Getting your best friend back home (part numbatu) Reply

By Jen Radford

I took my sols dog home last week and your article on taking pets home ( Getting your best friend back home by Stacey Pallaras 6th October 2014 – ed.) really helped me make the decision to do it.

Since I took Tex home I’ve got a lot of questions (and answers) about the total cost of the process.
If you were ever interested in updating your current (excellent) article on bringing your pets home, I thought I’d set out the total costs. Some of these (like the flight price) no one tells you till the bill arrives. And some have changed recently.
I’d start with the caveat, the whole process is hard, but completely doable.

Four things that I wish someone had told me:
– Don’t stress about the domestic flight to Melbourne (the only quarantine facility) or get spooked by the Quarantine website that says international flights must go directly to Melbourne. Solomon Airlines are legitimately great and actually organise the domestic flight and whatever magic sees your pet transfer terminals.
In what seems to be worryingly last minute given the hectic project management skills required for everything else, Sol Air seems to like to arrange payment for the two flights on the day the animal flies out. Flow with it. I’m not sure my ten stressed out emails achieved anything.
– ‘Ten days’ in quarantine includes the day they go into quarantine, even if they arrive at midnight, so if they go in on Thursday they come out the following Sunday (pick up before noon). Quarantine won’t change that day under any circumstances. However third party pet transport companies are quite reasonably priced for the domestic leg if you need them, or for an extra night or two of accommodation.
– You really want to book them on the 12pm Thursday Sols flight as (a) Thursday is the late night pick up day for quarantine and (b) there is plenty of time to get them on a connecting flight to make the deadline.
– The vet can and does run out of microchips. Arrange to put the chip in early as a shortage can screw up your dates. If you get stuck you can order them from Oz with whichever nice person is coming back next (you will need to reassure the distributor that you will not insert them into a human. I’m not kidding. I think mostly only vets order them).

So here goes the total cost:
The crate: $190 AUD (noting what seems like a medium sized sols dog barely fits into the X-large – they’re not kidding when they say to measure your dog)
Import Permit: $408 AUD
Quarantine Fees: (two phases) $29 + $1,461 AUD (don’t do what I did and vaguely feel like you’d already paid this when you booked. You didn’t. You paid $29).
Vet bills including microchip: $1800 SBD (if they’re already microchipped, save $530) ($300 AUD)
Blood tests: $6,000 SBD (this covers sample taking and transport) PLUS $688.50 AUD for actual testing. This extra payment gets you. NOTE: Only applies to dogs, for cats you’re laughing.
Permits and certificates on the Solomon’s side: $1500 SBD (note this has gone up slightly to what is on the vet’s costs list) ($250 AUD)
Flight Cost to Melbourne: $1,565 AUD
Flight cost to Sydney from Melbs including third party pick up from quarantine: $150 (obviously if you live in Melbourne, enjoy a well earned rest from forking out cash)
Assuming a sols to aud conversion of 6:1, this gives the horrific/bargain price of: $6041.50
Cats should be slightly cheaper both for the blood tests and as they weight a little less for the flight.
Hope this is helpful!
(Editor’s note: If you really want to see who loves you try locking your dog and your partner in the boot of your car – then when you let them out observe who is happy to see you.

Images accompanying the article were purloined from the net by the Editor, apologies to the photographers who weren’t acknowledged in the scavenged articles, and are obviously not Solomon Islands dogs.)


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