our way back to our now beloved Ipanema, to introduce Feijão to his new ‘Home Sweet Home’. Lets just hope he likes it! I am not sure, but think that soon he will try to claim the Captain position out of Renato, so far he loves to hang out around the fly bridge.