Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Beware of the dog(ma)

Today was my first chance to visit Bondi out at the Eastern Creek Quarantine Station, about 40km west of central Sydney. This is Bondi's second stay courtesy of AQIS, and he is almost exactly twice as old as he was the first time. Last time he shared a pen with his brother Dougal, and had refused all food from his arrival until I flew in from the US some days later. I wasn't really happy with the state of the facilities because a permanent trickle of water down the concrete slab meant that both dogs were constantly slipping about, and both had wet raw patches on their limbs from falls.

The station has two open slots for registered visitors on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Extra weekday visits can be arranged to enable exercising in one of the small outdoor pens. I find it rather depressing to visit because apart from dealing my own dog's unhappiness, you see a few dozen other dogs who are possibly not getting visited at all. Queensland, for instance, has no quarantine station, so it's unlikely that dogs bound for that state will get any visits or exercise for the duration of their stay. Worst of all are the cases where owners have not thought of their pets until the last minute before an international journey, and condemned their dogs to 6 months in quarantine.

Bondi was looking good when I turned up, although a bit edgy and intense. I brought along one of his old toys, a stuffed hedgehog, that I'd found in the storage locker, plus a handful of ginger biscuits to act as methadone, weaning Bondi off Keith's presence at Munson's cafe each day.

Bondi's food/medication sheet on his door displayed no indication of the capsules I had despatched with him last week. When I spoke to the office staff, they said it was becoming increasingly common for customs officials along the journey to confiscate medication tied to the dog's crate. Because AQIS has no in/formal relationship with any of the agencies involved in such a journey, they never know who is responsible or why it is done.

When I got home, I emailed the transportation folks back in the UK. It turned out that they had not replaced the medication that I had bagged with his paperwork. Very careless, and sadly a little typical of what I had experienced with the organisation of this particular journey. I was amused to hear that Bondi "caused a stir at British Airways when we had to get him out of his box for it to be X-rayed (his size terrified a few of the handlers)."

This evening I went with Mark S to see Phil in the current Wharf Revue,"Beware of the Dogma". Phil presented his inaugural Kevin Rudd impersonation, while Jonathan absolutely inhabited the role of Paul Keating as he delivered his verdict on the state of the nation.

1 comment:

  1. Bondi is looking good...but the concrete cell he is in doesn't look that inviting!