My children and I moved to Iceland, from England, just over one week ago after a year of meticulous careful planning and much excitement at the prospect of embracing what is a unique and magical culture here in Iceland. We feel very happy and indeed privileged to be here amidst beautiful surroundings and a loving community. However, this new found happiness does have a tinge of sadness too and I wanted to share our story.
Since he was a puppy, Danny dog has been by my side and over the last 5 years our relationship has developed and flourished to a level that far surpasses what one may expect between an owner and dog. In my case, Danny has been a guiding light to me through a medical condition that I will have for the rest of my life, providing support, comfort, loyalty and relief in times of great difficulty; and in his case, he has the best life an animal could wish for.
Why am I telling you this? Well, after jumping through many proverbial hoops for MAST, Danny Dog was officially approved for import to the country back in April – but the MAST strike then commenced on the day he was due to fly out (20th April), leaving him unable to fly. Prior to commencement of the strike, I was told by MAST that should their strike go ahead, the medical procedures that had been performed in compliance with their specified guidelines would have to be repeated in accordance with their expiration dates.
Mindful that my children and I would be moving to Iceland just one month later and also that there is only one opportunity each month to get a dog into quarantine, I had no choice but to re-do the blood tests, salmonella test and the parasite tests as soon as they expired in anticipation that the strike would end. Sadly though, a month later the strike had not ended and we had to leave him behind in England when we moved here on 30th May. We could not change the moving date either, because I had to surrender the keys to my property back in England following the sale and as a consequence of this, Danny Dog is now living with relatives.
With no end in sight to the strike there are a few concerns I have about poor Danny, besides missing him terribly. Firstly, there is the fact that he is now overdosing on treatments for parasites, which actually last 12 weeks, (and we have no choice but to stay up to date according to MAST specifications, because otherwise we won’t get him into the country when the strike does end). But the main issue is that the longer we are apart, the more stressful it is for Danny. Scientific research has shown that dogs, even the intelligent ones, only have the emotional development of a 3 year old child and knowing I am not there – but not knowing why, will leave Danny feeling anxious, confused and abandoned. Being responsible for him, I feel overwhelming guilt in relation to this situation, as it really does feel as though I have moved house and left a member of my family behind. We just hope as each day passes that a resolution will be found.
Of course, I am not naïve or selfish enough to think that the situation with my dog is anywhere near comparable to the more pressing issues surrounding the numerous ongoing strikes, or the profound implications of the strikes on many other people. Also, it is noteworthy that I am very sympathetic to the plight of the hard working individuals partaking in strikes, who merely seek fairer conditions in their chosen fields. That said, l hope a resolution can be found for MAST soon – for Danny’s wellbeing and for mine – because saying “Bless Bless” to Danny Dog and not knowing when we will be together again is one of the saddest things I have had to do.