So, you might remember that early last year, we sent some American Chinchilla rabbits to a rabbit friend in Canada.
It was quite an adventure, but the rabbits arrived at their destination safe and sound and only a trifle jet-lagged. They then proceeded to do, well, what rabbits do, and apparently have left their genes all over Canada.
This year, the time came for us to get stock back from our friend in Canada. Robert and Eric spent I-don’t-know-how-many phone calls discussing stock, traits and qualities, and finally we were ready to get the rabbits on the plane south.
You might think that being on the receiving end would make me a little less stressed out, but you would be wrong.
Shipping animals is always a bit of an adventure; and apparently I have a bit more of a control freak streak than I would like to admit, so it makes me seven different kinds of crazy no matter which way the rabbits are going.
I researched everything I could think of prior to getting things going. Interestingly, every rule that applied shipping rabbits OUT of the U.S. INTO Canada did not apply coming from Canada to the states. Rabbits, even domestic ones, are covered under the jurisdiction of the US Fish and Wildlife department and no permit, or any other paperwork is required. And, Air Canada, unlike the major US carriers, does not require a health paper on animals.
I mentally pictured my worst case scenerio: Not having filled out some dusty, mothball encrusted form only obtainable somewhere in the bowels of some government agents desk in Schenectady, thereby resulting in the rabbits being detained or deported or worse.
So, I checked and rechecked the requirements; bugged the registrar at the zoo, (who has done all sorts international shipments for advice and fact checking until she politely told me that she had answered the same question three times and would I please leave her office) but apparently I did indeed have all my bases covered.
A normal person would have relaxed and not worried further.
As you might expect, I am not normal.
Robert got the flight booked, we had all the info and we were ready to make the trip. I checked the address and called four different people at the KCI airport to just make sure I knew exactly where we were supposed to be and what time we were supposed to be there. I called the Fish and Wildlife department to make sure they hadn’t changed the regulations in the last five minutes. I called the customs office at KCI to make sure the inspection was the only thing required and there wasn’t some form that needed to have been filled out 37.5 hours prior to the time of departure and signed by a goat by the light of the new moon on a Tuesday.
We arrived at the cargo desk and then had nothing to do but wait until the inspector passed everything and our rabbits were released to our custody.
And, yes, we were early.
But, while we were waiting for our Air Canada flight to arrive, the inspector got called downtown to check out another shipment at the downtown airport. So of course, our rabbits arrived while he was gone, and there was nothing to do but wait.
The rabbits were there, and I could see them through the swinging door every time someone else came and went receiving their stuff. So close and yet so far…
One of the airport K-9 units came through checking stuff out. I could see the rabbits sitting on the table inside the door. The canine member of the K-9 unit thought the rabbits were pretty fascinating and jumped up to sniff at them.
My first thought was how offended I would be if they decided to do a cavity search on my rabbits, and the second was how much jail time would I get for squaring off with a police dog if he decided to have rabbit tartare for dinner. Fortunately, as the K-9 member of the unit is better housebroken than I am, both members of the unit moved along, and that question remains unanswered.
And then at long last, the inspector returned, went through the paperwork, and was ready to release the rabbits….
“What’s the value of these? There isn’t anything on the paperwork other than ‘donation’.”
Now, surprisingly enough I am able to learn from other peoples experiences, so rather than try to explain the whole reciprocal genetic trade thing and repeating Robert’s experience in Canada, I just blurted out “About $100.” This seemed to be the right answer, because he signed everything and sent us on our way. Truth is, you can’t put a value on new bloodlines, but it didn’t seem to be worth debating.
We got the new kids home, and they’ve settled in nicely.
Although they are a bit disappointed in the warm weather cutting into their hockey time. (Oh, come on, they’re from Canada, you had to know there would be a hocky joke somewhere!)
We are tickled to have them, and can’t thank Robert enough for setting things up and being such a great conservation partner! And for providing the photos.
American Chins rule!