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Cruising With A Service Dog....everything You Ever Wanted To Know!


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I have a cruise booked May 17 and am having problems with the paper work. We are going to Tortola and they have requirements. I have gone to the Vets and gotten all his information but then I need to get this information to the US Dept of Agriculture for a seal. I was told that there is one is Hartford Connecticut (we are in new haven). The form is called a APHIS #7001

 

Today I called the Dept in Hartford and then asked if I needed a state signature or Federal signature. I told them I don't know. They said probably a Federal signature and he doesn't come except on Tuesday and Friday. I cannot get a ride on Friday and time is getting short as I need this paper work sent at least 3 weeks before the cruise (Which is around May 1).

 

Anyone have any ideas of how to get this done expeditiously so I can meet the time frame. I am being told that without the proper paperwork, Tortola won't let the boat dock.

 

HELP (please).

 

Thanks.

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I'll be doing the disney eastern intinerary so that would be St. Maarten, St Thomas and Castaway Cay. I'll be ok entering St. Maarten as I'm dutch. We can enter our homeland without having to arrange anything for the SD other than having the standard papers with you. As I understand it from Disney, Castaway Cay isn't a problem neither. I'm assuming since St. John is American Virgin Islands, they'll have the same regulations as when I enter the US mainland with my SD, right?

 

Never assume anything about any of the regulations. You need to find out for sure what all the regulations are for each country. Some countries list this on their Web sites, others you will have to call up. (You could try calling that country's embassy in your country first if you'd prefer not to make an international call unless absolutely neccessary. I don't know if they will for sure know the info. or be willing to get it for you, but it couldn't hurt to try.)

 

I haven't been to any of those places, so I don't know the requirements for entry into them.

 

Most of all I'm looking for the practical tips, do's and don'ts. I'm new to all of this. I'm getting my SD one of these days soon but so far nil experience with a SD, let alone cruising solo with a SD. The cruise wont be untill 2009 and hopefully the SD will be here soon enough (should be) to come along with our family on our trip to the US this year. That would give me at least some experience in flying and doing 'normal' travel with the SD before doing the cruise.

 

Congratulations (soon)! Do let us know when you get your SD and tell us all about him/her! :D I do hope you get him before your land trip, as that will give you experience that will be good for you before the cruise.

 

For instance; what way do others make sure there is enough dogfood on the cruise? Drag along a suitcase full of it? ;)

 

For any trip (land or cruise), except long trips to our summer house (we drive ourselves there), I put one meal (serving) of dried food in a sandwich-sized Ziploc bag. I roll all the air out of it (makes it take up much less space in luggage and also prevents something sharp from popping the bag like a balloon, sending food everywhere) and seal it. Since my dog has a half can of canned food for breakfast, I bring enough cans for our trip as well as a silicone doggy canned food spoon I found in a pet store one day (it is great for travelling!). She gets the dried food for dinner, so I bring enough filled Ziploc bags for the length of our trip. For flying on planes, I put one can and one filled Ziploc of food in my carry-on, just in case the checked luggage gets lost/delayed. (That is a day and a half worth of food.)

 

I pack my dog's supplements separately - for the Welactin (salmon oil) and Dasuquin (for joint prevention), I just bring the original containers. Since the container for Nupro is the hugest thing EVER, I put a bit more than what we need for the trip in a tupperware-type container. (It is a great product - by Oxo brand and it seals the container air-tight when you press the big button on top to seal the cap on. Then, just push the button again and it opens up! I found it at Bed, Bath, & Beyond but have seen it online in a catalog since then, as well. It is a kitchen product.) Oh - and I make sure to put the Welactin bottle inside a sealed gallon-sized Ziploc bag (with the excess air rolled out) to make sure it doesn't spill FISH all over the suitcase!! :eek: (Even though the suitcase is just for my dog's stuff, ya still don't want it to spill!)

 

Do the supplies needed for the dog also count as 'medical equipement' (as in free of charge) on the american airlines?

 

Yes, but check to make sure the airline you are flying on doesn't count medical equipment in checked luggage (it isn't required that they do this - it is only required that they not count medical equipment as carry-on bags). The airlines I fly have a two checked bag per person limit and I almost always only have one checked suitcase for myself, so just put my dog's bag as my second one in the limit since I don't really have a reason to declare it a medical bag. On my cruise trip I did need a third bag for items I needed but couldn't get on a ship, so I did have to declare one of the bags as being medical. (Really, the extra bag [little duffel] was also a medical bag, as was my SD's bag, but I only needed to declare one since I just had three bags.)

 

How do you pick out excursions when you're travelling solo with a SD? What are great and perhaps not so good places to explore ashore?

 

First, I check out what access laws, if any, the country I'm visiting has. If they don't have access laws for SDs or said laws don't apply to my type of disability (i.e. Mexico only has laws for guide dogs, not mobility dogs), I e-mail with the excursion beforehand to explain to them what SDs are and how I need mine with me (including listing some of the tasks she does, like mobility - I don't tell them my disabilities, however). You could also call them, of course, but I prefer e-mail. When I go to the Bahamas, the place we stay has SD access built into its bylaws, so access isn't a problem for us when we're anywhere on the resort's property. Once we go into town, there is nothing protecting us, but we haven't had any access denials - we just explain what SDs are and everything. Ppl there are usually nice and understanding.

 

Of course, when choosing excursions, you want to choose ones that are safe for the dog (no hang-gliding! LOL!!) as well as safe for yourself. (That reminds me of a joke: Why don't blind ppl skydive? It scares the dog! :p )

 

I'm not very worried about things not going great. We'll be fine! I'm just looking for some very practical information.

 

I think you'll feel more settled once you get used to the SD lifestyle and get into the groove of having your furry helper go everywhere you go.

 

 

The behaviour-part of it all should be covered. :) Our system is a bit different than that of the US SD's. For a dog to officially become an SD they have to fit a very clear set of rules and each dog has to have had their education within or counceled by a dogschool. The dogschool I use starts socialising the dogs at about 8 weeks old and training goes on untill about 20/22 months of age. They also keep doing follow ups after matching and training the team so there really is no room for less than impeccable behaviour from neither dog nor person. And rightfully so.

 

 

That is cool. Most of the programs and trainers here do recertification every year or every other year, but ppl are also allowed to train their own SDs.

 

There is another thread about SDs on this board where I listed some tips for flying with an SD (i.e. not to feed or water it before the flight, offer it some ice cubes, etc.).

 

If you have other questions, ask away! I love talking about SDs. :)

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Today I called the Dept in Hartford and then asked if I needed a state signature or Federal signature. I told them I don't know. They said probably a Federal signature and he doesn't come except on Tuesday and Friday.

 

Call Tortola and ask what type you need! Make sure you get the kind they are looking for!!

 

Anyone have any ideas of how to get this done expeditiously so I can meet the time frame. I am being told that without the proper paperwork, Tortola won't let the boat dock.

 

I don't know, as I haven't been anywhere that I need to get such a signature on the certificate, but I do know it is important to follow the country's rules. Get a taxi or take a bus if need be. Call a local church or Lions Club-type place for help if you need to. If the boat can't dock without the paperwork, the cruiseline probably won't let you on board without the paperwork - they're not going to want one person make the whole ship miss a port.

 

It is important to check the regulations many months before your trip so you can be well-prepared with appointments, rides, etc. on the dates you need them. I always schedule my SD's vet appointments for health certificates months in advance of our trip so I am sure to get an app't with the right kind of doctor (not all of them can sign the certificate - only two of them at our clinic can) on the right day.

 

Let us know how it turns out!

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Hey everyone...over on the "Ask a question" boards I have a poll going on about cruising with a service dog. Come on over and take the poll, also read what your fellow cruise critics have to say on the subject. You can even click on the button to see how everyone voted! here's the link http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=75982

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pmfan: The link was pulled! What about Brenda?

For most foreign ports, other than Europe and Hawaii; the Agricultural Inspection Form and the below docs. (I mention) are all that is needed to board and go ashore, in all foreign ports! Make sure that you have at least 2 copies of these papers. Keep one in the safe and one on you. The purser will make a copy from yours. I checked with Immigration, while in Puerto Vallarta and although some agents/officers may be more aggressive than others, if you have all your documentation in order:

  • 1. Ag. Insp. Form (this form has all the necessary information about the dogs immunizations and must be signed by the vet.)
  • 2. Dogs city license (this carries a lot of weight with immigration.) Where I live, my city requires that ALL dogs have a city license. Service Dogs are not charged but they are licensed by the city.
  • 3. Service Dog Certification/license. The organization that trained my dog distributes a license (1-3 years) depending on dogs age/responsiveness, etc....
  • 4. Copy of your Passport

For Europe, you will need Tick/Echinococcus treatment within 24-48 hours prior to travel (given by a vet)...the later test is for tapeworm. All of this is recorded on the EU Certificate, along with the Ag.Insp.Form.

For Hawaii, you will need a Rabies Titer test to be done with 3 months of travel. They may request that the blood be drawn again a few days before.....

We only use dry kibble (Eukanuba) and put her glucosamine/con. right into each individual serving. I measure out each meal (she eats twice a day) and pill, place it into a zip-lock and put it all into a special bag; which is placed into the suitcase, with her "chewies", toys, brush, ear/eye swabs and emergency antibiotic for her ears (just in case!) I DO NOT bring her salmon oil along, when we are doing a 7 day cruise. On longer cruises, I do bring it. It's less to pack and if she misses a week, it's no big deal! If she misses longer than that, her coat starts to get dry and she starts exhibiting more dander!

On our last cruise (one week ago) aboard the Oosterdam, the "potty box" was placed directly on our veranda. How easy was that? I picked up her pooh, after each time and placed the closed bag beside the box. We went to lunch. When we returned the room was cleaned and her pooh was removed.

HAL supplied sod for the box. The box was 4x3 (a bit smaller than the usual) but she worked it!!!

 

Something to be aware of....when you're going to the shows, the room can be quite dark and if your dog is also dark....be careful of he/she being stepped on!!!!! Try to place yourself in a place away from the publics feet!!!!

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They were saying things about "Brenda" and even posted a photo of her sitting in a chair in one of the lounges. The photo was of a black lab with a red bandana and I believe the leash may have been red also.

 

They said she was even eating off the cocktail table! That they were told she was not a "real" service dog. I so wish you could have defended her.:( They were very insistant and posted several times about her. None of which were favorable I'm sad to say.

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Why was the thread pulled? I would have liked to have read what ppl had to say about having an SD onboard.

 

Were any other experiences mentioned (besides the ppl with a "Brenda" dog that I'm hoping is a different one from Roz's dog)?

 

Did anybody say anything GOOD about SDs?

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pmfan: They're morons! My service dog would NEVER eat off of a table ever!!!!! As a matter of fact many people commented that they had no idea that she was even in the room because she lays so quietly under or beside the table, while we are eating. If we're in a public venue, she is respectful/calm/quiet and NEVER EATING!!!!!!! I don't even like it when she licks or sniffs in public. SHOW ME PICTURES OF HER EATING OFF OF A TABLE! I, sometimes, will give her a treat, when we leave the dining room but always outside of the eating area!!!!!!

And, the fact that the thread was pulled is pure evidence of the nonsense that was pervericated by these folks who either don't like dogs or are insensed at the sight of one on a cruise ship. They have no clue as to what services, these amazing dogs, may perform!!!!!!! And what is required of them, at certain times! If she were on a chair it's because she was asked to be there by me or my DH! As to why, is none of their business!!!

We had people on the elevator who asked that we leave because they wouldn't take the elevator with a dog! We had people who accused me of allowing her to bark and disturbing them, in their cabins.....NONSENSE!!!!!!! She would NEVER bark, she has been trained to not use her bark!! For what she does, it serves no purpose!!!!!

Some people (in the general public, who do NOT LIKE DOGS) have no patience or concerns for a service dog. Thank God they are few and far between.....However, that being said, these same people have made it very difficult for those of us who travel with an SD to get public access.....I'll continue to fight them tooth and nail!!!!! THEY WILL NOT WIN!!!!!!! We will! And, we'll be EVERYWHERE, we have the rights to be in the public venue and we will!!!!!

My service dog ALWAYS acts with respect for others; adults/children and other animals and if she were on anything other than the floor....she was performing a service.....NONE OF WHICH, AS I STATED BEFORE, IS ANYONE'S BUSINESS!!!

 

It is important that our SD's set an example for ALL others that will follow and especially with public service providers such as airlines/cruise ships/trains/bus's, etc. And, to always be resepectful while in public. Of which, Brenda ALWAYS IS!!!!

 

We don't usually run into, what I would call, the "impossible to please with an animal attached" crowd. But, ask anyone who walks with an SD and they'll tell you many stories of the general public and the reactions of some, when they observe an animal in "their space!"

It's the very reason some folks who could really use the assistance of an SD don't have one! They're fearful of being judged by the public!!!!!!!

It's a tough battle for us and our dogs....it always will be!!!!!!



I will sail that ship, ride that bus or train and fly in that airplane....I'll do it today/tomorrow and always with a beautiful, hard working, respectful SERVICE DOG!!!!!!!!

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pmfan: They're morons! My service dog would NEVER eat off of a table ever!!!!! As a matter of fact many people commented that they had no idea that she was even in the room because she lays so quietly under or beside the table, while we are eating. If we're in a public venue, she is respectful/calm/quiet and NEVER EATING!!!!!!! I don't even like it when she licks or sniffs in public. SHOW ME PICTURES OF HER EATING OFF OF A TABLE! I, sometimes, will give her a treat, when we leave the dining room but always outside of the eating area!!!!!!

 

And, the fact that the thread was pulled is pure evidence of the nonsense that was pervericated by these folks who either don't like dogs or are insensed at the sight of one on a cruise ship. They have no clue as to what services, these amazing dogs, may perform!!!!!!! And what is required of them, at certain times! If she were on a chair it's because she was asked to be there by me or my DH! As to why, is none of their business!!!

 

We had people on the elevator who asked that we leave because they wouldn't take the elevator with a dog! We had people who accused me of allowing her to bark and disturbing them, in their cabins.....NONSENSE!!!!!!! She would NEVER bark, she has been trained to not use her bark!! For what she does, it serves no purpose!!!!!

 

Some people (in the general public, who do NOT LIKE DOGS) have no patience or concerns for a service dog. Thank God they are few and far between.....However, that being said, these same people have made it very difficult for those of us who travel with an SD to get public access.....I'll continue to fight them tooth and nail!!!!! THEY WILL NOT WIN!!!!!!! We will! And, we'll be EVERYWHERE, we have the rights to be in the public venue and we will!!!!!

 

My service dog ALWAYS acts with respect for others; adults/children and other animals and if she were on anything other than the floor....she was performing a service.....NONE OF WHICH, AS I STATED BEFORE, IS ANYONE'S BUSINESS!!!

 

It is important that our SD's set an example for ALL others that will follow and especially with public service providers such as airlines/cruise ships/trains/bus's, etc. And, to always be resepectful while in public. Of which, Brenda ALWAYS IS!!!!

 

We don't usually run into, what I would call, the "impossible to please with an animal attached" crowd. But, ask anyone who walks with an SD and they'll tell you many stories of the general public and the reactions of some, when they observe an animal in "their space!"

 

It's the very reason some folks who could really use the assistance of an SD don't have one! They're fearful of being judged by the public!!!!!!!

 

It's a tough battle for us and our dogs....it always will be!!!!!!

 

I will sail that ship, ride that bus or train and fly in that airplane....I'll do it today/tomorrow and always with a beautiful, hard working, respectful SERVICE DOG!!!!!!!![/quote

Roz, well said! Thanks for standing up for service dogs and their recipients!!

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Sunshine: You are so welcome!!!!!! I love, with all my soul; this dog who, without judgement, malice, anger or resentment will ALWAYS be "there" for me and others!

To ALL who walk or wheel through their lives with a service animal; YOU are the lucky ones!!!!!!!

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Why was the thread pulled? I would have liked to have read what ppl had to say about having an SD onboard.

 

Were any other experiences mentioned (besides the ppl with a "Brenda" dog that I'm hoping is a different one from Roz's dog)?

 

Did anybody say anything GOOD about SDs?

Yes there were many who had good things to say. One poster was on a cruise with about 40 dogs and had nothing but positive to say. There were two other posters, both of which felt the SD they saw was not well groomed/taken care of but that was it.

Then there were the few that kept coming back to, it's the law our opinion does not count why are you asking. I kept assuring them that their opinion did matter to me, which is why I posted the poll. I knew what the law says but that I wanted to hear what they had to say. Just because something is a law doesn't necessarily mean you agree with it. I truely wanted to know how others felt about SD on cruiseships.

The last I checked the poll it was 190+ in favor of SD on cruiseships and 5 against. Two of the guys that posted against came back to comment on their vote after they found out it was a public poll and others could see how you voted. I feel it was one of these posters that made sure the thread got pulled. His comments did not make him look very intelligent.

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Interesting, thanks for the info., pmfan. I'm glad that most responses were positive. Were the two ppl who said they saw an unkempt SD on the same cruise or two different cruises? (I'm trying to get a feeling of what's out there - if ppl are faking their pets for cruises like they do for the airlines or, if they are real SDs, how many go cruising.)

 

Roz, the only ppl I run into are the ones who fawn over my SD. I can only remember one instance of a general public person not wanting my dog around (said she was allergic). A few times we've gotten business employees who have issues (two ppl who didn't like dogs [one at Wal-Mart, no surprise there] and the few airline/airport employees who think everybody is faking), but that's it, including when we travel. Most ppl ask too many questions, ask if they can pet, do a drive-by petting (grr!), tell me how cute my dog is (as if I didn't already know?!?! LOL!!!!), or comment to their friends (my favorite ppl 'cause they don't interrupt what I'm trying to do!). Stuff like that.

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Quam: Why would you want to hear the negative comments that people make? I and Brenda work best on positive reinforcement and I encourage everyone else, who walks with an SD, to do the same!!!!!!

It's always good to have all the information, in order to make an informed decision about what's best for all concerned.....but, I don't believe that's how this got started....nor do I believe that people who ask "negative" questions or encourage such behavior are truly well meaning!!!!!

pmfam: I'm curious....Just what was the reason for you to stir the pot? :confused:

Quam: 99% of anyone I run into on a cruise ship or anywhere else are adoring; want to touch her; asking a lot of questions; or, will physically lay on the floor next to her, just to get close to her!

She smells good; you could eat off of her fur; she's very, very pleasant to be around; and, quite frankly, I don't blame them!

It's the 1% of the population who are disturbing in their attitude and in their demeanor!!!!

Again, would you say that I'm sensitive to this issue? Damn straight I am!!!!!! ;)

Do I avoid the folks who give me "dirty" looks?

Do I hide from folks who don't like dogs?

Do I speak to folks who make negative comments?

Do I avoid folks who don't like the way in which Brenda must work?

HELL NO!

Will I continue to be everywhere and anywhere I can with my SD?

Will I be gentle and loving and explain to folks who show they care?

Will I allow people to "Pat" Brenda, after they've asked?

Will I defend, to my dying day, Brenda and every other service dog, who is acting appropriately but may not be pleasing the public......

HELL YES!

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If you read my past posts you will see I truely want others opinions. {Why is that so hard to understand?} Maybe they will make a point I never thought of. Maybe I can learn something. That is why I am on these boards. I do not have all the answers to life. I appreciate others input. I have been reading and posting on this thread for sometime. More reading than posting. I have learned many things about traveling with a SD. Thank you all for your opinions and your experiences with your SD.

 

Quampapetet I will be more than happy to answer any questions. To share experiences. If interested let me know how to contact.

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Well, a dear friend has just informed me that I am coming across a bit "strong" and maybe not as "positvely spirited" as I am!!!!!

Certainly, I do not intend to hurt anyone's feelings nor were my intentions to "knock" anyone down!

I can get very "heated" when it comes to protecting and defending service dogs and their leaders.

I beg for your forgiveness if I have in any way "pushed" too hard!!!!!!!

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Quam: Why would you want to hear the negative comments that people make? I and Brenda work best on positive reinforcement and I encourage everyone else, who walks with an SD, to do the same!!!!!!

 

It's always good to have all the information, in order to make an informed decision about what's best for all concerned.....but, I don't believe that's how this got started....nor do I believe that people who ask "negative" questions or encourage such behavior are truly well meaning!!!!!

I want to know the negative comments because they might be comments of the misinformed (i.e. they think an SD shouldn't do x, y, or z but the SD in question was doing a task or was doing something an SD should be doing - or they think a person rude for asking them to stop petting their dog when they didn't ask for permission). They might be something that is wrong that should be fixed in a team. They might be signs that somebody snuck a pet onto the ship (or a business on land or an airplane). They might just be dog-haters (or have a religious or cultural bias against dogs) and no answer will satisfy them.

But it is always good to know what you're "up against", so to speak. If you don't know, how can you educate? When you do know, you know what kinds of things you need to say and how to approach it.

 

Quam: 99% of anyone I run into on a cruise ship or anywhere else are adoring; want to touch her; asking a lot of questions; or, will physically lay on the floor next to her, just to get close to her!

 

She smells good; you could eat off of her fur; she's very, very pleasant to be around; and, quite frankly, I don't blame them!

 

It's the 1% of the population who are disturbing in their attitude and in their demeanor!!!!

I'll have to turn down the offer to eat off her fur ;) but I'm sure she is just fine if you say she is. Nobody here in this thread is trying to say your dog is horrible or not a real SD. The one person in the deleted thread either was talking about a different dog or they were a troll - somebody posting with the only purpose of making somebody (or a group of people) irate. Please don't let it continue to get to you. :)

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Thanks Quam (you're a wonderful calming force)......Actually, since I've been through so many travel experiences with Brenda and in so many venues and, I've had to show her documentation to get on all of them....I must say, if someone gets their "pet" into or onto one of these, they've got to have smuggled them in. And, then once found out, they are put OFF at the next stop!

I actually saw a woman being asked to leave a train, on the way to San Francisco. She had a small Maltese in a carry-on bag. The conductor said she's on her own to finding a way back or forward. I was very concerned for her....she was no youngster and really didn't have the energy to drive on her own!!!!

Is it really worth the chance you may take to "steal" your pets onboard any venue! A ship has the right to put you "off" at any port!!!!!! And, the airlines can leave you stranded at any terminal....NOT WORTH IT!!!!!!

I'm sorry if I seemed a bit "miffed", it comes with the territory!

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The sad thing is, too many ppl don't get caught trying to pass their pet or show dog pet off as a service dog when flying. Then the real service dog folks are the ones who face the problems because of whatever happened with the pets when they were onboard.

 

I am pretty sure I read at least one place about somebody who snuck their pet dog on a cruise by saying it was a service dog - it might've been elsewhere on CC. I can't recall if they ended up getting kicked off or not. I also read on another Web site about somebody who took their service dog in training puppy on a cruise (Disney line, I think) - and let the dog run loose all around the ship and everything! And then the person was dumb enough to think they'd actually be able to take the puppy in restaurants and such in one of the foreign countries they went to.

 

It is so sad that people are so selfish to lie about their pet like that because it really does hurt those of us who actually need our highly-trained service animals with us in order to go somewhere. :(

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