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The chronicles of two Portlanders in Singapore

“So there is something I have to tell you,” she said1typed, thanks GMail chat!.  “It is possible that I might come home with a dog.”

It was November 12, 2008.  I know this because Bev was due to drive up to Oregon in two days after a two-week delay in San Francisco while her transfer went through2and, thanks GMail chat!.  During those two weeks, she was staying with her best friend in The City.  She would pick up my parents from the airport on Saturday, and her & my father were driving her car and the rest of our stuff up on Sunday.

And a dog.  That’s how Mini came into our lives.

Actually, the story of Mini’s arrival was much more interesting than just the surprise dog adoption.  Mini came to us through the aforementioned best friend, whose sister had found the dog as an abandoned stray in Half Moon Bay3we refer to Mini’s rough childhood as “having grown up on the mean streets of Half Moon Bay.”  We kill ourselves, we really do..  Arrangements were made, interviews had, and when all was going well, that’s when the sister & her husband drop the bomb;

“We contacted a doggie psychic and asked her if the dog liked you.”  How anyone kept a straight face in this situation, I’ll never know.  Bev is to be commended for her poker abilities.  “The psychic asked the dog and…”

Go on, hold your breath if you want, you know how this is going to end.

“… and she really liked you!  We’re so happy!”

Would I lie to you?

It gets better – the sister apparently emailed the psychic a few weeks after Mini’s big move to Oregon, just to get a preternatural opinion on the dog’s well-being.  Apparently that too checked out, though I’m not sure what would have happened had the doggy psychic decided to turn heel and torment the poor people with tales of disaster.

The tales of Mini have been a constant source of enjoyment.  Every dog has a personality, and Mini’s is one of constant wonder and affection.  We refer to her still, at age 7, as a puppy, and we’re not far off the mark.  She plays like a puppy, is fearless like a young dog in the face of any perceived threat and is dearly affectionate, enjoying time on the couch with one of us watching TV, especially the Blazers.

We’ve given voice to her as well.  To hear Mini tell it, we joke, every sports team we like are the Blazers (even if they’re confused and wearing red & gold, orange & black or green & yellow.)  The best player for the 49ers, Giants or Ducks isn’t Frank Gore, Buster Posey or Marcus Mariota, it’s LaMarcus Aldridge.  The biggest threat to the house & our security?  Squirrels; against which our faithful guard dog is on constant alert, her ears perking up at the slightest rodent provocation.

As you can guess, getting Mini right as we moved in has created a tight bond.  It’s impossible to imagine living in the house without her.  When she is being boarded and we’re home without her, the house seems still, empty.  Having someone knock on our door or ring the bell and not hearing Mini ferociously bark at the door is an odd experience.  When her time is up, I know that her departure will hit me harder than any other dog I’ve had.  Moving and not taking her with us… that was not an option.  So Bev started to investigate the ability to move a dog to the other side of the world.

It is, as one can imagine, not nearly as easily as packing the pooch in a carry-on or crate and having the small shoe company purchase another first class ticket.  And it makes sense, really.  A country, especially an island city-state, needs to protect its people & pets from the various infections that simply cannot cross the vast Pacific on their own.  For inbound expats such as yours truly, it does create some interesting challenges.  Fortunately, Bev has quite the community to draw on through her work, and of course, the internet, which is how she found

Brooke from PetRelocation has been exceedingly helpful at navigating the tricky waters of smugglingrelocating a furry family member to an Asian country notorious for its fastidious attitude.  While I privately4not anymore, I guess chuckle at the idea of just tucking Mini into a carry on and bringing some snacks for her while she barks at every flight attendant, the reality is that Singapore has some very strict rabies laws (apparently they’ve never had a case) and a mandatory quarantine period.  Fortunately, the quarantine is only 10 days, a manageable number considering that we’re only going to be in the city-state for eighteen months or so.  I shudder imagining the conversation if there was a 6-month quarantine, as we might have found that prohibitive to bringing the dog.

While the moving details are still in process, a few things became immediately clear.  The pooch is getting her own flight, flying in an opposite direction from us, apparently, over Europe with an overnight stop5potty breaks & walks, y’all before flying into Singapore and heading immediately to quarantine for 10 days in the pokey.

Being the over-concerned pooch parent I am, a number of horrifying scenarios leap to my mind, unbidden, which I have a hard time shaking.  Is this what all parents go through?  Perhaps not, perhaps it’s magnified because my little girl is a 26-pound dog whose stature looms large only in our minds, not in the mind of a baggage handler or someone in Germany saddled with walking someone else’s dog for a day.

I really need to stop thinking about that.  Maybe I can ask Gina’s sister for the email address of the doggie psychic…



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