Xpat Super Dog!

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Three years have past since we moved to China!

Three years of living as an expat far away from my country, my family, my friends, and most importantly from my Luna!

Lunchi is having one of the Israeli heat waves..

Lunchi is having one of the Israeli heat waves..

At my sister’s garden, in Israel

At my sister’s garden, in Israel

Luna is my moon! My stars! My sun! My everything! She’s also my dog, or my daughter, as I prefer to call her, which I found in the streets of Tel Aviv 7 years ago.

The story of how I found her is too long but I can tell you it was destiny! I always wanted a dog since I was a little girl, and I always wanted a Labrador, so when I found her wounded, scared and with no where to go I knew she was be mine.

So after 4 years of raising her as my only daughter, I had to make a big decision, the hardest one in my life! Here I was getting an amazing opportunity to move to China with the love of my life, but how will I bring her too?

I don’t know the country, I don’t know what are the rules and I certainly don’t know how the hell is she suppose to come with me on a plane???

Skype with Luna on my birthday

Skype with Luna on my birthday

So my amazing parents (Thank you mom and dad!!) agreed to take care of her, only for the beginning, until I’ll figure out how exactly I can do it.

After arriving to Beijing, I realized that big dogs (higher than 30 cm) are not allowed inside the city. Then the process of getting the approvals, the registration and the transfer via plane is so complicated that it felt like mission impossible, but I didn’t give up yet!

I contact several pet relocation companies and I start getting really expensive proposals. I didn’t care about the money, I was more afraid of the flight itself and the connection and the quarantine conditions in China, as some companies told me that they stopped transferring pets to China because of the hard journey the pets have to go through.

So I said okay, I’ll postpone it for the first year and then we’ll see, time passes by and in the mean time my favorite brother (and my only one) agreed to take her under his care to Jerusalem. It was really great for her and took away some of the barren from my parents, but it wasn’t perfect yet, he was most of the time very busy in his studies and work and had to ask his roommates to help him a lot by taking her for a walk. And of course the worst thing is that she wasn’t with me!

Lunchi in my suitcase don’t want me to leave..

Lunchi in my suitcase don’t want me to leave..

After three years in China my husband and I had to decide rather we continue living in China or going back to Israel. Since we love it here and we still don’t want to come back we decided to stay, but only together with Luna!

Family time in bed back in Israel

Family time in bed back in Israel

So I decided that I’m going to do it!

Luna and her best friend Nena

Luna and her best friend Nena

Luna and her best friend Nena

Step number 1: 

Move to a new apartment with a park close by so she’ll enjoy the environment too and where we can register her.

Step number 2:

Talk with the veterinarian in Israel and with the clinic here in Beijing. Find out what is the procedure and which documents we need to bring in order to enter to China.

Step number 3: 

Talk with the airline company – in my case ELAL- only direct flight! Check the details for the flight, what you need to bring, which cage she needs to have, how much is the flight, what kind of documents they need.

Step number 4: 

Buy the cage, get her used to it, make her love it, so it will remind her of home feeling, put a blanket with her smell and our family’s smell so she will feel protected.

Step number 5: 

Check the procedure at the welcoming airport. I got a very helpful lecture at ICVS (International Center for Veterinary Services), which helped me a lot and gave me all the information I need in order to bring her into China. (Thank you Marry!)

Step number 6: 

Book your flight, go to Israel, get all the documents and bring her with you to China!!

Luna on the day of departure at Ben gurion airport

Luna on the day of departure at Ben gurion airport

Luna on the day of departure at Ben gurion airport

Here are some tips that might be helpful:

  • Freeze the water tank in the cage, so during the flight she will still have some water left. I gave her a bone and she ate it during the flight, just to keep her busy and not be afraid.
  • Make sure the airplane knows there is a dog in the plane and they will warm the area she’s staying at – they already know it, but just to keep calm myslef I told everyone I saw!
  • Bring with you a small bag with her food, so when you arrive she doesn’t need to get used to new food, as well as getting used to a new place.
  • I put her bed in the cage so at our home she will have her own bed.
  • Print a picture of your dog to have it with you, just in case something happens. I also printed a photo of her with her name and my phone number and put it on the cage in case there is delay and someone wants to take her for a walk.
  • After she arrives you pick her up from the luggage claim – thank god I was running after the plane landed, because she arrived before me and I heard barking when I arrive, she was sitting in her cage by herself next to the luggage claim.
Coming out of the plane, have to run fast!

Coming out of the plane, have to run fast!

  • Make sure there is a minivan or big car that come to pick you up from the airport.
The answer I didn't want to hear on Quora

The answer I didn’t want to hear on Quora

During the flight I was super nervous! I wish I had a small camera stuck in her cage and I could see her during the whole flight through my iPhone – can anyone please invent this app?!?

We arrived to the new home and I think in general the flight was okay, she didn’t cry at all and she didn’t seems to have any traumas, she slept a lot after the flight and she liked to smell a lot everywhere we went to, now she’s fluent already in Chinese and just enjoy her mommy spoiling her all the time.

My love with me in Beijing!

My love with me in Beijing!

Taking a passport photo for her licenses

Taking a passport photo for her licenses

Beijing fall

Beijing fall

Showing off with her new outfits

Showing off with her new outfits

Showing off with her new outfits

I really feel like that we are now a complete family! I don’t think I could have done it earlier because I didn’t know the language and I needed time to prepare for her coming. Well maybe 3 years is too much, but at least now she’s here with me and I’m the happiest person alive!

Nothing is impossible!

The day she arrived to her new home, feeling like a new family

The day she arrived to her new home, feeling like a new family

Thank you to all the people who helped me with the process:

My amazing parents – thank you for taking care of my baby, my brother who became Luna’s dad, I know it must be the hardest for you, for ICVS – for all the useful information, ELAL for being so efficient and supportive, Dr. Ben Ari – Luna’s vet in Israel, to Nena her best friend, to my amazing husband for his support; without him it wouldn’t be possible, and last but not least to my amazing Luna!

Already Chinese families posing with her to take a photo, just like a real Expat 

Already Chinese families posing with her to take a photo, just like a real Expat 



Meirav Markowitz

Meirav 梅花 Shacked - The Israeli girl beyond the Great FireWall (of China). Currently living and working in Beijing, China for the last 3 years, Meirav is involve in the local Chinese online & social media scenes as well as the conventional global platforms. Meirav loves a good 'night out' at a chic KTV (karaoke) club as well as getting lost in Beijing old town alleys (Hutongs) while posting her adventures on Instagram (@meimarko). She might just be the only blonde who commutes daily in the Beijing subway, along with 12 million other Chinese passengers.

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