Chapter 1: The Jargon
Time to read: Approximately 3 minutes
One of the headaches you will encounter when researching your trip is that there are no set definition of terms — each country will use their own wording, or where they may use a common phrase, have a differing scope or requirement to others.
One of the TravelPaws goals is to help unify that language. As such we have selected the terms below to refer to the array of examples you will encounter as you further your research with the official websites we link to.
TravelPaws also wishes to minimise the clinical language that Government departments use. For example, Governments may refer to travelling with your Assistance Dog as “importing and exporting a live animal”. Really?
“Assistance Dog” & “Eligibility Criteria”
Establish your eligibility to travel with an Assistance Dog as both defined by your own country and your destination. Most countries require that institutions for Assistance Dog training are members of the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) or Assistance Dogs International (ADI). Alternatively, your dog may need to be accredited under a law that provides for the accreditation of animals trained to assist a person with a disability to alleviate the effect of the disability. Regardless, you will be asked to provide evidence of this.
There is variation among and within countries regarding accreditation and regulation of Assistance Dogs. This presents a range of issues for Handlers who rely on their dogs to access the community.
“Travel Rules” & “Travel Process”
There is no agreed upon name that describes the entire bureaucratic ordeal involved with travelling with your Assistance Dog internationally. Countries have different terms and requirements. For simplicity, we refer to all of this as that country's “Travel Rules”. The process you as a Handler will undertake in order to follow those requirements we call the “Travel Process”, which may involve:
- Permit applications
- Vaccinations and testing
- Veterinary inspections
- Permit checks and;
- Quarantine Isolation.
Government structures vary, and they don't all give the same duties to the same department. Some give the responsibility of handling your travelling queries to either their: Food, Agriculture, Borders/Customs, Disease Control or a Human Services department. Whoever you need to talk to first, we call them that country's Responsible Authority.
When we refer to a permit we mean the document that is signed by your veterinarian and shown at every border of entry and exit. It could be called your “papers”, a “permit” or “animal health certificate”.