First of all, prepare for a novel of a blog post. I’ll treat you with a picture of the Weenie first to keep you hooked ;).
Doesn’t she look smart??
Well, after a few days of waiting, deliberating, and weighing our options, I have made my decision: I sent my Statement of Intent to Register to the University of Hawaii at Manoa. A few days ago, I learned that I was waitlisted to UConn, the last program I was waiting to hear from. While I could still be offered admission there if spaces open up, I also had a strict deadline to make a decision about Hawaii and had no way of knowing when I could be removed from the waitlist either way. I still don’t know what kind of financial aid I will be getting from UH, which is a little scary, but I know most PhD programs in my field are usually quite generous with aid, and my dad has access to scholarships that we could probably get. Despite my uncertainty about aid, I decided that this is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I cannot let this chance to finally get back in school slip away. As my dad put it, “UH wants you in their program and wants your input and talents. No other program has given you this chance to show all that you can do, and you don’t want to pass up the opportunity to show them what a great decision they made in admitting you”. UH is a great school and they have a great sociology program, so I have no doubt that studying at UH will land me a great career in a few years. Here goes nothing!
So, we are starting to gear up for this BIG move, which will happen mid-August, as I would start classes on the 26th. I have done a TON of research on import requirements for the dogs and am prepared to follow all the steps necessary to get them there as comfortably as possible and avoid quarantine once we actually arrive on Oahu. Our plan right now is to drive out to the West Coast, probably San Francisco, and catch a fairly short, non-stop flight from there to Oahu. I think GoPetFriendly.com will be a great resource for planning the road trip – it has a cool interactive feature that allows you to plan a trip and find pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, and services along the way. I am still researching airlines and their requirements for shipping pets, but right now it looks like Alaska Airlines will be our top choice (kind of ironic, since we are flying to Hawaii…). They are one of very few airlines that have a pressurized, temperature-controlled cargo areas especially for pets, and the dogs’ comfort is our top priority. They also do not have weight restrictions on the pets allowed to ship (especially necessary, since Zev is 105 pounds san kennel!) and overall seem to be the best line to meet our specific needs and give us some peace of mind (even so, I will probably still be a worried wreck – I love flying, but I know it will be a stressful experience for the dogs). I plan on calling the airline this weekend to confirm their pet policies and make sure I have all the details I need. Fingers crossed that we found “the one” to trust with our fur babies!
Our exact date of arrival in Hawaii is not set in stone yet, and actually depends largely on rabies blood-work. Hawaii has very strict guidelines with respect to rabies, and the dogs will need to have blood drawn by the vet and sent to the Kansas State University lab for FAVN testing. The day after the lab receives the blood samples, a 120-day waiting period begins before the dogs are allowed to arrive (of course, they have the pass the test as well, but I don’t foresee that being a problem). If we were to arrive even one day before the 120-day wait is up, the dogs would be quarantined. So, this weekend I am also going to schedule this blood-work and have it done soon, so that we do not risk cutting too close to the 120 days. The import requirements are extensive, but I think we will meet all the requirements without a problem as long as I stay organized and pay attention to the deadlines. I will basically tell John when we are leaving and what to pack ;). Just kidding, kind of…I think I should double as an event planner.
So, now that I have bored you all to tears, enjoy a lovely picture of the kids on our deck this week! Their wonderful daddy even brought their beds outside for them to lay on in the sunshine.
So, aside from getting the dogs (and ourselves) there, we also have to get my new car and our stuff to Oahu as well! A friend suggested with ship most of our belongings through the U.S. Postal Service. We will continue to look into our options and figure out the best fit. There is much work to be done still, but we are off to a good start. And we are so excited!!! I am thrilled to finally start grad school in general, and the fact that I will be studying in Hawaii is just icing on the cake. I think the dogs will love it, especially the weather. It will be an adjustment for all of us, but I am pretty confident that we will all love it. The Weenie will love living in a place where the temperature rarely drops below 65 degrees! And Zev is pretty much happy anywhere, so long as he has his people, his Lexi, food, and a nice couch to snuggle on. I think we can make do!
On another note, Lexi’s canine dermatologist follow-up appointment is on April 4th. I am looking forward to meeting Dr. Tapp of Veterinary Healing Arts and hearing what she has to say about our special little girl and her allergies.
Well, I think I have shared enough for one day! Our epic migration has officially begun, and we are excited to share our newest journey with all of you. If anyone out there has any advice or experiences to share, please feel free! I am always eager to hear how other people deal with big moves like this. Have a great weekend! Hugs and kisses from Lexi and Zev!