More and more people are choosing Hong Kong as a relocation destination, and with each pet move comes another chance to learn something about the process (and about pet travel in general).
On that note, we're happy to share Lucy's pet move story to Hong Kong as our latest Pet Move of the Month! In the following interview, Lucy's owner shares lots of great information about the logistics and emotions involved with international pet travel.
What brought about your move?
My company offered me a year-long assignment in Hong Kong.
Have you ever flown a pet before?
What were your initial concerns?
Everything! I knew nothing about the process, and frankly the horror stories played up by the media were initially very frightening. My number one concern was Lucy’s well-being during the transport process. She can be a nervous girl and I knew that the door-to-door move was going to be very overwhelming for her. I was also concerned about the paperwork and the tight timeline, but that is why I chose to work with PetRelocation!
What surprised you about the pet travel process? Can you discuss any particular challenges or interesting details?
Having never done this, I ran into a lot of surprises! I think what shocked me most was learning that so many airports had animal hotels or similar facilities. I had no idea that such a thing existed!
We ran into a lot of challenges with my move and I am so glad to have had Brooke, our consultant, working with me every step of the way. The biggest hurdle we faced was a mix-up at the lab processing Lucy’s FAVN test the week before her move. We were already under an incredibly tight deadline with no wiggle room. The delay, coupled with a Jewish holiday (my vet would be out of the practice) and a US holiday (Columbus Day) threatened our timeline significantly. I was SO nervous!
Thankfully the results arrived in just enough time for Brooke to get creative and we found an alternative path to get Lucy out on time. I am so grateful that she had both the patience and expertise to help us navigate that challenge!
How has Lucy managed the move?
In all honestly, Lucy initially had a difficult transition. My sensitive girl was really thrown off by the travel and our new neighborhood. It took some time for us to adjust and find a new routine. I think it is really important to manage your expectations for your pet’s adjustment to a new environment. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and that I wouldn’t have ‘my’ Lucy back for some time.
Getting into a rhythm and finding some fun things to do helped tremendously, and I’m so happy to say that she is loving life here now! She’s met some neighborhood friends and has done a lot of exploring already! Don’t underestimate your pet’s ability to adjust, just give them some time!
Is Hong Kong a pet-friendly place to be?
It really depends on where you live, and finding a place to live is a challenge. My company will be keeping me in a pet-friendly serviced apartment (there are only a handful in Hong Kong) for the year to keep things easy. I was surprised to see that there are pet stores, vets and groomers everywhere, but dogs are forbidden from most public places, especially parks. Finding green space can be difficult.
I was lucky to discover a book called The Woof Guide to Hong Kong, which has been an excellent resource. We’ve managed to locate some pet ‘gardens,’ hiking spots and a couple of dog-friendly beaches. The plan is to have an adventure each weekend to keep things interesting! Overall, Hong Kong is not as dog-friendly as the US, but it could certainly be worse and thankfully we have been able to maintain a similar quality of life here.
What advice do you have for others planning a pet move?
Hire an expert! And not just any expert, PetRelocation! Put your effort and energy into your own move and have someone help with the pets, it is worth every penny! There is so much information online and much of it is conflicting.
Furthermore, the paperwork can be intimidating and overwhelming and there is no room for error! Don’t expect that you are going to be able to do it all yourself. Having an expert consultant, especially when we ran into some challenges, was my saving grace!
Why did you choose Pet Relocation?
I chose Pet Relocation for the reputation. But beyond that, I was really impressed by the information and resources on the website. I am so thankful to have had such a great team to work with. Thanks, Heather and Brooke!
Thanks to Lucy's owner Alicia for her thoughtful insights and excellent advice! Have questions about moving pets to Hong Kong or another destination? Please contact us for a consultation.