Pets are a topic near and dear to me. We have adopted a Malay street cat, rescued by an MSG from the Embassy pool house locker room. We also have taken on a lame labrador (no really he is missing a few toes and has to wear a shoe on one foot) from Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Getting the cat out of Kuala Lumpur involved many many phone calls and emails to various pet expediters and our airline. It also involved many phone calls and emails from the world's best AGSO who felt for us and was also a pet lover. It also involved a last minute visit from a very odd Indian man in flip flops who claimed to be a vet and gave the cat an injection of who knows what. We also had a back up plan that if we got to the airport for our 1 am flight and they would not take the cat - another Embassy person would take the cat and give him a home. We were THAT nervous about how things were going. The cat made it out fine and has enjoyed 3 more years with our family at our current post.
Now moving season is again upon us, and everyone in the foreign service community knows about United's new pet policy. Here is an excellent article about some of the highlights. United basically does not think foreign service personnel and their family pets deserve the same treatment as our military. If shipping the pets costs what the article says it might cost, I don't know what our family will do. Stop eating? Sleep on my FIL's floor all summer to save money? It will certainly effect us.
Someone recently suggested a pet blog to highlight pets in the foreign service and how they are a part of our families too. Obviously I think this is an excellent idea and way to get the word out that this is a VERY important issue. Please feel free to send along a photo of your pet with a backstory if you wish. Tell your friends and tell your co-workers. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org