Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork

This week, the doggy adventures were largely bureaucratic. This week, I applied to Dogs Vic for a membership. Here in Australia, lots of organisations run on state lines, so to compete in many dog sports, you apply for a registration with your state board. Sled dog racing doesn't require a Dogs Vic registration, so we haven't bothered before, but since I've been exploring the world of obedience, rally and hope to one day compete in agility, it's now a necessity. We'll add Dogs Vic to our other memberships: SHCV, NVSDC, & ASSA. It's been on my to-do list for a while, but of course, I left it to the last minute. Starting to come up against a deadline, it was time to get the paperwork in the mail. 

Dogs Vic required us to sign our membership application to the effect that we would abide by their code of conduct. I was amazed that almost all of their major points related to dog breeding. Something I doubt I'd ever do, but I ticked all the boxes anyway and signed off. So did J, since we were applying for a dual membership. Then I moved into the dog paperwork. Czar, being a rescue dog, is desexed and without a pedigree, so we could only register him on the associate register. This means he is desexed & can't compete in conformation showing. No problem.

My first problem was his microchip number. I texted J who found Czar's paperwork and sent me a picture.  I've since been told that they won't like a handwritten number and will only enter a barcode, but this just means they won't include the microchip number at this stage. Then I realised that I needed a sterilisation certificate, for the associate register. 

me? A bored, destructive puppy? Never!

me? A bored, destructive puppy? Never!

Hmm. Czar came to J at 9 months. At the time, J was running SHCV Rescue. Czar and his littermate, a red female, had already been through two owners. Firstly, two young men had decided having two huskies in a small apartment was a good idea. When the huskies got too big and destructive for the apartment, they were taken in by a kind hearted lady who already had other animals, cats and birds and other pets. Unfortunately her kind heartedness was repaid by two high prey drive huskies trying to catch her other pets. Not a good idea. Somewhere along the line, they'd been desexed. But any paperwork for desexing, pedigrees or anything else had either been lost along the way or in subsequent house moves. J felt Czar was very switched on, and decided to adopt him himself, and found his littermate a good home. He's been with J ever since, a great lead dog and a wonderful addition to the household.

No sterilisation certificate. Oh well. He's male. It's obvious that he's been desexed. I rang the vet, and asked for an appointment to get him looked over and issued with a certificate.

Oh no, I was told. Unless the dog had been desexed by this clinic, they weren't prepared to give him paperwork. I started to sweat. I explained why I wanted it. I explained that he was a rescue dog; we didnt know which vet clinic had done the op. I pointed out that he has NO TESTICLES. The vet's receptionist was sympathetic, but stuck to her guns. (My office mates were starting to listen in, I must have sounded very strange.)

I texted J and anoth friend who had been helping me with the paperwork. She said her vet had certified a female for her, without having done the op, and that was the female. J and I discussed trying another vet. I rang Dogs Vic and explained my predicament. He's a rescue dog, I babbled, so we don't have any paperwork for birth or desexing, but he has NO TESTICLES. What can I do? (Office mates definitely listening in at this point.)

mu-um, I did wash back there, I swear!

mu-um, I did wash back there, I swear!

Their receptionist was very sympathetic, and offered a plan of attack. She suggested that I ask the registration officer about offering two other pieces of paperwork that listed the dog as desexed - council and microchip papers.  She put me through to the relevant person. I'm not sure I was as clear as the receptionist had been, but I was a little calmer, and managed not to say the dog had NO TESTICLES. The registration officer reassured me that a cover note and the alternative paperwork would be given due consideration.

I rang J. Could we produce the alternative paperwork? No? Really??  

Back to ringing the vet. I told the receptionist that I was desperate. The Dogs Vic staff had told me that they'd accept a letter headed statement that the dog was tattooed as desexed. The receptionist went to check with the vet. One of the guys in my office said, no testicles means no puppies, they've got to admit it. Without crossing his legs protectively I might add. I have some great officemates this year.

Left ear: Proof that he has NO TESTICLES, for when its not enough to just NOT HAVE TESTICLES!

Left ear: Proof that he has NO TESTICLES, for when its not enough to just NOT HAVE TESTICLES!

After a decent pause, the receptionist came back. The vet would give me a letter, had we been there before? Yes. Ah, but we weren't on the computer system - the only Czar on their books was a cat. I ground my teeth. We got an appointment for 7pm. Thank heavens for vets with evening opening hours.

When we got to the vet, the lovely MY was on duty, and in the waiting room when we arrived. Since we started going to this vet, I've seen her almost every appointment I've gone to, and she knew me by sight. Czar and Frankie have only seen her once each, but she bound up Bolo's paw several times last year, when he had that wound that wouldn't heal. She greeted Czar with great pleasure, and I blurted out, apparently we're not in the computer system?

Of course you are, she reassured me, and then it clicked. Sterilisation certificate? That was you? I'll do it straight away. 

I was so relieved, that I started babbling again, explaining to the whole waiting room that Czar had been working so well, we just wanted to be able to try competition, I was trying to meet a deadline, he was a rescue dog. The lady with the daschund puppy nodded sympathetically and exclaimed at Czar's good behaviour. 

Right ear: the mystery mark... An M?

Right ear: the mystery mark... An M?

MY came round the desk from the computer and checked Czar's ears for his sterilisation tattoo. She checked both ears, and found that Czar actually had a tattoo in each. One was the circle with the line through it, for desexing. The other, she said, was an ID tattoo. She finished the letter, printed and signed it for us. No charge. She's wonderful, always a big smile and so patient.

I took the precious letter home and got the rest of the paperwork sorted. Council registration numbers. Copies of our IDs, to prove our address. Addressing the fat envelope, I asked J about the ID tattoo in Czar's right ear. I'd only ever heard of racing kennels getting ID ink. Was it used by the SHCV rescue? No? So it was most likely from his breeder. Intriguing, to have some link to his early history. I hope that we can use it to find out who his breeder was. Like Philomena looking for her son in the Judy Dench movie, I hope we will like what we find. If anyone recognises the tattoo, please let us know- you can comment below, or send us a message through our a facebook page Sixteen Feet Blog.