USDA Grade A certified

USDA shield
Grade A shield from the USDA website

This morning we had to have Heather at the vet for a 9:10 appointment. That was not a problem when we first made the appointment and lived 5 minutes from the office but since we’re in a hotel over an hour away we didn’t look forward to making the trek during rush hour traffic. As with all other aspects of this move, not to worry.

The long-stay residence where we’re staying this week includes breakfast, but we skipped it this morning to get an early start across Atlanta. It paid off by putting us in our former town well ahead of our appointment and allowing us the guilty pleasure of a stop at Donut King. We justified that stop because the bakery is located adjacent to the city park where we like to walk Heather. Any excuse.

Our vet had already completed most of the 7-page form that anyone who takes an animal out of the country needs, so after a quick physical exam we were finished with part 1 of today’s 2-part task. She didn’t even charge us extra for all of the time it took to complete the form, so we were on a roll. Our next stop was the USDA office where a federal veterinarian verified that the form was filled in correctly, stamped her seal on the last page, collected 38 dollars from us, and we were ready to go.

That second stop made me feel as if we had already transitioned to our new location. Most, if not all French government offices close for lunch as do many retail businesses, at least in Carcassonne. Our USDA appointment today was at 1 PM because that office is closed daily from 11 AM to 1 PM. We learned when applying for our visa that the more paperwork you carry with you, an original and at least one copy, the better your chance of succeeding with federal, state, and municipal agencies. You also have to do your own homework by checking the agency website and looking for Internet accounts of others who have gone before you to ensure that you take everything requested with you. Today a couple hoping to move their dog with them to Italy next week only just discovered the process involved so they will need to make a return visit to the USDA once they have all of their documents.

When I was looking for a visual to go with today’s post, this logo from the United States Department of Agriculture’s grading system seemed appropriate. Then when I realized that it included the same blue, white, and red order of colors as the French flag, it was a definite.