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Help Me Move My Pet

Pet News Round-Up: Travel Tips & Vacation Options for Dogs

Friday, March 27, 2015 by Caitlin Moore

This is vital information for pet owners moving to Australia.

Advocates speak out against fake service dogs.

These are all our latest pet move snapshots.

5 dog friendly vacation spots.

Animal groups are calling on the government to enact better pet travel rules and regulations in Taiwan.

Here's why you might want to hire help with your pet move.

 

Zen

Have a great weekend, pet lovers!

Pets at SXSW: Going Beyond Cat Videos

Thursday, March 12, 2015 by Caitlin Moore

sxswAs animal lovers interested in all the latest pet and pet travel trends, the PetRelocation team is always curious about the pet presence at SXSW -- one of the biggest tech conferences in the world.

Each year a few Interactive panels embrace animal-related topics (usually in the form of cat videos and social media), and side parties often feature pet guests of honor to drum up attendance and publicity for various start-ups and brands.

So, what's going on in 2015? Here's a rundown of pet-related events at SXSW this year.

Official SXSW Panels:

'Cat'astrophe: Good, Bad & Ugly of Internet Cats -- Despite their online popularity, do cats get less care and respect than dogs in the real world? Bryan Kortis of PetSmart Charities and Jackson Galaxy, a cat behaviorist, discuss the lives of cats in today's well-meaning but often very flawed world. This panel is open to Interactive, Gold and Platinum badge holders. (Monday, March 16, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

Animal Planet's Next Cat Star Party -- Here's a chance to hang out with the next big cat reality star (because that exists, of course) and vote on your favorite finalists while partying with fellow cat lovers and Austin 80s cover band The Spazmatics. This event is open to Interactive, Gold and Platinum badge holders. (Sunday, March 15, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.)

GIS Mapping: Using Technology to Save the Lives of Dogs and Cats -- Presenters from the ASPCA will discuss how advances in technology can help lower euthanasia rates and alleviate pet homelessness. This panel is open to Music, Interactive, Gold, Platinum badge, and Artist wristband holders. (Tuesday, March 14, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.)

VodkaforDogPeople: Matchmaking a Business Heart -- Two Austin businesses, Tito's Handmade Vodka and Emancipet, have forged an unlikely but strong and mutually beneficial partnership that relies on a love of pets. Reps from each company, Beth Bellanti and Amy Mills, will tell you all about it. (This panel is open to Interactive, Gold and Platinum badge holders. (Monday, March 16 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

Events Involving Pets:

Mophie Rescue: If you find your phone battery can't quite keep up with the constant texting and Twitter-checking that SXSW demands, maybe a dog can save you. Festival folks are invited to tweet at @Mophie and, if you meet the designated requirements (phone life and location), a St. Bernard will come to your rescue with a phone charger. Sounds pretty gimmicky, but at least the dogs are adoptable? (Ongoing)

PetRelocation's Yappy Hour -- Of course we have to mention our own party! We're inviting pet lovers to stop by for some puppy playtime on Friday and quality cat time on Saturday (all furry friends are up for adoption with Austin Pets Alive!) along with free beer, a photo booth, swag and more. Find out more and RSVP here. (Friday, March 13, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, March 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Haus of Bacon -- Grumpy Cat is returning to SXSW for the third year in a row and will be appearing at a "one-of-a-kind art gallery that includes a team of celebrity cats." This blessed event will take place at 200 N. Congress and is free and open to the public. (Saturday, March 14, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 15, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.)

Did we miss any? Some side parties might be dog-friendly (note that ours is not), but we suggest considering your pet's comfort and safety before bringing them to a crowded or loud event. Have fun, everyone, and we hope to see you at SXSW!

News Round-Up: Encouraging Pet Travel Updates

Friday, February 27, 2015 by Caitlin Moore

More news about pets on Amtrak trains.

Japan's 'Animal Islands.'

According to Department of Transportation data, pet air travel was safer in 2014 than in previous years.

Does your company want to relocate you abroad? Consider bringing your pet along for better chances of success.

It's Friday, so catch up with these cute pet travel stories.

Meet Tobi, one of our talented Client Care Specialists.

 

beauty

Happy Friday!

 

2014 DOT Data Reveals Positive Trends in Pet Air Travel

Thursday, February 26, 2015 by Pet Friendly Airlines

According to recent government data, pet air travel is growing safer.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has released its February 2015 Air Travel Consumer Report, which presents the DOT's overview of air travel data from last year and leads to an encouraging conclusion: of the approximately 2 million animals who traveled by air in 2014, there were 17 deaths and 26 injuries -- numbers that reflect a decrease from previous years.

As we've discussed in the past, though tragic pet travel stories seem to make the news every few weeks, overall the numbers of negative pet incidents are low, and statistically speaking, pet travel is quite safe.

Many of the incidents that do occur happen when pets injure themselves while trying to claw or bite their way out of the travel crate, illustrating the importance of crate acclimation. Other incidents are often due to natural causes or pre-existing issues, which is why it's also a good idea to talk to your vet before a trip in order to discuss concerns and schedule a health screening. Choosing a pet-friendly airline is also highly suggested.

No matter what, it's a good idea to spend plenty of time preparing for a pet move by researching requirements and helping your pets be as ready and as healthy as possible. There's always some amount of risk involved with pet travel (same goes for human travel), but with the right approach those risks can be minimized.

Read more about the pet travel data from 2014, and as always, please contact PetRelocation with any questions you have about traveling with your pet.

 

plane / enrique via flickr

enrique / flickr

PetRelocation Employee Spotlight: Tobi, Client Care Specialist

Monday, February 23, 2015 by Core Values

tobiBy Kelley Barnes, Director of HR

If creating an incredible experience for PetRelocation’s clients and their fuzzy family members is like painting a masterpiece, then Tobi is the Georges Seurat of Client Care Specialists. Every ‘t’ is crossed and every ‘i’ is dotted when it comes to her communications and plans.

When she interviewed with PetRelocation in April 2013, one quality about Tobi that was immediately evident to the team was her meticulous attention to detail. Nothing slips past her when it comes to the logistics coordination that is an essential part of every pet move Tobi supervises.

Tobi has built strong partnerships with a select group of PetRelocation’s team of agents that she likes to use regularly. They know what she expects in terms of pet love and handling, and in turn she always keeps them apprised of any unexpected changes or hiccups that may occur (like the recent snow storms and weather issues that caused pet flight cancellations in New York, Chicago and Boston and affected several pet trips).

During a move when there is a sleepless pet parent anxious for an update, Tobi has been known to take late-night phone calls and send prompt emails with pet photos after a pet arrives in a foreign destination.

One previous coworker wrote, “She is always there to help the team and accomplish any task that is needed, and she comes up with out-of-the box and creative solutions when there is no clear solution at hand.” Teamwork is one of the core values we uphold at PetRelocation, and Tobi doesn’t try to live it, it just comes to her naturally.

We asked Tobi to share some of her thoughts in a series of questions below. Hope you enjoy the read!

Why did you decide to apply to PetRelocation initially?

After college, I worked at a computer company for 13 years. I became unfulfilled because I could not see the direct impact of my work. My husband encouraged me to find a job where I could make a difference and helped me do some research – he found the Client Care posting online and I applied for it the very next day. 

 

tobi

Tobi, her husband Kris, and their Basset trio (Gus, Bluebonnet and Clementine)

What’s your favorite client story?

There are so many terrific reunion stories to choose from, but one that really stands out is a recent move of two English Bulldogs from California to Indonesia. The dogs (pictured below) started their journey on Sunday and reunited with their family on Friday. I shared every step of their trip with the entire office because every single person at PetRelocation cares about the journey of the pets we move. 

 

dozer & gumbo

Two of Tobi's most memorable clients

What’s it like to work at PetRelocation?

In a word – terrific. I feel like I am one of those lucky people who has a job they actually enjoy and works with people they like.

What has surprised you since working here?

I am most surprised by the remote locations that people move to for their work – places I had never heard of before working here such as Kuala Belait, Brunei and Ripailles, Mauritius.

What do you think will change about pet travel in the next five years?

My hope is that more airlines will establish actual pet travel programs, giving us more options to present to our clients. Pet travel is clearly becoming more common and airlines are bound to really start catering to animals as well as humans. 

client care pjs

A few PetRelocation team members on 'Pajama Day'

What advice do you have for people who want to join the company?

Do not be afraid to ask questions. What we do is very unique – until you worked with us as an employee or a pet owner, you’ve probably never met a “pet relocator.”  Between airport codes, animal import/export requirements, animal vaccines and countless other things there is an abundance of information to learn. This is not the kind of job where you can just assume you’ll figure something out later – questions are good!

What do you wish other people knew about the company?

We truly manage your pet's move from point A to point B and we specialize in problem solving. There are certain elements of travel that are unpredictable (weather delays, lost paperwork, etc.) – you can count on us to handle those unexpected events for you.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

So many things – that I am over 5 feet tall. That I am actually an android (Tobi spelled backward is iBot). Also, I am learning to play the mandolin. [Editor's Note: Tobi also has a hamster named Christmas, who is pictured below].

 

christmas the hamster

Christmas, Tobi's hamster

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

I would like to be invisible so that I could sneak into music concerts and Disney World.

Hollywood wants to make a movie about your life. Who do they cast to play you?

I would have to insist on playing myself because I’m not sure anyone else could capture my strange and adorable accent that is half-Louisiana, half-Texas.

 

Thanks for all you do, Tobi! Find out more about the PetRelocation team in this "Meet the Office" video, and if you're interested in working with us, check out our Careers page.

Pet Move of the Month: Fred & Wilma's Trip to Japan

Tuesday, February 17, 2015 by PetRelocation.com Customer

fred & wilmaThis month's featured pet move shines the spotlight on two very cool cats: Fred and Wilma. This charming duo has moved with us before (their mom is a busy world traveler), so they're becoming pros when it comes to relocating internationally.

Their latest trip took them from Germany to Japan, and now that they're settling in we thought we'd catch up and find out how things are going. Read on to find out more about Fred and Wilma!

What brought about your move?

Due to my job, I move every 2 to 3 years. I got the cats in Australia in 2007 and since then I moved them to the States, then to Germany and now Japan.

How did this particular move compare?

Both of the moves were the easiest, smoothest I ever had with the cats.

What were some of your initial concerns?

No matter where you are headed, the paperwork can be extremely confusing and overwhelming. I was worried that since I was overseas, it would be hard to get everything done on time.

What surprised you about the pet travel process? Can you discuss any particular challenges or interesting details?

The best advice I can give is to plan early. Lots of countries have strict rules about the importation of animals. In my case, I was taking my cats from Germany to Japan and had to have a 6 month “at home” quarantine. Also, lots of airlines have restrictions on the time of year the pet can travel based on the temperature.

How have Fred and Wilma handled the transition so far?

My fur babies are known for being “fraidy cats,” but as soon as they got to me here in Tokyo and out of their crates, they have just taken over the apartment. They found their box, their food and my couch for a nice nap. I just cannot get over how easily they have adapted. 

How do Japan, Germany and the United States compare in terms of pet-friendliness?

Both Germany and Japan are known for their love/obsession with their pets. The Germans LOVE their dogs and the Japanese LOVE their cats (see Hello Kitty). In Germany, I was lucky enough to have a vet that made house calls! I get my pet supplies online or from a military base, as my cats are used to American products. I know I could get anything I need here in Japan if I had to.

What advice do you have for people who might be planning a pet move?

As I say, plan early. Pets are part of your family and SO important to you, so I know the process can be stressful because you just want them to be comfortable and happy. It can be done (and be done smoothly) if you plan ahead.

 

fred & wilma settling in

 

What made you decide to hire PetRelocation to assist you?

I did my research, believe me. I went with PetRelocation because they were super responsive and totally understood how important my cats are to me.  I was encouraged by the testimonials of other clients. Also, I immediately felt at ease with my PetRelocation consultants. 

My situation was hard, as I was moving from Germany to Japan with a stop in the States in between. Turned out I had to leave the cats with my brother in the States for 6 months due to a Japanese regulation for an “at home quarantine.” My consultants treated my brother with as much respect as they gave me and constantly kept us both informed.

They walked us through all the paperwork and worked out a great timeline. I also LOVED that they offered a point to point delivery. They picked up the cats at my brother’s so that he would not have to tackle the nightmare of the airport processing, and they delivered the cats to me at my place in Tokyo. I have done this by myself and trust me, this was priceless!!!

Another highlight was that they tracked the cats the whole way from beginning to end so I had peace of mind the whole time. I honestly cannot recommend them enough. From beginning to end they made this process as easy and as stress free as possible. I will be using them again for sure!!!

 

Congrats to Fred, Wilma and their loving owner on another successful move! Thinking about relocating with your own pets? Feel free to contact us to speak to a Specialist about your options.

Pet News Round-Up: A Travel Discussion and a Few Fun Things

Friday, February 13, 2015 by Caitlin Moore

10 restaurants and coffee shops with "secret" menu items for dogs.

Anyone looking for a stuffed animal clone of your pet?

In case you were alarmed by a pet travel news story this week, we'd like to point out a few things.

A few of our team members answer the question, "how did you know your pet was The One?"

Find out more about Atchoum the cat.

 

magnolia

Have a lovely weekend!

 

Pets & Love: Happy Valentine's Day from PetRelocation

Friday, February 13, 2015 by Core Values

The PetRelocation team will happily accept any opportunity to celebrate our pets, and Valentine's Day is one of our favorite times to shine the spotlight on the cats and dogs we go home to every night.

Obviously our pets are our #1 Valentines, but this year we're answering a specific question: How did you know your pet was 'The One'? Get ready for some adorable stories...

 

goonie

Bethany, Client Care Manager: I knew Goonie was the one for me on the 4th of July, the day I rescued her. She was scared of the fireworks that night, but was trying to be tough about it by barking at them. Eventually, she gave in and snuggled really close to me under the covers before falling asleep and snoring loudly all night. To this day, she is still the best “little spoon” ever! :)

 

 

hufflepuff

Tim, Pet Relocation Consultant: I have a dog and her name is Hufflepuff. She is weird, sometimes wild, fluffy, scruffy, and basically the cutest dog I have ever encountered and had the privilege to hug. My girlfriend Alanah and I had been discussing getting a dog for a couple of months. Every week we almost went to Austin Pets Alive! to adopt one, but talked ourselves out of it ever time, saying that we weren’t ready for a dog.

While at work, Alanah would send me links to dogs on APA’s website. Most were cute, others were too old. I had expressed that I did not want a girl dog, much less a small, wiry haired dog (I have had bad luck with girl dogs in the past). One day, she sent me a link to small, wiry haired, girl dog and said “I think this is the one”.

At the time, the Huff’s name was Starburst and she looked like an ugly, wire-haired dog. I got off work and went to APA with Alanah. They took us back to see “Starburst”. She was sitting on a pillow, alone, and surrounded by a bunch of loud, obnoxious dogs. When I made eye contact with her, she gave be the look of “please get me out of here.” We played with her for the required thirty minutes and we both fell in love with her. It turns out, you can’t judge a dog by a picture or name.

Hufflepuff (formerly Starburst) has since become the scruffy, fluffy (not wiry) love of our lives. She has been though a few medical complications, but was a champ and is now just has happy and playful as ever. I do not know what I would do without my canine best friend. She is the best dog I could have ever asked for.

 

 

MayBelle

Keith, Senior Client Care Specialist: MayBelle was a stray that found her way to my door, and now she watches the movies with me that no one else will. #truelove

 

 

 

bravoRachel, Chief of Staff: I’ve been crazy about Golden Retrievers since I was a kid when one of my best friends growing up introduced me to her two Goldens. When I turned 13, my mom surprised me by taking me to pick up a one-year old rescue Golden Retriever named Gus. He was an amazing dog and the best friend a teenage girl could ask for. After many loyal years by my side, Gus passed away from stomach cancer at age 13. I waited seven years before getting another Golden.

My second Golden, Charlie, was a rescue from Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue in Houston, Texas. Charlie was a beautiful boy with an endless enthusiasm for swimming and a huge, adoring smile. He passed away much too young last July from a devastating fight against bone cancer. Shortly after Charlie passed, I decided that I was going to get another Golden and enter him in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Health Study, an incredible study by the Morris Animal Foundation that is working to study what causes cancer in dogs. In order to participate in the study, dogs have to be under 2 years and have at least 3 generations of known bloodlines – something my other two Goldens, who were strays I had adopted at around a year old, did not have.

I began researching responsible breeders and my research led me to Stanroph Golden Retrievers, an English Golden Retriever breeder on the southern coast of Spain known for their healthy, beautiful dogs. After working in the pet moving industry for almost 10 years, I thought I would be well prepared for bringing my puppy into the US from Spain, but I also knew it would require a lot of research! Fortunately, PetRelocation has tons of free pet travel resources I was able to use to plan my puppy’s trip.

My puppy was born in December, and just two weeks ago, when he was finally old enough to come home, my husband and I traveled to Spain to pick him up. No one told me how hard picking out “the one” would be! All I knew was that I wanted a male dog, and there were four adorable boys to choose from. But, as they say, “the one” picks you.

After sitting on the floor playing with the four puppies for a while, three of them got drowsy and piled up in a little heap to go to sleep. The breeder had marked each puppy with a different color to distinguish them and “Mr. Pink” was the last man standing. Out of habit, I started playing a game with him that I had played with Gus as a child, having him chase a toy underneath my legs and around in circles. Suddenly, I felt like I was looking at both Gus and Charlie, a beautiful, fuzzy blend of spirit, strength, and loyalty. As his big eyes became drowsy, “Mr. Pink” sat down between my husband and I, staring up at both of us, ready for an adventure. That’s when I knew he was “the one.” And don’t worry – the name “Mr. Pink” didn’t stick. We’ve named him Bravo, Spanish for brave.

 

 

 

sarah and reba

Sarah, Senior Pet Relocation Consultant: I always wanted a Goldendoodle -- a big, teddy bear looking dog. But then I thought, how funny would it be to get one specifically because she looks like me!? So I began my search for a redheaded Goldendoodle. They’re really hard to find! It’s kind of like children -- hard to predict if you’ll get a redhead out of a red dad and a golden mom or vice versa. So, I looked for a breeder that specifically bred Irish Setters to Red Poodles, making the chances of red hair a guarantee!

I found one in Indiana, just a few hours south of my parents’ house in Michigan. A winter snow baby, just like me! How could I pass this up? I named her Reba due to her red hair and hopefully sassy attitude. Reba and I have gotten comments such as “look at your little doppelganger!” or “I’m a hair colorist and I don’t know how you matched your dog’s coat perfectly to your hair, but your hairdresser is a magician!” (my hair is naturally red, by the way).

I loved her the instant I saw her little puppy butt wagging in a video my breeder sent. And when I picked her up, forget about it -- that SMELL! Intoxicating! I’m in love with Reba. She stole my heart that day!

 

 

stryker and rebecca

Rebecca, Pet Relocation Trainer: I knew Stryker was the one when he became putty in my lap!

I fell in love with the Bernese Mountain Dog breed as soon as I read about them in a Dog Encyclopedia. They had the perfect combination of fluff, size and sweet temperament toward humans and other animals. From then on I knew my first dog would be a Berner. After years of scouting for breeders, I flew to Colorado to pick out the new puppy I had only been able to dream about.

I arrived to find only two male puppies remained. One was absolutely striking in color with perfect markings and a gorgeous face. The other had a spotty cow nose, white socks that went half way up his legs and a thin white Mohawk down his neck. I was handed the picture perfect puppy first only to quickly find out he had quite a voice. He cried and squirmed in my arms, so I quickly put him down to watch him further. He pounced and played but reacted similarly when my sister picked him up.

I asked to hold the other puppy, who sweetly snuggled in my arms and even seemed to love my kisses! Sitting on the couch, I placed him on my legs on his back; his head relaxed and his ears flopped back, making me laugh. I had never seen anything so cute or trusting.

From there on I knew he was the one! His spotty cow nose did finally turn black, I found out his white mohawk is called a “Swiss Kiss” (a good luck mark), and it has now blended to his coat and only his white boots remain.

 

 

vv

Evelyn, Pet Relocation Consultant: I knew VV and I were meant for each other the minute we met. As corny as it sounds, I felt like we shared a deep level of understanding from the beginning. Sometimes I look at her and it’s like staring in the mirror!

 

 

Dante

Kelley, Director of HR: Shortly after we got married, my husband, an Air Force Captain at the time, was being sent on assignment to the Middle East and he wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be lonely while he was gone. We needed a dog.

After taking an online quiz (What dog fits your lifestyle?) – the #2 suggestion was Norwegian Lundehund. Our initial reaction was “What’s a Lundehund?” We had never heard of the breed and, of course, started to research. “Dogs with six toes? Dogs who have articulated shoulders? Dogs who can touch the back of their heads to their spines? Almost went extinct during WWII? Only 2000-2500 of them in the world? And cute too?”

Lucky for us, there was woman on the East Coast who was breeding Lundehunds, and she had two puppies from a recent litter who still needed a home. We drove the four hours to Cary, North Carolina and it was love at first sight. The puppy fell asleep in my arms, exhausted from a long day of playtime, while we were talking to the woman. At that point my husband said he knew we weren’t coming home without him. It was a done deal.

Now a senior canine, Dante has been through four moves in his life. He still romps about in the morning with junior barker, Modi (another Lundehund) and Skipper, the Sheltie. He’s my four-legged baby and will celebrate his 14th birthday in April. It was love at first sight and each day that he’s been in my life is a wonderful gift.

 

 

leo

Tom, HR Specialist: An animal-loving family in the country who unexpectedly ended up with a litter chose to give their puppies to good homes in hopes of keeping them out of the shelter. We drove an hour into the boonies outside of Austin, down a driveway that can best be described as a dried up creek bed. Even at 8 weeks old, Leo’s personality showed through and we knew we had found our boy!

 

Happy Valentine's Day to all the pet lovers out there! Feel free to share your own "meet cute" pet stories in the comments -- we'd love to read them.

Shipping a Dog from California to Washington

Thursday, February 5, 2015 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Dana
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Shiba Inu
From: California, USA
To: Richland, WA, USA

 

Dear PetRelocation,

My question isn't in regards to moving, but I've found a 4-year-old Shiba Inu in an animal shelter in California that I really want to adopt. The problem is that I can't get down there: is there any way I could have him shipped to me? Is this something that you guys do?

Please let me know how much this typically costs...

Thanks,
Dana

 

Hi Dana,

Thank you for your question! It is possible to have a dog shipped to you unaccompanied, but you will need to arrange for someone in California to gather the correct paperwork beforehand (usually just a vet health certificate and proof of an updated rabies vaccine -- take a look at the Washington requirements here).

You'll also need to buy the correct airline-approved travel crate and have someone take the dog to the airport and check him in for his flight, ideally on a pet-friendly airline.

Our company arranges door-to-door pet relocations for pets flying unaccompanied, and though usually the pet owner brings their dog to the vet, etc. in the days before the move, it's possible that we could have an agent handle this for you. Our costs for moving one small pet internationally typically start at around $1200, but your costs will differ depending on a few factors.

If this sounds like what you're looking for and you'd like to discuss your options with us, please give our office a call or fill out our online consultation form. Thanks for considering us, and good luck with everything!

Behind the Scenes at PetRelocation: Sarah's Four Year Pet Shipping Journey

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 by Core Values

sarah & rebaEmployee Profile: Sarah Smith, Senior Pet Relocation Consultant

by Kelley Barnes, Director of HR

Sarah Smith will be celebrating her four year anniversary with PetRelocation this March. In 2014, she helped more than 200 clients by creating customized move plans to safely transport their family pets and guiding them through the selection process to determine the perfect solution to meet their specific needs.

The intricacies of international requirements for the import and export of live animals is not knowledge that can be picked up quickly and easily. Undergoing the same educational process that all our Consultants experience, Sarah started her career with PetRelocation focusing on domestic US moves but she now serves as one of our experts regarding pet transport that originates or terminates in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The complexities of permits and timelines for that region can take over a year to master, given all the countries involved.

When asked about her role in the company, Sarah said, “We send pets to more exotic locations than ever before. Planning can take days or weeks, so even if you apply the same thought processes, it’s never the same day twice.”

Not only does Sarah excel in providing expert advice to prospective clients, she also understands what is means to embody our company values, including commitment and wisdom. When asked to be the subject of our first employee profile in 2015, Sarah demonstrated her dedication to teamwork by making the time to answer the following interview questions.

What’s your first memory of working at PetRelocation?

They took me and Christina (she started on the same day and worked here for about 1.5 years) out to lunch EVERY day that week. And there was beer at lunch!! I remember it was a VERY relaxed atmosphere and I loved that right away. There were no micromanagers breathing down your neck. Everyone was friendly and genuinely cared for one another.

What drew you to the company initially?

PETS! I was looking for a job that somehow incorporated animals. I am an animal lover and I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew at that point in my life I wanted it to involve animals. I was looking for a supplemental job, just something to pay a few fun bills here and there. And after starting, I found myself needing to rely on this job for financial stability. After I had worked here for a few months, I knew I wasn’t leaving! I got to use my love for animals and my passion for helping people while having fun with puzzle-solving logistics!

How has the company changed during your tenure?

Sooooo much has changed. The company has grown in sales, maturity, processes and people. We have more resources and processes in place to support our work. It helps us to do our jobs better.

The two most notable changes? 1) Moving from our Spicewood offices to Downtown Austin. 2) We used to handle the entire move for each client from building the plans to the actual shipping. We really improved the overall process by having the task split between two people, allowing us to really focus on best practices.  

 

zoo pic

The PetRelocation team on a recent outing

What’s your favorite client story?

I have too many to pick one!! I’ve moved pets for professional UFC fighters and professional European basketball players. I have several clients that are “threepeats.” One duo of Rottweilers moved with us from Laos to the US, then the US to Mongolia, then Mongolia back to the US. Probably some of the best world travelers we have!  

One “story” that touches me involves at least three different clients. In 2013 we moved a sweet family to Dubai. They had a few cats and a dog. I had another potential client contact me about moving his dog and cat to Dubai, but he was terrified of what would be life for his Golden Retriever in a foreign country. I connected the two clients -- past and potential.

They hit it off and Kim (past client) took Jim and his family (potential client) to breakfast while they visited Dubai on a house hunt. He hadn’t even hired us yet! Kim convinced him that Dylan (his Golden) would be just fine and that we were a great company to work with. They hired us, and now the two families are fast friends in Dubai! Kim also had a hand in easing the fears of another client whose pets just moved, and now Jim and his family are paying it forward to a new potential client! I think we’re starting a group of friends in Dubai and that really warms my heart.

 

dylan

Dylan the Golden in Dubai

What has been your proudest moment while working PetRelocation?

Generating $1.2 million in revenue in 2014, which resulted in lots of beautiful reunions!

What do you think will change about pet travel in the next five years?

It’s hard to say. Country requirements will change, as they always do. For example, the European Union has a new rule that started being enforced on January 1 requiring that a pet traveling to the EU arrive within five days of the owner. It’s a huge change and will impact not only our clients, but anyone headed into the EU.

I also think companies will start realizing their employees won’t leave their pets behind, and we can expect more organizations to regularly factor pets into their employee’s relocation reimbursement plan.  

What advice to you have for people who want to join the company?

You MUST be able to work strange hours. You MUST be able to deal with stress -- a high level of stress. You MUST care about animals, first and foremost! Decide if the stress and hours are worth it for you. It’s not for everyone and that’s ok, but don’t waste your own time by “trying it out.” It will be MORE stressful than they tell you! But so rewarding and worth it!

Everyone here helps each other. There will be a team of people willing to help you solve the client’s problem. You’re never on your own. The culture here has always been one of fun and caring. In fact, I think the team tries to focus on those qualities when hiring.

reba

Reba, Sarah's dog, helping out at the office

What do you wish other people knew about the company?

Two things: 1) We don’t rescue and/or find pets a new home: our purpose is focused on relocation pets who already have an owner. 2) Our clients constantly tell us how this was the least stressful part of their whole move, and we’ve had others tell us that they wish we had handled their personal belongings as well because we made things so easy on them. We may cost more than other similar services, but we provide quality, professional service to every client, every day.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I am a super social person, but some of my favorite times are sitting on my couch in pajamas with Reba (my dog) and a glass of wine. Even better if my sister is in town!! Family is #1 for me.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

Read, take Reba to the dog park, lift weights, swim, eat and drink, travel and anything involving water, sand and sun.

Hollywood wants to make a movie about your life. Who do they cast to play you?

Laura Prepon -- but not from Orange is the New Black. Laura Prepon from a few years ago when she was playing Donna from That 70’s Show (redheaded tomboy, goofball).

Editor's Note: We interviewed Sarah back in 2011, too -- take a look what she had to say after working at PetRelocation for just a couple of weeks, and read about some of the incredible experiences Sarah and the rest of the PetRelocation team have recently arranged.
 

Incredible Experiences: Lucy, Oscar & Winston's Move to Belgium

Monday, February 2, 2015 by PetRelocation.com Customer

Name: Ammar & Guy
Pets' Names: Lucy, Oscar, & Winston
From: Glendale, California, USA
To: Brussels, Belgium
 

We moved to Brussels, Belgium from Southern California in October of 2014. The most difficult aspect of the entire process was figuring out how to get our three animals safely transported. None of the animals were used to traveling, nor were they used to being in crates, but PetRelocation took all the craziness out of our hands.

They aided us in figuring out what papers to have ready and what medical tests to have done. They made sure that our three "babies" were picked up from our house in California and safely delivered to our door in Brussels. It may have taken 15 hours of travel time due to the distance, but all of our pets not only survived the ordeal, they are each thriving in our new locale. And while they may not have access to a personal backyard as we had back in SoCal, with several dog-friendly parks all with a half km of land at our new house, they don't seem to mind one bit!

We highly recommend PetRelocation to anyone needing help in transporting their animals cross-country or overseas.





Watch out, It's a Pet Scam (Monkey Edition)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Magan
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Monkey
Pet Breed: Capuchin
From: MN, USA
To: GA, USA

 

Hello,

I am taking to someone about getting a monkey, and all she wants is a shipping fee that she says is $280. She said she would be using your services. I am just wanting to make sure this isn't a scam.

Thanks,

Magan

 

Hi Magan,

That is definitely a scam. Anytime someone you don't know is offering to give you a pet (especially a high-demand breed or exotic species) and only wants to charge you transportation fees, you can assume the animal doesn't exist and they are just trying to take advantage of you.

Read more about how to avoid pet scams and know that these tactics apply to dogs, cats, birds, and yes, monkeys. We strongly advise against dealing with unknown parties online when looking to add a pet to your family, and remember that anytime you're asked to wire money for "transportation fees,"  you're in danger of falling for a well-worn scam.

For reference, moving a small pet domestically typically starts at around $1200 (this covers airfare, health documents, vet visits, travel crate, etc), so this suggested fee of just $280 serves as another red flag. Monkey travel also requires a little more planning than dog and cat travel, so if something sounds too easy to be true, it probably is.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Magan (and hopefully you haven't sent any money yet). Please let us know if you have further questions, and good luck out there!

Incredible Experiences: Max Becomes a Kiwi

Monday, January 26, 2015 by PetRelocation.com Customer

Name: Catherine & Mark
Pet's Name: Max
From: New York City, New York, USA
To: Christchurch, New Zealand

My husband and I moved from New York City to Christchurch, New Zealand with our cat, Max, by way of 3-month stint in Bangor, Maine. New Zealand has strict rules on animals entering the country and require a pet relocation company to assist with the move. Max would live in St. Louis, MO with my mom for 3 months while he finished up relocation vet requirements.

I chose PetRelocation not only based on their customer feedback but also because of the amount of detail, care and attention I received when I made my first call to inquire. I felt that my cat would be treated not just humanely, but lovingly, from one phone conversation with Paul.

Max's care and travel planning was assigned to Brooke, who not only had to deal with my anxiety, but my mom's as well, as Max lived with her for 3 months after my husband and I relocated to New Zealand. Brooke was patient, attentive and available whenever we needed her (which was often).

 

max sleeping



There was no "easy" part to this move. I was anxious to have my cat back in my care, and when he was 6 hours into a 15 hour plane flight, there was no amount of nail-biting that made me feel better. Max of course missed his connecting flight, and my email immediately lit up with emails from Brooke updating me with all advances in his plans. She was even able to ensure that Max would not have to wait at the airport, but rather with an actual human in a quieter setting, which settled the butterflies in my stomach. Max finally arrived to the quarantine facility just a few hours later than expected.

Max is a lover. He would give us up in a heartbeat if someone else was offering a better chin rub or a few Greenies. In his world, everyone is his friend and the quarantine facility was no exception. The ladies at Canterbury Quarantine loved playing with him and thus he received great care (not to mention he was the only cat onsite at the time). When I went to pick him up he was eager to get out of his "prison" (he does not like to be confined, he's an explorer!) and on to the next adventure.

 

max hanging out

 

Now he enjoys watching the birds in our garden from our many windows and sleeping in the sunlight. He is no worse for the wear and still has all 9 cat lives (though I may have lost a few!). Moving is never easy and moving across the country with a fur baby is definitely tougher.

Without PetRelocation I think this process would have taken a great toll not only on Max, but an emotional one on me as well. I am grateful for their expertise, care, and love of animals, which helped reunite me and my husband with our beloved Max!

Thanks to Catherine and Mark for sharing their move story with us! Interested in cat travel to New Zealand (or pet travel in general)? Please contact us for a consultation.

Pet News Round-Up: Pet Resorts and Travel Reminders

Friday, January 16, 2015 by Caitlin Moore

A new luxury pet resort will be opening near the Orlando airport.

Want to know more about pet travel to Hong Kong? Read our latest Pet Move of the Month feature.

Future plans: here's more about JFK's fancy new animal handling cargo terminal.

What's better than a dog who knows how to ride the bus?

Cool pet gadgets.

More about Barbados' new pet import rules.

 

huckleberry

Have a fun weekend, pet lovers

 

Pet Move of the Month: Lucy's Journey to Hong Kong

Thursday, January 15, 2015 by PetRelocation.com Customer

Lucy on the beachMore 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?

No!

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!

 

Lucy at the galleria

 

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.

How Do Pets Handle Long International Flights?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Laura
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Eurasier
From: Europe
To: Boston

 

Dear PetRelocation,

I have never had a dog flown before and I wonder if there are calming medicines that are administered? How are their basic needs cared for (thinking here about the intake of food and water as well as the excretion of the same)? What are the conditions in the hold (thinking temperature, light, presence of other animals)? What happens during layovers if there is no direct flight to be had (Copenhagen-Boston)?

Thanks,

Laura
 

 

Hi Laura,

These are all great questions. The idea of putting your pet onto a long international flight can definitely feel daunting at first, but we find that the more that a pet owner learns about the process, the more confident they can begin to feel about planning a successful trip. We have helped thousands of pets move safely and would be happy to share a few tips and facts with you.

First, please know that sedation is not allowed or recommended during pet flights. Crate training is a better way to help your dog feel calm during a flight and it's a practice we do highly recommend. Helping your dog to see the crate as a comfortable and safe place is very important -- please read more about crate-training here (these tips apply to both dogs and cats).

It's also important to choose a pet-friendly airline with dedicated staff and pet safe practices. We often use KLM, Lufthansa, United and British Airways for our clients' pets due to their level of attention to their pet passengers.The cargo area of the plane is pressure and temperature controlled and, with pet-friendly airlines pets are the last to be loaded and the first to be removed upon arrival. They are situated securely and carefully with the pet's safety and comfort in mind.

Layovers can be a good thing for pets, as this will allow for a bathroom/stretch break that makes a long journey more comfortable. We often schedule our clients' flights so that they can stop at an animal hotel for a few hours or even overnight where they are tended to by professionals. The layover situation will depend on the route you ultimately choose, and we'd be happy to further discuss your options with you if you'd like.

Please fill out our online consultation form if you'd like to find out more about our services, and in the meantime you can also read over these basic pet travel tips and these recent pet move stories from our clients. Again, hopefully the more you learn the better you'll feel about your pet's travel experience.

Thanks for reading, and we hope to hear from you soon!

Pet Travel Requirements for Norway

Friday, January 9, 2015 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Tracey
Number of Pets: 4
Pet Type: 2 dogs and 2 cats
Pet Breed: Golden Retrievers and domestic cats
From: USA
To: Norway

 

Hi PetRelocation,

Do we need to have the rabies titer testing of the animals prior to the move? Are there any other tests required other than the health check and tapeworm treatment??

Thanks,

Tracey

 

Hi Tracey,

Moving pets to Norway does not require a titer test. Your dogs and cats will need microchips, rabies vaccines administered at least 21 days before departure, and the dogs will need a tapeworm treatment within one to five days of departure. As you mentioned, you'll also need a health certificate.

Take a look at an overview of the Norway pet import requirements via the USDA website, and it may also help to take a look at a few typical pet travel questions and answers to find out more about crate-training, cargo travel, and choosing a pet-friendly airline.

Finally, if you're interested in hiring some assistance with your pet move, you're welcome to fill out our online consultation form.

Hopefully this helps to point you in the right direction, Tracey. Thanks for submitting a question to us, and good luck with everything!

Tips for Safe Pet Air Travel

Tuesday, December 30, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Janeth
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Labrador Retriever
From: Tampa, FL
To: Los Angeles, CA

Hi PetRelocation,

I've been reading some horrible stories about animals dying when they fly, and it doesn't give me any peace of mind about flying anywhere with my pet. I have to fly to California because I'm moving there, but I want to find at least five top airlines that I can trust with my pet. She will be in the cargo area since she is 60 pounds.

What airlines are the best? What things could I do so my dog gets there safely with me?

Thanks,

Janeth

 

Hi Janeth,

Excellent questions! First of all, read this. Though it's common to come across news stories about pet travel mistakes and mishaps, the fact of the matter is that most pets fly safely. When you look at the numbers and realize that there are things you can do to minimize the risks of pet travel, hopefully you'll begin to see the situation a little differently (which will help you start to breathe a little easier).

What are the things you can do to help your dog travel safely? First, work on crate-training. If your dog is comfortable with her crate and even enjoys spending time in it, you'll be off to a great start. Here are a few tips for helping this to become a reality (they apply to both dogs and cats). Second, it's important to choose a pet-friendly airline. We have helped thousands of pets fly safely, and our most frequently-selected airlines include United, KLM and Lufthansa.

It usually helps to read the stories of pet travelers who have gone through this all before, so we recommend taking a look at these PetRelocation client experiences for some insight and education. Finally, here are a few frequently asked pet travel questions that might help you pick up a few tips, as well.

If you think you'd like some expert help carrying out your move, feel free to fill out our online consultation form. We'd be happy to assist you!

Thanks again for reaching out. Hopefully this information sheds light on the more positive realities of pet travel and helps you to plan a safe and low-stress trip. Good luck with everything and let us know if we can be of further assistance!
 

Nervous Owners, Nervous Pets: Addressing Common Pet Travel Concerns

Thursday, December 11, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Nicole
Number of Pets: 2
Pet Type: Dog/Cat
Pet Breed: Shepherd/Boxer mix and Tortoiseshell Cat
From: Portland, OR
To: Buenos Aires, Argentina

 

Dear PetRelocation,

I am considering moving to Argentina or Brazil next year. I will not move without my pets. However, I have heard horror stories of the percentage of dogs that die on airplanes. Can you tell me a bit about your safety measures? Will someone travel with my dog in the cargo area? How are the dogs walked/allowed to go to the bathroom on long flights?

My shepherd/boxer mix has a long snout, so the short snout breathing issue is not a problem. However, if he feels threatened, he will be aggressive. He gets reactive with big dogs (mostly other shepherds) and will chase cats (cannot be with my cat).

My cat gets very carsick, so I imagine a flight wouldn't be great either. She will bite if she is touched in the wrong spot. Can you please advise me on how this move might work and what conditions my pets would be in during their travel?

Thanks!

Nicole

 

Hi Nicole,

These are all great questions! Sad stories about airline mishaps often surface in the news, but when you look at the numbers, you'll see that air travel for pets is actually very safe. Please read more about airline pet travel myths on our blog and in this Yahoo Travel article in which we offered some advice, and you may also want to take a look at this recent infographic put together by Barkpost. 

Essentially, it's very important to choose a pet-friendly airline and to prepare your pets through crate-training, a vet health consultation and a generally healthy lifestyle. You can read more basic pet travel tips here. Pets are not accompanied in the cargo area, but this part of the plane is pressure and temperature controlled and often provides a better and more calm environment than the cabin would. Pet-friendly airlines take care to load pets last before departure and remove them first upon arrival, and they will be transported in temperature-controlled vehicles.

As for pets with possible nervousness issues or behavior quirks, please know that safe travel is perfectly possible for them, as well. When working with a pet-friendly airline, trained professionals will be handling pets during comfort stops and pets will not be interacting with other animals during this time. If your pets flew with United and were routed through Houston, for example, they would be given water and a bathroom break at a safe facility under the care of individuals prepared to handle animals of all temperament.

We often advise our clients to label the travel crates if they'd like airline or airport staff to be aware of any issues; "I'm sometimes aggressive with other dogs" or "I have anxiety around strangers" are common examples. Either way, these issues shouldn't prevent your pets from flying.

Hopefully this information helps to get you started, Nicole. If you're interested in hiring some assistance, one of our PetRelocation Specialists would be happy to discuss your options and concerns with you further. Please fill out our online consultation form at your convenience or feel free to give our office a call at 1-877-PET-MOVE. 

Good luck with everything, and we hope to hear from you!

Update: Pet Travel to Australia from "Non-Approved" Countries

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

If you're planning to travel with a pet to Australia from a "non-approved" country (here's the list of country categories), be aware that the rules have recently been updated. These changes relate to the rabies titer test and where it can be administered, so will affect the pre-export travel plans of pet owners tackling this process. 

Here's what has changed, based on information from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture:

  • In Summary, a pet can now begin the rabies vaccine and titer test in the non-approved country (administered by a registered vet and blood tested in a lab recognized by DAFF with passing results). 
  • The pet will then need to travel to an approved country, where a second blood sample must be collected from the animal. The rabies antibody titre must be tested at a laboratory recognised by the competent authority of that country at least 10 days prior to export to Australia. The second RNAT test must also record a rabies antibody titre of at least 0.5 IU/m. 
  • Immediately after the blood sample is taken for the second RNAT test, an approved inactivated rabies vaccine must be given to the animal in the approved country.

 

Previously, pets from non-approved countries first had to go to an approved country to begin export testing (rabies vaccination and titer test) and could travel back to the unapproved country after passing the titer test. Then they had to travel back to the approved country for the remaining preparations. Alternatively, the pet had to travel to an approved country and stay there until export, completing all necessary procedures.

Please contact PetRelocation if you have questions about these Australia pet import changes or if you need help planning a pet move. Want to know more about the process from a pet owner's perspective? Here's a move story from one of our recent Australia clients.