Friday, February 7, 2014


As I write this, Jigs the cat is curled up in a ball at my feet.  He is snoozing contentedly, and he is microchipped with an AVID 9-digit chip compatible with Hong Kong regulations.  That is the end of the story. 

Let me start at the beginning.  See, we are moving to Hong Kong in the fall and have decided to take our cat with us.  Amongst the myriad of red tape designed to keep pets off of the island, there is a microchipping  requirement.  After having run into dead ends in the US over Christmas to find and purchase the right chip to bring back to our vet in Korea, I again commenced the hunt with the aid of my Korean neighbor and retired English teacher, Helen.  One night  Helen escorted me over to the government office in Suji to get a microchip, only to find the laws in our district had changed January first.  That meant we would have to wait at least 6 more weeks before the vet would be ready with the new system.  Luckily, after several phone calls over two days, Helen was able to learn that a nearby district's vet office had exactly what we needed.  

What joy!  I had finally arrived at the last leg of this particular red tape journey!  Now I just needed to get my cat to this vet.  But how?  And where was it?  Helen once again came to my rescue.  By this point she was fairly invested in the whole business, so she volunteered to accompany us to the vet.  Anna decided to come too.  So, at the agreed upon time and date, I stuck Jigs in his cat carrier and met Helen by our elevator.  Off we go.  First, a short bus ride to nearby Migeum station area with the cat meowing at regular intervals.  "Sorry, Jigs.  This should be just a few minutes," Anna soothed.  Off the bus and on the street we headed in the direction that my internet research had led me to believe we should go.  But no.  Nothing there.  

This began The Quest for the Vet's Office.  Helen, now emerging as the heroine of our story, asked anyone and everyone (in Korean, of course) where we were to go to find this place.  The cat continued to meow.  Passersby wondered at the unfamiliar sound in the midst of the busy city.  Anna soothed, "It's okay Jigs, we will be there soon," and handed me the carrier.  Off again.  More walking.  More inquiries.  A phone call..  . All done by Helen, mind you.  More meowing.  More soothing.  Until finally after what was about 30 minutes and one and a half miles of walking, we found ourselves at the vet.  Hallelujah!

Now it was Jig's turn for bravery as the vet inserted a giant needed with a teeny tiny AVID 9-digit-Hong-Kong-compatible microchip between his shoulder blades.  He was very brave.  

After just a 10 minute walk back to the bus (yes, we essentially had walked in a big square) and much meowing later, we arrived at the bus stop.  Jigs continued to complain, Anna continued to coo, and all was right with the world.

For the moment.

Still more adventures to come. . . .