Tuesday, November 10, 2009


For most this little guy would be considered cute.  I would have to agree that, from a distance, he is.  However, when you are at an airport that has quarantine restrictions in place, and he is jumping on your bag he can bring terror into your life.
We were at the Perth Airport returning a rental car.  We had actually spent the weekend hiking in Western Australia (WA), and were dropping off the car before Mark headed into the Perth Office on Monday.  The car keys were dropped off, and Mark decided to use the facilities before jumping in a taxi.  He left me in the arrivals hall with our luggage which included a bag that contained an avocado and orange that hadn't been eaten over the weekend.  All of a sudden, out of the blue, this little beagle comes running up to me and jumps all over me and our bags.  I about pissed myself when I realized that the little guy was letting his partner know that I had some hidden produce deep in my bags.  Frantically I started to yell "Wait, wait, I've been in WA since Friday and the fruit was bought here."  Fortunately the woman accompanying the dog remained calm and looked at the tags that were still on the bag--whew... good thing I hadn't acted like my Grandma Berry, and ripped them off before even leaving the luggage retrieval area.  Anyway, Sparky got a special little treat--even though he can't distinguish SA from WA fruit--and off they headed.
When traveling interstate in Australia, it is important to note that in many situations it is illegal to transport fruits, vegetables, plants, flowers, and soil across state lines and in some cases into restricted areas within states.  The quarantine is in place in an attempt to stop the spreading of fruit flies.  In many airports dogs can be seen sniffing bags.  When driving, on some roads there is just an honesty bin where you are supposed to deposit prohibited items, while at other places there is a full fledged inspection station.  Random road blocks could exist, but we have yet to find one.
I remember when there used to be road blocks between states in the United States, but that had to be over 20 years ago.  I wonder if eventually Australia will do away with such quarantines, or if they will continue?  What ever the future holds, for the time being if you are traveling in Australia make sure you are sure of local and interstate quarantine regulations so that you can avoid throwing away food or even worse facing a fine.


  1. That was a close call. I'm always nervous when sniffer dogs are around even though I've got nothing to hide

  2. Hi Maya, how interesting! I didn't realize that you have fruit fly problems there too. Over here we have a boarder stop going from Vegas to California but it is so rare that they stop us...

    Thanks for sharing. I think I would've been nervous if an airport dog started sniffing my bags too. The dog handler seemed like a cool person. Glad it worked out for you.