Moving with a pet to most places is not a difficult thing to do.  However, moving with a pet to Hawaii is as challenging as it can get (unless you are moving from New Zealand, Australia, Guam, or the British Isles).  Hawaii (and the other countries listed) are completely rabies free and have a strict quarantine policy for all pets in order to keep it that way.  Because Hawaii is rabies free, pets are not required to get rabies vaccines here.  If rabies were to infect animals on the island, it would spread quickly and have devastating effects.

In order for a pet to enter Hawaii, it must be microchipped and be old enough to have had at least two rabies vaccinations in its lifetime.  Those things were not an issue for Dulce - done and done!  The kicker is the FAVN blood test:

"The Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralization (FAVN) test measures the response of an animal’s immune system to the rabies vaccine. More specifically, it is a virus neutralization assay developed to screen animal sera by a standard method for an adequate level of rabies antibodies following vaccination."  source

The FAVN test must be completed 120 days before the pet arrives in Hawaii.  If it is, the pet is then qualified for the "5 day or less quarantine" which can be an almost immediate release.  If the 120 days is not up before arrival to Hawaii, the pet must complete the remainder of those days in quarantine.  To read more about Hawaii's quarantine policy, go to http://hawaii.gov/hdoa/ai/aqs/FAQs.  We got the blood test done for Dulce as soon as we found out we were coming to Hawaii but she has to finish 35 of the 120 days in quarantine here.  Quarantine for each pet costs $14.30 a day plus $224.  Luckily, if you are active duty military like us, you will get reimbursed up to $550 of the total cost.

Going from Korea to Hawaii, Dulce had to have:  a microchip; a U.S. health certificate issued within 10 days of departure; FRONTLINE applied within 14 days of arrival; a current rabies vaccination certificate and tag; blood drawn and mailed for the FAVN test; and a Korean Health Certificate.  The Korean Health Certificate is issued at the Incheon Airport Animal Quarantine Office and took about 15 minutes to get.  It is recommended to get to that office at least 3 hours before departure.

When we arrived in Hawaii, we couldn't see Dulce until the next day.  She was taken directly from the plane to the Animal Holding Facility and then to the Quarantine Station.  After collecting our luggage and getting through customs, we had to go to the Animal Holding Facility and hand in her Korean health certificate, her current rabies vaccination certificate, the Hawaii cat and dog import form, and proof of an old rabies vaccination (an old certificate or receipt of the shot).

The quarantine station is run like a prison.  The entire complex is surrounded by a fence topped with barbed wire.  The inmates animals are locked in their cells kennels and aren't allowed to leave.  You must first check in at the business counter and get a visitor's pass (ours is good for 30 days), and then before entering the kennel area you must sign in and show your pass.  There are afternoon visiting hours five days a week, with no visitation allowed on Mondays or Fridays.  If you want to groom your pet (which must be done yourself), you can make a morning appointment to do it at a grooming station or you may groom your pet in their kennel during visiting hours.

The quarantine station has a list of rules that include things such as:  You must go directly to your kennel and not wander around; You must not feed, handle, or visit pets other than your own; You must not remove your pet from its kennel except for scheduled grooming; Cats cannot be removed from their kennels for any reason.

Though the station looks and feels intimidating.  It is kept very clean and all the employees are very nice and helpful.  The keeper even stopped by Dulce's kennel during our first visit to check up and ask us if there was anything special he could help with.  Although we don't want to leave her in the kennel at all, we feel very comfortable knowing she is in good hands.

There are hundreds of kennels at the quarantine station.  It is a quarter of a mile walk from one end of the station to the other.  You can imagine how noisy the station is with all of those animals.  The dogs on the ends of the rows start barking whenever they see anyone, which causes all of the other dogs in their row to start barking too.  The cats on the other hand, barely even turn to look at anyone passing by :)

The kennels are all outside (the weather is warm even at night) and are fairly spacious.  Small to medium dogs are placed in a 6' x 14' x 7' kennel.  Large dogs are placed in a 6' x 25' x 7' kennel.  The kennels are made of chain link fence with a sloped metal roof and a cement floor.  There is a tarp attached to one side of the kennels to provide shade.  The back of the kennel is mostly enclosed with a platform for a bed.  You must supply the bedding yourself.  Inside the main area of the kennel is a metal bench and a water dish that has a constant water supply.  Food dishes are distributed with food at feeding time and collected when the animals are finished eating.

We went to visit Dulce the day after we arrived.  She cried and cried for at least 30 minutes due to what I assume was the pure joy of seeing us again.  The poor thing was taken from us at the airport, put on a plane, and then transported to a kennel where she had to spend the night alone surrounded by barking dogs.  She is not a barker and is such a cuddle bug that I'm sure the whole ordeal was traumatizing for her!  We visit her about 4 days a week.  We take folding chairs with us and just hang out with her for an hour or so each time.  She covers us with a million wet doggie kisses and then cuddles on our laps and falls asleep.  We brought her a new bed, some toys, and some treats.  The quarantine station provides food which she is eating with no problems.  Since we visit so often, she's getting used to everything and no longer cries when she sees us.

Her release date is March 3 and we are all counting down the days!  There are many dog parks here that we can take her to and even an off-leash dog beach on Hickam AFB.  After going through all of this, one thing is for sure: Dulce will not be leaving Hawaii until we move again in three years!

"I hear the train a comin'
It's rollin' round the bend
And I ain't seen the sunshine
Since I don't know when
I'm stuck in Folsom Prison
And time keeps draggin' on"
~Johnny Cash


  1. Oh poor dear Dulce, gosh so sad. But it is almost over now. She will be enjoying paradise in no time. You have made her staying at the Quarantine easy by her looking forward to the nice visits. I make sure I never bring a pet to Hi.

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  3. Vaccination certification is more important during the quarantine process arriving into the state of Hawaii animal quarantine center.
    pet travel hawaii

  4. Ohhh my goodness!! Thank you so much for the awesome write-up you did on the quarantine facility. The military will be moving us to Oahu very soon and I have been more stressed about moving our "baby" than anything else on the list. Unfortunately Peanut will have to stay several weeks in quarantine due to orders being bumped waaay up, but now I find comfort in knowing that the facility seems ok and the workers were nice. :)


    1. Thank you! I'm glad you found the blog post helpful! It is so heartbreaking leaving your pet in the Quarantine, especially when you see them crying and barking as you walk away. But the animals are taken good care of and we had no complaints about the quarantine facility at all. Make sure you take a comfortable bed for Peanut to sleep in at night and visit as often as you can! Good luck on your move, I hope it all goes smoothly for you!