Over in my post “Timing is a Bitch“, Jan from the Poodle and Dog Blog commented to muse on just how often canine semen gets stopped at the border for ‘inspection’. I’d like to say ‘never’, and for most people, that answer would probably be true. I, on the other hand, apparently run a sort of canine semen smuggling ring.
It all started when a shipment of fresh semen I was having shipped in from the west coast got stuck at customs. It was the weekend, and things happen, but three days at a warehouse left me with a vial full of dead semen, and I was determined not to let that happen again. Timing testing and semen evaluation are pricey procedures, and the bill gets paid whether it all results in puppies or not. Driving the extra distance seemed worthwhile, so I decided to arrange for same day shipping into Buffalo airport for future shipments. This meant I’d have to drive to Buffalo airport, then bring the semen back across the border myself – a five hour round trip, if nothing goes wrong. Note the emphasis on the word ‘if‘.
Picking the semen container up was no problem, and there wasn’t even a line up when I got back to Canadian customs. I’m a firm believer in truth, so when the agent asked me ‘purpose of trip’, I promptly answered “I had to pick up some semen at the airport”. He asked me to explain this in more details, and he then re-directed me to the commercial inspections station.
Lined up behind a dozen transport trucks in my mini van, I finally made it in to the station parking lot. When I showed up at the counter, the bored looking counter person perked up a little when I tried, once more, to explain why I’d been across the border, and what I was bringing back. Their main concern was the commercial value of the semen – what was it worth, and what had I paid for it.
I explained that since I co owned the dog I hadn’t paid anything, and that there was no worth to the semen until we’d:
a) made sure it was even viable
b) had implanted it and successfully impregnated the bitch
c) evaluated the puppies at six months
Customs dude was having none of this – he insisted that the semen had to be worth something, so I finally snapped “If I was bringing the semen back inside the dog, would you weigh his testicles to see how much semen was in them, and charge me accordingly?”. Surprisingly enough, the customs agent didn’t slap me in cuffs and order a strip search – he conceded the point, and even gave me a slip I could use the next day, when I crossed customs with the final shipment.
Hours behind schedule, I finally arrived at the vet’s office, where we successfully did the semen implantation. I decided to call the co owner of the stud dog, to let him know the semen had arrived. I didn’t have his number stored in my phone, but I had a fairly good idea of what it was, so rang him up and left a message on his machine –
“Hi, it’s me – the semen got here ok, and other than some problems at the border with an asshole customs agent, everything went fine. Talk to you tomorrow!”
That night, my phone rang, with a west coast phone number I was unfamiliar with. A man asked “Did you call my phone earlier, and leave a message?” I told him I didn’t think so, but he insisted – “You called and left a message, a message about… semen?”.
Yup, I’d phoned the wrong number.
I’d called a random stranger, and left a cryptic message on their phone about semen. Not just any random stranger, though – not with my luck. I got a random stranger who worked for… US Customs. Yes, just like the guy that I’d referred to as an ‘asshole’ in my message. Random customs guy politely asked me to explain just what kind of ‘package’ I had picked up, and why the customs ‘asshole’ had given me a hard time about it. I hysterically explained that it really, really was semen, and that I was a dog breeder, and that… well, you get the idea. I all but blurted out “It wasn’t code for drugs!”, which I’m sure is what he initially thought. He finally laughed it off, wished me luck and told me to double check phone numbers in the future.
The next day, I crossed over into Buffalo, picked up the final semen shipment, and arrived back at Canadian customs – where I got the same agent I’d had the day before.
“Let me guess – dog semen?” he asked.
“Yup – want to see it?” I inquired, as I shoved the container at him. He recoiled with a look that clearly said “Sweet Jesus, get that boy dog goo out of my face”, and waved me through with no other questions.
Mission accomplished – but forgive me if the topic of cross border semen shipping still makes me twitchy to this day.