What do you do when you have no idea about how to adopt a dog from Mexico? You Google :)
A process that I thought could be fairly complicated seemed to be pretty okay and doable after all. As we live in Finland, an EU country, there are certain regulations that need to be met. If you live in Finland you find all the information needed at Eviras homepage. We read these over and over again. And again. Just to make sure we had it all right. We adopted Taco from Sauylitanimals, a dog rescue center that helps over 150 dogs a year, mostly to US and Canada. All countries are different and have their own regulations, so we started to dig in and learn about the adoption process to Finland.
Below I have summarised the important steps for the adoption process. These need to be taken care of when adopting a dog from Mexico to Finland, in the right order.
1. THE MICRO CHIP
The dog needs a micro chip. For Finland it needs to be EU regulated and meet the EU requirements. It is best to visit an experienced veterinarian that knows the EU standards and has the right kind of ship at hand. Luckily Sauylitanimals had this taken care of.
2. RABIES VACCINATION
The rabies vaccination has to be done after the insert of the micro chip. This order is very important. The vaccination also needs to be done minimum 21 days before taking the dog out of the country. The dog needs to be at least 12 weeks old to get a rabies vaccination so make sure to check the puppies age. And the adoption country needs to be on the approved country list, which Mexico luckily was. Phew.
3. EU APPROVED VETERINARY HEALTH CHECK
Make sure to bring your dog to a vet and do a general health check. Check tics, lies, infections, bacteria related skin issues and have them estimate the age. The vet certificate is valid for 10 days from the health check and all the above needs to be taken care of.
Print out and fill in all required documents according to the instructions. For Taco we needed following docs:
5. DEWORM YOUR DOG
Deworm your dog 1-5 days before departure and entering Finland. You can deworm the dog much earlier but it has to be done again at least 1-5 days before departure. This has to be stated in your vaccination card as well with all the other dates.
6. AIRPORT AUTHORITIES AND CUSTOMS - AT BOTH ENDS
This was the most scary part. You have done your homework, you have all the documents and medication, you are already very attached to your puppy and you are packed and ready to travel, heading home. What if something goes wrong?
At the airport we needed to go through some formalities and veterinary border inspection to get Taco safe out of the country. We received hand written instructions and a handwritten map on a piece of paper from Sayulitanimals - the instructions were to knock on a metallic door, without signs, in the back of the airport building. So we did.
The door in the back of the building.
At this point when the picture was taken we were not yet sure we got the right door. But it was. We were greeted by Senor Wilfredo and his team, he took us through all kinds of security checks and questions. We thought we were just supposed to pick up the documents mentioned earlier. Easy fix was the instruction. Well, it took a bit more effort than that. At sight, they wanted to see Taco. Our travel buddies Jenni and Teemu looked after him at the airport while we were on our mission. So we went all the way back and got him and then back through the security and question hassle again.
Tiny Taco patiently waiting with Jenni and Teemu while we are getting the paper stuff done
Senor Wilfredo greeted him with some water at the export securities...
Taco was so uncomfortable. They inspected him. They checked his scratches. They went in the back room and stayed there for ages. Poor Taco was scared as heck. And so was I. A team of 5 custom officers asked a lot of questions, all in Mexican of course. I managed all this with my Nicaraguan Spanish I learned a few years ago. We had to fill in some extra paper work, all in Mexican. And I was s o n e r v o u s. And, after about 15 minutes they gave us the green light. Finally we got our documents and stamps, the customs approved the papers and we were allowed to proceed with our own airline check in. Jiiihaaaaa!
Finally check in, counting minutes...
At least Taco was totally unaware of all the adventure <3
By the gate about to board and Tacos adoption has been approved by the Mexican authorities.
Afterwards I am so happy this all went well and that I knew Spanish enough to manage this exercise with my Nicaraguan Spanish. I was so nervous during the process if anything would have gone wrong, thinking what if, we for some reason, cannot take him with us home.
In addition to all this during our first days together we washed Taco many times with a mild shampoo, made sure he got proper food and most important, we spend all the time we could with him so he could get used to us and feel safe and secure. It was a fantastic time and experience. The most amazing part was to realise how in only a day or two he had gotten attached to us and trusted us, he just wouldn´t leave our side.