When we were considering moving to Basel, at no point did we even consider not taking our dogs. Our dogs are part of our family. For better for worse and all that, and there has definitely been some worse. At the time, we thought the biggest hassle and expense would be the plane tickets – if only….
In order to get our dogs here and legal(everything in Switzerland must be legal) we have gone through the following:
- Book seats for them to fly with us. $200 each for the dogs to fly under the seats in front of us. They were not allowed out of their carriers but we did sneak them out and hide them under blankets. For the fee, they received nothing! If we had called them support dogs, the fee would have been waived and they would have been able to come out of their cages.
- Buy special carriers to KLM’s specifications. $120 each
- Ten days before flying, the dogs had to have health inspections at their vet and receive an international chip. They now have an American chip and an international chip. $130 each
- Next, we had to go to the USDA office in El Segundo which is only open from 8-11 in the morning. I was warned to be there are 7am to wait in line which I did. I was the second person in line and wasn’t out of there till 10 am. Fee $35 each to have their health certificates validated by the USDA.
- Once we arrived in Switzerland, we had 10 days to report them to city hall and register them. In order to register them, we have to give their chip number in case they ever become lost. We also need to provide proof of liability insurance in case one of the dogs should become loose and cause a tram to crash or something. Insurance $500 a year. Then, we have to pay $130 a year for each dog for being licensed. If you are caught with an unlicensed dog it is a HUGE fine. Their tags must be worn at all times. But, the license fees pay for the poop bags which are the best thing ever here. Every block or so, there are free poop bags and poop trash cans. There is no dog poop anywhere in this land, not even in the country.
- Today, was the last and final fee. I had to take them to a Swiss vet to make sure they were healthy and who would register their international chip to our new address in Switzerland. They also had to get a new immunization for some disease caused by water and some tick repellant. Total cost $530. But they walked away with individual Swiss passports which they need to have on them if they cross the border. It would take us 5 years to become eligible to become Swiss but the dogs are already Swiss!
I have not totaled these costs because I realize I could have probably bought myself a trip to Tahiti with this money but if I knew then what I know now, I would not change a thing because for better or worse, our dogs are with us all the way on this adventure.