Or, in my case, a cat.
So I decided that I would leave my cat with my mother, who loves cats to the point of obsession, and occasionally talks for them. She gets upset when she chastises them for something and they don't immediately respond; I occasionally have to remind her that they don't speak English. Or if they do, it's only selectively, filtered through a Don't Care hearing aid.
My mom lives in London, Ontario, which tries really hard to be like the real London and fails miserably; although there is a river Thames here and a Wellington Rd. and some truly abominable food, it is too small and pretentious and full of Canadians to be really London. It is also, apparently, the insurance capital of Ontario. I don't know if that means they sell the most here, or that everyone is so rich that they take out the most insurance, protecting not just their lives and houses and cars but also their teeth and Prada handbags and show dogs named Fifi.
I used to live, and my cat is from Pittsburgh, PA. In case you hadn't noticed, these are two different countries. So I had to make my cat an international traveler, and I was mostly worried they would do to him what they claim to do at the Australian border: quarantine the animal for six months until it is completely looked over by a vet and you pay them a million dollars. As it turns out, coming into Canada, you just have to have proof of a current rabies vaccination, for which verified certificate you have to pay your vet a million dollars.
I ignored the vet, called Transportation Canada or whatever they're called, and they told me the little printed piece of paper and rabies tag that I got when I got him vaccinated last would be enough. I was still nervous though. He's never been on a long car trip before, and I think he has post-traumatic flashbacks to the pound every time he gets near a carrier: he splays out all four legs and all claws on each leg as wide as they will go and screams and moans and hides under furniture.
So I just put him in the car. No carrier, just shoved him in the front seat with my sweater, a pillow, and some food in a dish. He meowed sadly for the first half an hour, and sat in my lap in between the steering wheel and my chest. I sit way up front because I have stumpy legs that barely reach the pedals, and he is a big fat cat, so there wasn't a lot of ROOM there, but he sat in it anyway and shed all over my pants to prove his point, which was, namely: I AM MISERABLE THAT YOU ARE DOING THIS TO ME.
Then, his gnat-like attention span kicked in and he retreated over to the other seta, first to queasily squat, then sit, then completely recline and curl up and go to sleep. That's what he was doing when we arrived at the border.
I was nervous. I had my passport ready, his vaccination stuff. I worried about how I would get him out of the car so they could look at him: in the carrier? Just hold him? His little nose twitched in his sleep. I hit the only border line I've ever been to where I could just drive right up to the gate; usually I have to wait for approximately 72 hours in line because I have a knack for always picking the one that goes slowest.
"Where do you live?" the guard asked. Damn, hard questions first. I explained my "no fixed address" thing, and he nodded.
"Bringing any tobacco or firearms?" Nope.
He waved me through.
That was it? I don't think he even NOTICED the cat. Given, my cat is black and white and he was sleeping on a black and white sweater, but still. Wouldn't you think he should have said, "Any livestock?"
So my cat is now officially Canadian. He lives with my mom. And he is going to make some new friends shortly, when I introduce him to her cats.