Totaled, it was a solid cumulative three hours on the phone over about six hours in all, and I was beyond frustrated by the end. Wednesday morning, we had received a response from the Scottish department of agriculture, and we exchanged further emails over the next few hours. Our correspondence soon revealed two things:
1. Guide dogs are allowed to fly into Glasgow through other airlines, only US Airways lacked some approval or did not themselves approve it. I haven’t quite figured out what the issue specifically is with that. Either way, there is no Scottish or EU regulation saying guide dogs cannot travel through Glasgow airport, and he did say that one could fly through Edinburgh on US Air, so clearly most of the US Airways people I spoke to were wrong about that.
2. I sent him Oleta’s paperwork electronically to make sure that everything was in order for her to enter the country the next morning. To my horror, he emailed back saying Oleta’s tape worm treatment was no longer valid, because of the visa delay, and getting a new treatment that day with a doctor’s note would not be sufficient. Not only did the tape worm treatment have to be within 72 hours of arrival in the UK, it also could not be within 24 hours of it. We would have to get another treatment, schedule an appointment with the vet to complete a fresh set of paperwork, drive 8 hours to Richmond and back to have it restamped by the department of agriculture, oh, and reschedule my flights… again. That was impossible… all of it, for so many reasons, and I knew it. As soon as my Dad read the email to me, I burst into tears and tried to keep myself together long enough to make some phone calls to my guide dog school. I needed somewhere for Oleta to stay for 4 weeks, and I hated it, but it had to be done. I wasn’t together at all. I sobbed my way through the various necessary conversations, then majorly broke down on my floor for a while. I basically didn’t stop crying until I fell asleep on the plane that night, alone, without Oleta by my feet for the first time in four years. I have never had such a distressed slumber, and I haven’t slept well since.
So there you have it. My best friend/soul mate/partner in completely legal activities has been forced from my side. I want to continue with a discussion on the legalities and a better system of international travel for guide dog users, but after another hour of crying (the first since arrival surprisingly), I don’t have the energy. Make your own judgements, and if it frustrates you as much as it does me, share this (and the previous) post.
Until then, I know that God is providing for us even now, with a loving family and a Guiding Eyes puppy raiser to care for my Little One with Wings in the best way possible while I’m away. For me, He has provided purpose in our missions work here in Scotland, reunion with precious friends, and a team of some of the most compassionate and generous individuals there are. Thank you Lord for your comfort in these difficult days.