Belle is living on borrowed time. She must leave the BVIs tomorrow, because she doesn’t have the appropriate paperwork. It’s only because of Mike’s charm that Belle can leave without her tail tucked between her legs. That and $75.
We tried to find the right paperwork. The website for the government of the British Virgin Islands is a bureaucratic maze, bogged down by the United Kingdom’s numerous outlying protectorates, each claiming a string of departments to sort through. When we couldn’t locate an official who could explain the requirements, Mike and I decided to wing it.
Belle was legal on our first trip into the BVIs, only 10 days ago. We checked in through Jost Van Dyke and that’s the key: the more distant the customs office, the fewer the questions. This time, we checked in through West End, Tortola, and the inquiry about pets followed the one about whether we had firearms on board.
We had to wait for a veterinarian to arrive at the West End customs office to review Belle’s existing paperwork. We didn’t have a permit to bring her in, which must be processed 48 hours in advance of arrival. Also, we didn’t have a certain rabies test administered by Kansas State University that tests a blood sample from a pet following the vaccination to determine its efficacy. Manhattan, Kansas, has become somehow the worldwide arbiter in maintaining a rabies-free environment.
Mike readily paid the $75 required for the permit. There was nothing he could do about the K-State test, however, and Belle is confined to the boat until we leave for St. Martin tomorrow afternoon.
Bad dog! Bad owners!