Life Surrounded by Mountains in Central Chile

They grow in the moist, rich soil of the Valdivian temperate rain forest where temperature doesn't vary a great deal. The forest has been all but cleared; the vine's root root was once used as a substitute for saspirilla, and copihues (copeeweh) have been over collected; there aren't many left in the wild.

They are slow growing taking as much as ten years to flower, and they are also difficult to cultivate. Germination is best achieved by different parents, and in the wild hummingbirds pollinate the stems. Cultivation is most successful with moist seeds or cuttings.

And this Copihue is going home, where hopefully she still belongs.

WOW! Copihue, I'm glad I caught this on MOL! When do you leave? Please pm me when you get a sec?
I hope your plans bring you to your heart's desire!

The desire to return to one's roots is compelling. Like the wanderlust it pulls at me every spring.

There is no cure but to go and follow ones heart and destiny.

Via con Dios. Via con Dios.

I had to look up Valdivia. (it sounded like a Marx Brothers locale)

Gracias. I have visited Chile many times since I was brought here as a child, and I have always wanted to return to stay for an undetermined period of time. So I am going to do it. I will work on my Spanish, travel, and see if I can engage with my surroundings in something other than as a tourist/vacationer. My family is all there, and I want to be with them. My mom and I were the only ones who came to the US in something other than a vacation, and now she is gone.

My stay is open ended. The only thing that can stop me is the airline if they refuse to transport my dogs. They don't transport pit and pit mixes, but a friendly USDA licensed vet is going to call them "mixes", so we'll see if they challenge the vet. Jake and Rachel are petty clearly pits, and I am flying out of JFK. New Yorkers know what pits look like, but Jake and Rachel are lap dogs. If they refuse to take them, I am not going. They will not become homeless dogs again. It's a promise I made to them that I intend to keep.

The orthopedist doesn't want me to go till my hand heals, but it is a monumental task to reschedule everything. Moving to another continent with two dogs and a broken wrist is complicated, but I intend to board that LANChile dreamliner.

Some folks asked me to blog about my experiences, so I decided to give it a try. When I go my languages reverse, and after three weeks I begin to dream in Spanish. So blogging in English may be a challenge. We'll see.

Hey, there's always Google -translate for your devoted Readers! ;-)
I hope that swelling down, and you can get on with the healing as well as the packing. So much to do, so little time...who needs sleep??
;-) grrr ;-)

dave said:

I had to look up Valdivia. (it sounded like a Marx Brothers locale)

You are taking me more literally than I meant. I love Valdivia and Osorno whose weather is like Oregon, Washington and Vancouver Island, but my family wants me in Reñaca, which is a suburb of Viña del Mar located in the bay of Valparaíso. Viña is like Southern California; it's where the fruits that you buy at the grocery store in winter and the wines at the liquor store come from. You can see it's location here:,-71.537612,15z
I will travel to find where I fit the best, and I have every intention to check out Valdivia and Osorno which have a large German ethnic population. I love the landscape of the Lake Region, but we do not live on landscape beauty alone. I need to find my raison d'etre. I will go wherever it takes me. Even the North where the landscape looks like the moon -- green, white and clayish rolling hills with no vegetation.
Chile is 2,394 miles long, and there are large differences in climate, vegetation and landscape.

Well, maybe not Dave...

You may also be able to get the dogs classified as 'emotional support animals'. A letter from a therapist/doctor should help with that.
Good luck, sounds like an exciting new adventure.

not sure what your pits look like but we have some type of a mix that could be pit. But also looks allot like an African Besenji (without the curled tail). If my son moves into an apt at some point we plan on using this breed as the breed and provide pictures --perhaps you could find other "look alike" breeds?

copihue.............funny story. When our daughter finished her under grad she re located to San Fransisco. She left with us her pet ferret. Maybe a year later she flew here for a visit. She decided she wanted to bring "Irving" back to San Fransisco with her.

Well this entailed a visit to a vet, who happened to be one of my accounts , shots etc.
It turns out the ferrets are not allowed into California. When the vet gave us the papers our flower child asked me if he could fill them out as if Irving were a cat. I thought that would put him at risk but he agreed to simply call Irving "the animal".

Well we held our breath as she stood in line and boarded the plane, pet carrier in hand. It was pretty well covered with a blanket and air line inspections then are not what they are today.

Irving led a good and happy life in sunny California. He left his heart and everything else in San Fransisco when he passed but gave our daughter much companionship during their time together there.

Bon Voyage. May your journey be an easy and fullfilling one. Please keep in touch.

Create a life you love, and live it powerfully...

You are and always will be a powerful woman. I'll miss seeing you; here-there-and everywhere, walking your dogs, your support at meetings, and your passion for whatever you're doing. God's speed, good luck, stay in touch, and everything is going to be just fine... ;-)

Bon Voyage, Copihue! Your beloved homeless animals here will be losing a tireless advocate. I wish you good luck, good health, and abundance, as you embark on this new adventure.

Not leaving for another two weeks. Thanks everybody for the nice wishes. I ask that someone take over managing Maplewood Loves Animals. Please PM me if you are interested.

Oh, my goodness, what an exciting prospect! I wish you all the best and hope you are sufficiently recovered in two weeks that it's easier to manage luggage and dogs as you travel.

Good luck and safe travels!

sac said:

Good luck and safe travels!


I'll wager that many MOLers are envious of you, myself included! Please let us join your adventure in a virtual way! Good luck!

BTW, please tell me the proper pronunciation of your destination. Chillay? Chilee?

More like Cheelay, I believe.

Accent on the  first syllable, and a really short e.

Copihue said:

Accent on the  first syllable, and a really short e.

Thanks Copihue. That is the only way I have heard it pronounced.


Journeys begin long before stepping foot on the plane. I anticipated the most difficult problem to be transporting two pit mixes, because of the bans that airlines place on the breed.  But they are not the only dogs on the restricted list:  short, snouted dogs are also prevented from flying.  There is some rational basis for the bans, since there exists the possibility that personnel may need to open the carriers and handle the dogs, but the truth is that frightened dogs can bite, and pit bulls don’t have the exclusive rights on fear.  Short snouted dogs and cats can run into breathing problems.

I have transported dogs across borders on planes before, and the process is much more complex and safer for animals now than in the recent past. I will need a USDA certificate attesting to the fact that the animals are free of parasites – internal and external.  Therefore, the dog has had to be vaccinated against rabies 30-365 days before travel.  They also need to be treated for parasites 10 days before flight.  The exam needs to be performed by a USDA licensed vet and reviewed by a USDA official, within 10 days of travel.

Where within the airplane the pet travels – cabin, hold or cargo -- depends on the size of the pet, and the size of his crate.  The crate must allow the animal to turn inside, as well as to stand, sit and lay down without touching the walls when fully extended.  The crate must be labelled with the name and address pasted to the outside of the crate, bowls for food and water securely attached, an absorbent pad placed on the floor of the crate to absorb urine.

They recommend that you ship the animal during weekdays, so that the staff is available at the airport to process the paperwork at  arrival as well as to take a non-stop flight. Stops add another layer of recommendations having to do with ambient temperature.  It can’t be above 85 degrees at any lay over, because an extended layover can endanger the pet. No sedatives and no food six hours before travel.

My dogs weight 59 and 60 lbs..  Think about how much you pay to ship a box across the country; now think about the cost of that box if you sent it abroad, and make the box a 49' X 26' X 30' plastic and metal carrier with a 60 lbs animal, food and water.  Multiply that by the factor you pay on a 1 oz letter.  Yeah, ouch.

This is a very useful website:

Mission Impossible:

Those are the dog preparations, and then there are passports – my double citizenship places no restrictions on me while in Chile – plane tickets, renting a home, packing, taking or not a car, all done while exercising my left hand, so that I regain flexibility.  Strength training will need to take place in Chile.

Jake and Rachel are in good hands thanks to your thorough research of possible pitfalls (pun intended).  It will all work out.  Have a great trip.

Wow, that's a lot of considerations! How are you doing with your planning?

I'm glad our impending move is only to a house about 40 minutes away from where we are now! I don't think I could do a long-distance project these days.

Copihue, how's the wrist swelling? Vastly reduced, we hope!

I don't know if I'll ever get to South America, but I hope I do get to visit the places Borges and Bolaño have made famous at some point.  Chile seems enchanted with its dramatic terrain. 

Less than a week to go.  Hope everything is falling into place.

Any news on flying the dogs? I'm in Mexico and I chatted with a car service driver who was about to drive a customer's car and dog from the Texas border to Panama. I asked if he would be willing to drive two dogs from NJ to Chile, and he said sure. Let me know if you're desperate and I'll get his card  

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