September 27, 2022

Ercan meets its first Emotional Support Dog

 

By Kim Betts……
KAR Pet Travel……

In September KAR Pet Travel were asked to help with the relocation of Wags – a flat coated retriever – from Chicago to TRNC. Everyone knows that their pets are Special but Wags really is a Special pet who also qualifies for Special treatment when travelling.

Wags is registered in the USA as an “Emotional Support Animal”.

“Airlines have a broad definition of assistance animals that allows emotional support animals to fly in the cabin with their KAR emotional support animal 2handlers.  The animal must be registered plus the handler/owner must provide a recent letter from a physician prescribing the emotional support animal for a specific physical or mental illness that limits one or more life activities in order to (apply for housing or) fly with the dog”

As such, detailed discussions took place with Turkish Airlines, Ankara Travel, KAR Pet Travel and Amy (Wags owner) about allowing Wags to travel in the cabin with his owner/handler. Pets can usually be carried in the cabin into Ercan with Turkish Airlines ONLY if they meet the size criteria (8 kg or the permitted cage size of 23 x 40 x 55cm.) – obviously Wags is much much larger than that!

Documentation had to be supplied and suitable aircraft types considered. It was finally agreed that Wags could fly from Chicago to Ercan (via Istanbul), in the cabin with Amy, late September

I was concerned that the airport staff at Ercan may be somewhat concerned about Wags (who is a large dog ) unusual arrival at Ercan–  pets usually enter in secure travel boxes or holdalls – not by walking down the steps off of the aircraft.

Information, about Emotional Support Animals, was put together and then translated into Turkish which I took to Ercan in readiness for Wags arrival.

The Customs duty officials read the information and had lots of questions about Support Animals in general but also about Wags himself. They then went onto the concourse and explained the situation with the ground crew and also the passport control and security officers.

The flight arrived and amidst a packed passport control hall Wags entered. There were many stares, and some looWagsks of horror, by other passengers, at the large black muzzled dog walking amongst them in the arrival hall. He was accompanied obviously by Amy, but also by an Airport official, who after liaison with me, helped to clear the way for Amy and Wags through passport control and into the Customs airside office to meet with me. There the Customs papers and vet entry process was completed by me, although some of it had been completed during the wait for the flight to land, whilst Amy set off to retrieve her luggage.

It did not take too long for the entry process and checks to be completed and then Amy and Wags were free to leave the baggage hall area and go out into Arrivals to meet their friends.

Wag’s “tale” is an excellent example of how much Pet Travel (both Import and Export) in the TRNC has progressed and how attitudes have changed and are constantly changing. The working relationship between Ercan staff, Turkish Airlines and KAR Pet Travel has culminated in a much better understanding, empathy and willingness to meet all of the very different situations and circumstances that KAR Pet Travel presents to them.

Wags and Amy are now happily living here in the TRNC and Wags is continuing to carry out his special duties – but we do wonder if his TRNC doggy friends fully understand his American accent !!!

 

3 thoughts on “Northern Cyprus – Ercan meets its first Emotional Support Dog

  1. HI Team,
    First of all a big, big congratulations to Kim and the KAR team in Kyrenia and a big thank you, in the name of the voiceless, for all your very hard work, in the animal rescue center. I do wish so many more English and locals join your efforts in animal care and rescue, in 2016 and in the years to come.
    I have read your above article on Wags, but did not see what an ’emotional support dog’ is.
    I myself would like to give my emotional support to my own dog who must undergo a long and frightening journey to Durban via Istanbul soon. But I live in Europe. We hope he can come to Europe with only a very short stop over in IST.
    Who can assure me all will go well.
    Keep up the great work your are doing.
    Ginger

  2. Hi Ginger – thank you for your kind words – we too hope that more people will become involved in the welfare of the stray cat and dog population here in TRNC.
    To simplify.. an “Emotional Support” dog is a dog whose owner has/suffers with some disability (either physical or otherwise) and particularly relies on their dog for support in their everyday life. The dog “supports” their “owner/handler” in an “emotional” way – especially during potentially difficult tasks/periods.
    If you need any further information about your dogs future travel arrangements then please do not hesitate to contact Kim in KAR Pet Travel on kar@kyreniaanimalrescue.org or call 009 0533 8694098. I am sure that she will be able to help as KAR Pet Travel has helped many pets relocate to many places across the world.

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