Friday, October 25, 2013

Moving abroad with pets...

Back in 2007, Bill and I moved to Germany for two years.  We took our two dogs, Flea and MacGregor with us.  Moving with pets was stressful and a little scary, since I had read a lot of horror stories about what can happen to pets on airplanes.  At the very least, we knew it could be expensive to fly with the dogs, since we had to buy tickets for them and travel crates.  I also knew that it was possible that they could suffer an accident.  Some animals have died on airplanes.

Fortunately, we were able to move our dogs with no serious problems.  It cost a few hundred dollars to pay for their passage.  We flew from Washington, DC to Frankfurt and when we landed in Frankfurt, we could actually hear Flea's indignant barking at being stuck in a crate for so long.  A customs animal inspector came over and inspected our paperwork, then sent us on our way.  We picked up the dogs and they happily adjusted to life in Germany.  When it was time to go home, Flea was ill with prostate cancer.  But he was strong enough to make the flight from Stuttgart to Atlanta and was with us for about two more months before we had to have him euthanized.  Flea charmed people on both ends of the travel, despite being so loud.

Lately, with the prospect of Bill's Army retirement looming before us, we have been thinking about where we'd like to live next.  If you have read my main blog, you know that I'm not wild about the house we live in and would really like to live in Europe.  Bill has found job openings in Germany, Belgium, and Ireland.  It's likely he will apply for jobs overseas, though we don't know if he'll be successful in getting one.  Given our goals, I'm looking once again at information about what it takes to import animals into European countries.  I'm not too worried about a move to continental Europe, though a move to Ireland or England might be difficult because they are island nations.  I read that the regulations are less strict than they once were, but they still require planning and foresight.

I just found a very interesting Web site for people who need to move abroad with pets. PetRelocation.com is based in Austin and helps people move their animals anywhere in the world.  Likewise, PetAir Carrier also relocates pets.  I know there was also an airline specifically for pets called Pet Airways, but it looks like that concept went belly up.  I'm sure it was too expensive and too limited to be of use to a lot of people.     

Moving abroad is a pain, especially when you're traveling with animals.  But it was worth it to us, last time, to have our dogs with us in Germany.  If we move overseas again, we will try to choose a country that is pet and owner friendly.  If we go back to Germany, I have a feeling our dogs won't be quite as annoying as Flea and MacGregor were.  Zane and Arran are a lot less noisy than they were.

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