Being a fur parent requires big responsibility. It's almost the same as having your own kid, where you should be committed to taking care of them.

When Kela Salvador landed a job in Ohio, United States (US), she couldn't embark on a new chapter of her life without her dachshund named Dexter or Dex.

Salvador previously worked as a nurse at the Southern Philippines Medical Center for seven years, and when she was hired in a hospital in Ohio this year, she wanted to bring her dog with her.

An owner of 10 dogs, she said Dex was very special to her since 2018 when Dex was still six weeks old. Her dog was the first dog she owned, which was given to her friend from work.

She also finds her other dogs as her source of strength especially after a long stressful day as a nurse.

"Kanang grabe na kaayo imo stress, especially sa SPMC. (The stress, especially working in SPMC, is unbearable.) When you come home and then you see your dogs waiting, mawala gyud imo kakapoy (it all fades away),” she shared to SunStar Davao.

Even at SPMC, she also feeds a stray dog outside the hospital named "Tiger," whom she also misses.

She couldn’t imagine living without any dogs by her side, so she really exerted much effort to bring her dog to the US.

It wasn't an easy journey, Salvador said, as she had to process the papers as early as March this year due to the strict measures implemented by the US government on countries with high risk for rabies, including the Philippines.

Salvador said she allotted around P60,000 for Dex's permits and fare. The main requirements for Dex to fly were a microchip, anti-rabies vaccine and serology titer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) permit, health certificate, and Bureau of Animal Industry permit.

She shared that she had worked on the papers for her dog prior to securing an interview at the US Embassy.

Preparing Dexter’s travel papers was indeed a tedious process, which she said, was way more stressful than her application for work in the US.

"Grabe ka tight sa time frame. Actually wala ko nag-expect na madala gyud nako siya kay sa kadaghan niya'g papers. Mas stressful pa ang pag-apply og permit para madala siya kesa sa akoang mismo (It was a very tight time frame. I didn’t expect that I would be able to bring my dog due to the amount of papers I needed to comply. Securing permit for my pet is way more stressful than my job application)," she added.

But it was all worth it as they successfully embarked on their new adventure abroad last August 5, 2022.

However, the challenges of their journey didn’t end there.

Since Dex's weight was above some airline's limits to stay in a cabin, he stayed as a checked-in passenger, away from his fur mom.

The trip lasted for 16 hours: two hours from Davao to Manila, and 14 hours from Manila to Los Angeles. They had to make a stop at Los Angeles since there are only 18 airports in the US that allow dogs to enter. In addition, her dog had to be vaccinated against rabies before traveling to Ohio.

During the duration of the air travel, Salvador said she felt nervous, considering it would be the first time for her to travel with her dog on a plane.

This as she saw some videos online that some owners who tried to bring their pets onboard would die during the trip due to stress.

"The whole time, akong mind is naa kay Dexter kay gina-imagine nako ang (all I could think of is the situation of Dexter because I could imagine the) worst case scenario, like same sa mga TikTok [videos] na pag-claim nila sa ero wala na (like the videos I saw on TikTok wherein their pets would be claimed dead)," Salvador said.

She was finally at peace upon seeing her dog safe and sound upon arriving at the airport in the US.

"Pagkuha nako sa LA, wala siya nalibang, wala siya nagsuka, wala pud siya nangihi (he did not poop, vomit, nor peed during the duration of the trip)," Salvador said.

Among her dogs, Dex is the only dog she had that can tolerate long travels.

"Si Dexter ang pinaka-chill. Didto nako na-realize katong nagbyahe mig Mati. Wala lang siya. Matug lang siya the whole travel (Dexter is very chill in travels. I realized it when we traveled to Mati City. He just slept the whole travel)," Salvador said.

Literally, she went the extra mile just to bring her dog with her.

Admittedly, she was on the verge of giving up after encountering such challenges in the process of applying for permits.

But because of her determination, she was able to successfully bring her dog to the States. She is hoping to bring her remaining fur babies with her in the future.

But for now, she is cherishing her moments with Dex.

She hopes that other pet owners would also be successful in bringing their pets when migrating.

Thus, she posted her experience online, and even posted a detailed post on what requirements to secure when bringing their dog abroad.

Since then, she has been receiving messages, and inquiries, of which she also learned that other pet owners are also struggling to bring their pets even on domestic travels.

With this, she reminded them to prepare necessary requirements before traveling with their pets.

"In the end, ma-realize gyud nila na (they would realize) it's all worth it,” Salvador said.

She also hopes that the government, and airline companies would be “pet friendly” in their requirements.

“Wala man ta kabalo na dako ni’g help ning mga pets sa ato kay sila maka-relieve sa atong stress (They don’t know how helpful pets are in relieving our stress),” Salvador said.