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Old 02-07-2015, 10:48   #16
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

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Originally Posted by Bulawayo View Post
...what is a service dog? A guide dog?
Basically, yes. It's a dog that is trained and certified to provide assistance to a person with a disability of some sort. It is not a police or army dog.

Here in the U.S. the law allows you to take a certified service dog with you almost anywhere--even places that otherwise prohibit pets (mainly because a service dog is not considered a "pet"). Stores, restaurants, bars, trains, planes, whatever are prohibited from refusing you service because of your service dog, and cannot require you to leave the dog outside when you enter their establishment.

Obviously, and as mentioned already, those in the U.S. who have a service dog need to be very aware that the laws are different in other countries, and that "service dog" laws are absolutely NOT universal. In many (most?) countries their service dog will be viewed and treated as nothing more than any other pet.
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Old 02-07-2015, 12:23   #17
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

We had heard st vincent and the grenadines were difficult but in practice found them the same as the rest and DR Glasgow very friendly. It is important to have the pre arrival paperwork sorted out though and meet her in blue lagoon, so plan the meeting to avoid delays waiting for an appointment.
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Old 02-07-2015, 16:27   #18
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

Definitely check in your dog upon arrival at ports. For the dogs sake. Be sure that the dog is vaccinated several weeks before departing on your cruise so as to allow time for proper protection to be afforded for the diseases that are typical to the countries you are visiting. A dog on board a boat is not typically subject to exposure to too many insects and parasites, viruses or bacteria, but once upon land they become immediate bug bait, especially in the Tropical climates. Pet's may be required to be placed in quarantine upon arrival in some countries, don't bring them or don't go there unless you intend to stay a long, long time, as pet's tend to go bonkers locked up in quarantine for extended periods of time, just as you would if locked in a small cage.

Cat's make for reasonably good boat pets as they can be useful in keeping the bilge rat population to a minimum and will give chase to the birds and generally like the leftovers of fish that you catch. Besides they generally are easier to accept a "remain on board lifestyle" and not needing to go ashore for a walk. Plus cats will readily do their business in a box, never had any luck teaching a dog to go potty in a box; the dog usually just dug around in the clay sending it flying all over the place making an even bigger mess to clean up. I find it objectionable when a dog raises its leg or squats on board, I get that they are simply doing what is required given the circumstances. **** happens. But I much rather change the diaper on the infant then deal with the dog's messes on deck, hopefully on deck and not discharged below deck, double yuck that!

In non-quarantining countries, when taking a dog ashore just take abundant precautions and remember that Toto is not in Kansas anymore. The loss of a companion pet because they are put down by an animal control officer, or becoming sick due to exposure to abundant diseases or parasites quickly makes for a sad cruise; nothing like a funeral at sea. Respect the laws as much as you love your pets.

For those who may be unfamiliar with what a service animal is and what purpose and training they have, below please find copied the definition of a service animal per the 2010 revision of the American Disabilities Act [ADA].
"Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person's disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA."
This revised definition excludes all comfort animals, which are pets that owners keep with them solely for emotional reasons that do not ameliorate their symptoms of a recognized "disability"; animals that do ameliorate the conditions of a medical disability, however, such as animals that ameliorate the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, are included in the definition. Unlike a service animal, a comfort animal is one that has not been trained to perform specific tasks directly related to the person's disability. Common tasks for service animals include flipping light switches, picking up dropped objects, alerting the person to an alarm, reducing the anxiety of a person with post-traumatic stress disorder by putting its head on the patient, or similar disability-related tasks. A service dog may still provide help people with emotions related to psychiatric disabilities, but the dog must be trained to perform specific actions, such as distracting the person when he becomes anxious or engages in stimming or other behaviors related to his disability.


Because there is no USA federal certification of service animals in the United States, staff must take declaration of an animal's service status at face value. Furthermore, they are restricted in the questions they may ask about the animal:
When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability; and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform.
Staff cannot ask about the person's disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task

My dog, an old Basset Hound, is a service dog of sorts, as he readily picks up most foods that I might drop, but since he was not specifically trained to perform such actions, I suppose that he does not qualify as being a real service animal under the ADA.

Service animals can be amazingly helpful to those that have certain disabilities, but I have yet to see one be trained to assist in sailing a boat. Water dogs (e.g., Labradors) can be fun company as they thrive on jumping into the water and can be great retrievers if you drop something that floats. But realize they may do so while underway, for example, jumping in to give chase to a dolphin that is riding your bow wave, in which case the dog can be keel hauled, which is pretty traumatic particularly if the propeller is churning at the stern. If they clear the hull and propeller it can be rather humorous to see happen as all ends well with a recovery and you get to practice your Dog Over Board maneuver, a DOB. I once watched a pet owner jump over board when their small dog fell over the side while we were sailing on their boat, just what we need a MOB & DOB, twice the effort. Truth be told, the dog swam better than the dog owner, which owner did not have a life vest on, naturally.



For pet owners that bring them on a cruise, I suggest a proximity device be kept on the collar and / or on the pet;s life vest which will provide an alarm on the boat if the pet decides to depart the boat. Dog's are pretty good at paddling and will usually try to regain the boat on their own accord, so if you hoave to quickly after they fall in they will usually churn their way towards you, that is unless a shore is enticingly nearby such as when you are at anchor or dockside.



Unfortunately in the USA there are a lot of persons that routinely fraudulently claim their dog is a service animal, much to the detriment of those that have real disabilities and real purpose-trained dogs. Many inconsiderate people claim their dog is a service animal when in actuality it is merely a pet, in my perspective those persons are similar in character to persons that park in handicap parking places but do not have a handicap. Okay that was my rant and pet peeve.


Happy sailing with Rover.
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Old 02-07-2015, 19:48   #19
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

Just an FYI.

In US a Service Dog can be most any breed or size. Service use could be for physical impairment or for being a mental health companion dog. Just because you can pretty much take a Service Animal anywhere here in USA, don't expect same freedoms in other countries.
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Old 03-07-2015, 05:29   #20
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

WARNING....do not sneak your dog ashore to any islands. The consequences to your dog could be devastating, and you have no repercussions. I am a sailingveterinarian, I can't figure out all of the regulations some times. I was a federally accredited veterinarian in the US. That meant I issued health and international traveling documents. Most of these still had to be consigned by the FDA. I have seen that many of the British islands still live in the belief that they are Rabies free. They want you to have Rabies Titres tests. I have these done at Kansas State University for clients. They are not difficult, but do require blood to be sent to their lab. This would be a good thing to do before leaving the U.S. I have been traveling with a Boxer throughout the Bahamas. Very easy, paperwork wise. There has been a Distemper outbreak in Nassau, New Providence. Almost all the people have been great with her. There are many that want to "borrow" her to take for fighting! I did change my voyage and stayed away from Tuks and Caicos. Could not fulfill their paperwork obligations. Have fun.....but don't jeopardize your best friend.
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Old 04-07-2015, 11:10   #21
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

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Has anyone had experience with not declaring their dog in the Eastern Caribbean? Was this ever discovered? What happened?
Just hypothetical questions...
Requirements can be found on NOONSITE. There are several places where it is a minor issue, several where your pet will be destroyed. I would not mess with it.

Note on the question of "What is a Service Dog" Ours are service dogs. There is training & certification through various agencies. A graduating dog may be taken to certain hospital wards, nursing homes, VA, stores, other public places, etc. Same as therapy dog for those recovering/living there to hold & pet. The dog has to be extremely tolerant of people & other animals and follow directions well. Also, all shots etc. up to date.

I would not play fast & loose with the authorities on this. Stay out of pet un-friendly destinations. Check especially the BVI as they can/will destroy your animal last I knew.
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Old 04-07-2015, 11:34   #22
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

One question for those with experience. Is it possible to get the Rabies blood test done other than at Kansas State? Our dogs are having their tests carried out by the official lab in the UK. Does anyone know if these will be valid in the Eastern Caribbean and the Bahamas? We are coming over with the ARC later this year.


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Old 04-07-2015, 12:27   #23
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

Yes any valid test is ok, but they do like to have it fairly recently (within 3 years) as dogs antibodies can change over time.
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Old 04-07-2015, 14:25   #24
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

We try to follow all the local regulations. Our experience has been after two years in Caribbean, the harder or more restrictive Islands are in no particular order; BVI, Anguilla, Antigua, St Kitts &Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines and Trinidad. These require planning and communication with the authorities or agriculture departments prior to arrival.

We tried to get into the BVI a couple of months ago with 14 month old Titer Test results from KSU and were told that the test results were over a year old and not valid and needed a waiver to enter, and an agreement to forward the results to the vet in the BVI. Cost of the waiver was $290 US, and add the cost of another trip to the vet, blood draw and another Titer Test from KSU. Cruising with a dog is not cheap!

Here are the approved testing labs for the Grenadines, I would assume they would be accepted elsewhere:

List of Approved Laboratories (USA & UK only)

Veterinary Laboratory Agency
New Haw, Addlestone
Surrey KT15 3NB
United Kingdom

Tel: (+44) 193 235 7840
Fax: (+44) 193 235 7239

BioBest
Pentlands Science Park
Bush Loan
Penicuik
Midlothian EH26 0PZ
United Kingdom

Tel: (+44) 0131 445 6101
Fax: (+44) 0131 445 6102
Website: www.biobest.co.uk

FAVN Rabies Laboratory
1800 Denison Avenue
Mosier Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan, Kansas 66506-5601

Tel: (+1) 785 532 5650
Fax: (+1) 785 532 4481
Website: www.vet.ksu.edu/rabies
E-mail: rabies@vet.ksu.edu

The FAVN Test must be used (Not the RFFIT)


Here are a couple of the websites we use for information, they have been spot on with advise:

http://www.caribbeancompass.com/dogs_cruising.html

http://www.caribbeancompass.com/dogs_cruising_2.html

http://www.sailwhatif.com/Cruising%2...%20a%20dog.htm

Hope this helps.

Marty Kelly & Lily the Wonderdog
S/V True Colors
Currently Rodney Bay, St Lucia


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Old 04-07-2015, 15:34   #25
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

Wow Martin. It really goes to show the inequality of different customs and Immigrations offices. We had trouble contacting the BVIs but eventually met the vet in virgin gorda. We were there for almost a week playing email and telephone ping pong till we had an appointment. In the end all was good and no fees. Our titre test was 4 yrs old. I think he mentioned it was too old but some friendly banter smoothed things over. We find a lot of discrepancy with charges from the various islands of what friends have paid and what we pay. I guess it depends on the particular official at the time. Ie, we enter dominica and pay 50 EC, our friends arrive next day and pay 20 EC.
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Old 04-07-2015, 21:17   #26
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

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Note on the question of "What is a Service Dog" Ours are service dogs. There is training & certification through various agencies. A graduating dog may be taken to certain hospital wards, nursing homes, VA, stores, other public places, etc. Same as therapy dog for those recovering/living there to hold & pet. The dog has to be extremely tolerant of people & other animals and follow directions well. Also, all shots etc. up to date.
Sorry. I'm not trying to pick an argument. It's just that there is a lot of misunderstanding on this topic so for the sake of the readers here, what Montanan said above and the citations Montanan provided are accurate.

There is no recognized "agency" that "certifies" service dogs.

"Therapy dog" is not synonymous with "service dog". It is not the same thing.

Here is the link to the ADA (government's) web page for information.

Revised ADA Requirements: Service Animals
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