Well, I learned some valuable lessons this year about traveling internationally with my service dog, Whistle. As you know, Whistle and I were trying to travel to London early this Fall for me to speak at the World Health Organization’s 2010 Safety Conference regarding violence against children with disabilities. Unfortunately, Whistle was not able to make the trip this year.

I learned the hard way that Whistle was not eligible to enter the United Kingdom (UK) due to the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) which requires six months to pass after the blood draw date before an animal can enter the UK. Whistle’s blood draw was completed in less than the six month time frame and as a result, I had to make a difficult decision about traveling without him.

I decided to go ahead with my travel plans and I did speak at the Safety Conference. It was bittersweet because Whistle was not able to make the trip with me. However, I am happy to report that in the future, Whistle can travel with me to the UK because his blood test had a positive result. That means that he will remain PETS compliant for the rest of his life as long as I keep his rabies vaccinations up to date, with no gaps in coverage.

All we have to do now is to provide a rabies vaccination certificate, proof of microchipping and obtain an EU veterinary certificate completed by Whistle’s vet and endorsed by my local USDA vet. It might sound like a lot of hoops to jump through, but after the fiasco we experienced this past summer, it seems like a stroll in the park.

I expect that Whistle and I will get another opportunity to visit London and the UK. Here’s to hoping that he and I will soon be strolling along London’s Thames River and enjoying the beautiful view from the London Eye.