Saturday, June 13, 2009

Registering Ivan: The Saga Continues

Two weeks ago I went back to the police station to pick up our Sheltie's registration documents, only to find out that they had rejected the application on the grounds that he was going to turn into an Old English Sheepdog. After much cajoling they took the application back, but made no promises that the upper authorities would approve it this time around. So today I went back to collect the registration, only to find out that in fact the upper authorities rejected us again, since Ivan was "certainly" going to be a big dog. So once again I tried to reason with the police officer who, I have to admit, was being very nice about the whole thing, even if he was completely unwavering in his insistence that Ivan was going to transmogrify into a St Bernard or something, but without any positive result. So I asked if I could go to the upper authorities myself and see if I could reason with them. "Be my guest" was the gist of the response, so I called our driver and off we went.

The district dog registration headquarters is located on the grounds of the Temple of the Earth, a pretty nice park that I had never visited before. They don't make the place easy to find, but eventually we tracked it down. There they knew right away who I was (guess the police station phoned ahead), and since I brought Ivan with me, they asked if this was the dog in question. (I not only brought him along, I also brought his pedigree certificate, his birth certificate, and J2's passport, since the pedigree was made out in his name rather than mine.) As soon as they saw Ivan they said "he looks like a Sheltie", though they also said that it was the first time they had seen a Sheltie with his coloring. Turns out that, from the photo I submitted for the license, Ivan's muzzle looks very long, kind of like that of a Russian wolfhound (or Borzoi), which, combined with the fact that an American citizen had given his dog a Russian name, led to their conviction that I was trying to register a Borzoi as a fake Sheltie. Once they took a look at him they agreed that he was of the regulation size to live in Beijing, and they took our forms and put a big read seal on them, signifying their acceptance.

While I was waiting for them to complete the paperwork, our driver was sitting with me in the office, while Ivan sniffed around. I was petrified that the driver would say something about the other dog at home, since of course you're only allowed to have one dog, and if they were to come to see this other dog they'd see that he's way too big. But luckily he was sensible enough to avoid that topic and we got off scot free.

We returned to the police station with the sealed document, and now it's up to them to issue the certificate, which could take Mao knows how long. But at least he's on his way to legality. Phew.