I'm Lauren, and my husband Andrew is currently serving in the United States Marine Corps. We are stationed in Okinawa, Japan and are wanting to raise money to bring our very loved dog, Titan, home to the states. Titan is a 3 (almost 4) year old German Shepherd and we've had him since he was just a six week old puppy. Titan is truly one of my best friends - he spent every single day by my side when my husband was deployed in 2015 for six months. He's the most playful, cuddliest pup in the world who I love SO much and I don't know what I would do without him. This is a dog who brings us a toy at the door every time we leave, no matter how long we've been gone, who gives the best cuddles in the world, and who is so happy to run his heart out in our tiny, Okinawa yard. He is such a wonderful part of our family and we are devastated at the cost to bring him back to the states from Japan.
My husband will be ending his active duty service from the military, and we will be moving back to the states in the next month. When we brought Titan out here, we originally planned on using United Airlines Petsafe program (the cheapest option) to bring him home. They have completely stopped flying the 700 series (giant) kennel - no exceptions made. This is the kennel Titan needs to fly in (with five inch extenders because he's a big, healthy pup with BIG ears) - unfortunately there are NO other commercial airlines who fly this size kennel from Japan.
Our only option left is to use a third party transportation service - Sarah's Pet Paradise, who has quoted us approximately $6,611 (this may change a tiny bit depending on the current dollar to yen exchange rate). Here is the breakdown of the cost for his flight:
Okinawa to Narita Airport: ¥95,304
Pet Hotel in Narita: ¥10,800
Narita Airport Transport/Handling Fee: ¥50,000
Narita Airport to LAX: ¥578,000
It will also cost us $45 per day to have him boarded at the LAX Kennel Club while my husband separates from the military for about ten days. This will be another $500 or so.
We will then drive him from Los Angeles, to our new home in Colorado. We are looking at paying a minimum of $7100 from start to finish.
We absolutely LOVE Titan and cannot imagine a life without him in it. A couple of questions you might be wondering that I would love to answer now -
"Will the military pay for his flight?" - Sadly no - there are extremely limited spots on the military flights that leave from Okinawa, and there is currently a weight limit of 150 pounds (dog and kennel combined) which Titan exceeds.
"Are there grants available to help pay for this?" - Yes, but sadly most of them are out of funding for the year (that I have seen, including Dogs on Deployment) since so many families are using them up since the United Airlines change. There is one for the SPCAI's Operation Military Pets Program that I will be applying to, who give anywhere from $500-$1,000.
"Is there a cheaper airline you can fly with from Okinawa?" - Again, sadly no! All airlines that leave from Japan have dog/kennel restrictions. Most of them don't allow Kennels over the 500 series (XL) kennel, or for the dog/kennel to be over 100 pounds.
I know that was a LOT to read, and I can't thank you enough for coming this far. ANY amount donated will be extremely helpful and so incredibly appreciated. As you can imagine, asking for help is something completely out of our comfort zones, so we are TRULY grateful for anyone who donates. I also want to add that we have been saving as much money as we can, but moving overseas will be extremely expensive, as we are essentially starting over in Colorado. If you are unable to donate but have read our story, I would LOVE if you could share this page with your dog loving friends. I do have to say that I 100% plan on paying it forward years from now, when we are in a more financially secure state to do so. Nothing would make me happier than being able to pay for someone's pup to travel across the world to be reunited with their family, and I FULLY intend on doing this when that day comes.
THANK YOU SO, SO MUCH. For reading our story and for keeping our family together. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. <3
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