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Goodbye and Good Luck, Matt!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 by Core Values

matt kincaidThis week we're saying goodbye to the very first employee hired at PetRelocation, Matt Kincaid. After 10 years in which he's shipped hundreds of pets and acted as an anchor and leader at the company, Matt is moving to Maine with his wife and two daughters to join his East Coast family in starting a new business.

We'll miss him greatly here in Austin, as his knowledge, wisdom, teamwork, and integrity have contributed so much to the success and evolution of PetRelocation.

Good luck and thanks for 10 great years, Matt! This farewell is certainly bittersweet. Here are a few memories gathered by the PetRelocation team that capture Matt's personality, dedication, and pet shipping expertise:

 

I will miss a number of things about Kincaid; his beat boxing skills, loud typing, constant need to move quickly (to the bus especially), and how he wears his Orioles hat in rain, snow (well, sleet really), and sunshine. However, the thing I will miss most is having his perspective on things. He has a unique ability to calm people down and remind them of the big picture in a very real way. It is so easy for us to get caught up in all of the stressful little situations that pop up throughout each day. Matt is one of the few people who has the ability to empathize with that stress and also help you get your head back in the game for the greater good. I will definitely miss having him around. -- Bethany

 

Matt is a straight up hustler with a purpose and a heart of gold. Over the past 15 months, I am grateful to have worked with the man who embodies PetRelocation’s Core Values and who has been an integral part in forming our culture. He has always been gracious with his time and perspective for newbies needing some wisdom and guidance. Overall, I will miss his ability to pull a laugh out of nearly every meeting; his generous nature; his optimism; and the rare ability to make the workplace seem more like home with family, rather than just a place of business with coworkers. Good luck Matt! -- Tom

 

Dear Matt,

Thank you for your great advice and support over the years. I will not forget training with you and Brad and the ice storm of February 2011. Wish you and your family the best in Maine! -- Ashley

I have really enjoyed trading vegetable gardening tips and success with him, along with getting advice! He’s a great guy. :) -- Penney

 

matt, rachel, kevin  angie in las vegas

Matt, Rachel, Kevin & Angie in 2006

 

Matt is an awesome co-worker because he has a great personality and a fun, positive attitude.  But I will always remember Matt as being a really good dad. Matt’s oldest daughter, Mia, was fond of Robert (our office hamster) and on a couple of occasions I sent her picture texts of Robert to her through Matt’s phone. She would send back very cute replies. When she was in the office visiting, I let her give him some treats. It was extremely adorable. Another demonstration of Matt’s fun spirit is that he helped me tune my mandolin before my first lesson and always asks me how my lessons are going.  He will be missed! -- Tobi

 

This story goes back almost 10 years ago, when Kevin, Matt and I were the only people working at PetRelocation. Our office was a little house on a dirt road in Lakeway.

Back then Matt did all of the domestic moves and Kevin had Asia as his region. I did all other countries and accounting.

matt & angie

Matt and Angie at a relocation conference in Las Vegas in 2006

In November 2005, I snuck out of the office and went to Walmart and bought a diet coke and a pregnancy test (Still have the receipt, lol). I couldn't wait until after work so I took the test right there at the office.

Matt and Kevin were in the back room with their headsets on talking with customers on the phone. I skipped out of the bathroom and waived the positive pregnancy test around so they could both see it. Both of their jaws dropped and they smiled and gave a big thumbs up! I'm not sure if Matt remembers, but that is a day I will never forget.

It's amazing to look back and think about all that's happened since then.

I have had the honor to see Matt evolve over the last decade as a husband, father, and a wonderful human being. Thank you Matt for all of the memories! This is not a goodbye, but rather a see you later! Good luck to you and Carly on the next chapter. We love you and will see you in Maine!

Cheers,

Angie

 

matt & keith

Matt and Keith

I certainly don’t have just one cherished memory, but will deeply miss navigating the “sand traps” of day-to-day office life with him. As my manager he wasn’t always easy on me, and never lost focus of keeping the company’s best interests as a main priority. His wife, daughters, pets, and future vegetables are in good hands. -- Keith

 

My favorite memory of Matt was when I went to Lucy’s Retired Surfer Bar to see Uncle Bruno (Matt's band) perform. It was a raucous show, where the band eventually got up on the bar and jammed out. By the end of the night, Kincaid and I were a few sheets to the wind and hung out on the porch with Stevie Wonder’s drummer.

What I’ll miss most about Matt is being his #1 Chop Buster. Since he joined corporate, I have taken much joy in pushing his buttons each and every day. Now, I will only have my own buttons to push…:) -- Joe

 

I met Matt for the first time in May of 2006 when I interviewed at PetRelocation. At that time, PetRelocation’s staff consisted of its co-founders, Kevin and Angie, and Matt, its first employee. Let’s just say things were a little more lenient with the interview process back then, as Matt asked me hard hitting questions like “What album do you currently have in your car’s CD player?” I remember being really embarrassed because I had the Backstreet Boys Black & Blue album (it wasn’t mine, I swear!) but feeling compelled to tell the truth anyway. Matt gave me a hard time for that, but I still got the job.

matt & rachel

Matt and Rachel

This led to me having the fun, rewarding, and inspiring experience of working with Matt for the last nine years. When I first started, Matt was a true coach, teaching me the ropes of how to ship pets. Back then we used paper file folders to keep track of all of our shipments, and he showed me how to write out my logistics plan on the front of the file folder. On my first day, at around noon, Matt asked me if I wanted anything from the gas station. Our old office was about 30 miles outside of Austin and had limited access to stores and restaurants – the gas station was the closest place to buy lunch. I declined, having brought my lunch that day, but Matt and I enjoyed many trips to the gas station over the years – BBQ Fritos for him, Easy Mac for me. On Fridays, at around 4 PM, we’d power down our computers and we would all clean the office together: our CEO mopping the floors while Matt vacuumed and I scrubbed the toilets.

I have had some fun times with Matt, like the time during my first year when we went to Las Vegas for a conference and rode in a limo on the way from the airport to the hotel (we really felt like we’d made it!). Another time, the night before Matt’s birthday, a group of us decided to turn his desk at work into a mini-golf course, complete with real grass, a water hazard, and a sand trap. Matt, an avid golfer, came in to work the next morning and worked the whole day with his mouse pad perched on the Bermuda grass desktop.

 

matt birthday

The 'Golf Desk'

Things have changed a lot in the 9 years we’ve worked together: we’ve moved downtown, so we have way more lunch options than just a gas station now; we have cloud-based CRM and project management tool that allows us to plan and monitor our pet moves online, instead of on a file folder; the company has grown from the four of us to nearly forty; and we now have a weekly cleaning service, whose hard work I’m certain we never take for granted.

But one thing has not changed. Matt’s loyalty, compassion, and true commitment to seeing PetRelocation succeed has always been a constant. It can be easy to get lost in in the ever-evolving and constantly shifting ecosystem that is a startup, but Matt has always remained a shelter from the storm, a touchstone to the roots of the company.

I will miss him, PetRelocation will miss him, the industry will miss him – and we can only hope they sell BBQ Fritos in Maine. -- Rachel

 

goodbye, matt!

Good luck on your next adventure, Matt!

Wrap-Up: IPATA Latin American Regional Meeting

Monday, March 30, 2015 by Rachel Truair

People are sometimes surprised when they find out just how many pet relocation companies exist worldwide. In actuality, there are hundreds of companies that PetRelocation works with to provide incredible experiences for pets moving around the globe. The International Pet and Animal Transportation Association, or IPATA, is a trade association dedicated to helping pet relocation companies gather to improve their knowledge, build strong alliances, and achieve common goals. In addition to hosting annual conferences, regional meetings are organized to help focus on issues and goals of a common region.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the IPATA Latin American Regional Meeting held in Lima, Peru. In addition to being interested in learning more about the needs of the growing group of pet owners in Latin America, I also serve as IPATA's Assistant Regional Director of the Americas and had been asked to speak on the topic of humanization, or the trend of people seeing pets as members of the family.

If you're going to Peru, you've got to go to Machu Picchu, so the first few days saw our group exploring the Cuzco area of Peru and hiking up to one of the greatest wonders of the world. Being a pet-focused group, one day we visited the Ccochahuasi Animal Sanctuary where we were treated to an up-close viewing of the Andean condor, the endangered national bird of Peru. We also got our first look at the Peruvian Hairless Dog, also known as the Peruvian Inca Orchid. I had heard of these dogs prior to my trip, but what I didn't know was that Inca Orchids hold a special cultural designation that requires them to go through a different export process than most pets when being exported from Peru.

Peruvian Hairless Dog
A Peruvian Hairless Dog at the Ccochahuasi Animal Sanctuary

After our visit to Machu Picchu, the conference got into full swing in Lima. After an announcement from Jack Russo, Director of the Americas for IPATA and owner of Bobbi's World Kennels, as well as an update from our incoming IPATA Present Derek Huntington from Capital Pet Movers, we heard from local airline representatives from LAN Airlines, Copa Airlines, Air Canada, and Lufthansa about their service offerings in and out of Latin America. We also were honored to have Dr. Patricia Caldas, one of the head import/export authorities at Servicio Nacional de Sanidad Agraria del Perú (SENASA), which overseas all pets arriving to or departing from Peru. One interesting fact is that Peru only sees "pets" (in Spanish, "mascotas") as dogs and cats. Any other pets (birds, lizards, etc.) will have to arrive as a commercial import/export and require additional paperwork.

Latin American pet shipping companies
From L-R: Dra. Patricia Caldas, SENASA, Melissa Vasquez Sansores, Pet Air Mexico; Melisa Irrivari Oliveri, PetWings Peru; Jack Russo, Bobbi's World Kennels; Luz Maria Farias, LATAM Pet Transport - Chile; Kaesy Batista, Canal Movers & Logistics - Panama; Patricia Gil, LATAM Pet Transport - Peru

Pet shippers were also trained on pet emergency CPR as well as the Heimlich maneuver and other first aid best practices -- an important but sometimes overlooked element of training for any pet handler -- by Dra. Melissa Grisolle of PetWings, who is a pathologist, veterinarian and pet relocation provider in Peru. In addition to this, we heard a great talk from Melisa Vasquez Sansores at Pet Air Mexico on the special handling of brachycephalic (or snub-nosed) breeds.

In addition to these talks, we spent some time as a group identifying three year goals for the Latin American region. One area where we hope to make progress over the next three years is forming stronger relationships with Latin American governments. We would like to see it take less time to clear pets through customs, as anyone who has cleared a pet through customs south of the equator will tell you that it can take anywhere from up to 8 hours or more. While other countries have moved toward allowing pets to be pre-cleared through electronic documents, thus reducing the time the pet is left waiting in his crate after a long flight, Latin American countries have been slower to adopt this practice. Members of the IPATA Latin American region hope to change this over then

patovet and petwings in lima
Attendees visiting PatoVet and Petwings in Lima

At the end of the meeting, we loaded up on a tour bus and shuttled to PatoVet, the vet clinic of Dra. Grisolle. There we were treated to a demonstration on handling aggressive as well as timid dogs by Tim Cruser of Come Sit Stay Pet Resort. In addition to having an excellent pet resort outside of Denver, Colorado, Tim is also an experienced dog trainer, having trained protection animals and working dogs for 30 years. We were taught best practices in crate training as well as how to properly load and unload pets from crates.

It's always great to meet up with fellow IPATA members and share stories and learnings from our pet shipping experiences. These types of meetings are critical to the further development and improvement of the pet relocation industry, which makes up the steadily growing pet services industry. Thanks to the Latin American members for hosting such a great meeting!

Employee Profile: Joe, PetRelocation Corporate Account Manager

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 by Core Values

joeBy Kelley Barnes, Director of HR

If you have a ‘Joe Fraser type’ in your company, then you know how lucky you are.

What do I mean by that – a ‘Joe Fraser type’? In this case, it means to have that outgoing, social personality who also has the uncanny ability to get things done. In the offices of PetRelocation, in addition to being the point of contact for a number of our corporate accounts, Joe is the driving force behind our well-attended, regular monthly outings to experience Austin culture and fun. (Of course it doesn’t hurt that our offices are one block over from Austin’s legendary Sixth Street Entertainment District).

Joe is someone we can always rely on to have a smile on his face and to generally rally the troops when a cheerleader is needed. It’s clear he draws on his skills in Improv and Comedy on a daily basis. It’s also no accident that he sits next to the office gong.

For Joe and the other members of our Corporate Accounts team, the end of February is the start of high season. More and more requests will come to us for clients who are being moved around the world by their companies during the start of summer as they plan ahead for the big life change.

Before things get hectic for Joe, he was able to take a few minutes to answer the profile questions below. I hope his answers will bring a smile to your face as they did to mine.

Why did you decide to apply to PetRelocation initially?

I applied for the Sales Consultant role right before I got married in 2011. At that time, I was managing a Segway tour company in downtown Austin. While it was one of the most fun jobs I had ever had, it didn’t provide me the means to provide my soon-to-be wife the life that she needed. So I was searching for a “cool job” that paid more than the Segway job and also had benefits. When I found PetRelocation, everything just fell into place. February 1, 2015 marked my 3-year anniversary with the company.

What’s your first memory of working at PetRelocation?

My first memory of PetRelocation in general is when I interviewed for the job and had to give the presentation. I was so nervous that I showed up for the interview 1.5 hours early, so I sat in my car and gave the presentation to my steering wheel for an hour. It ended up paying off because the presentation went very well. After I finished, the CEO told me that I basically got the job. So when I left the office, I did Kung Fu kicks all the way to my car. Little did I know, all of the windows on the building face the street that I kicked my way down…

 

joe's dogs

Joe's dogs Django & Gypsy

What’s your favorite client story?

My favorite client story was when I moved a Ball Python named Jesus for a corporate client. I was nervous throughout the entire process because snakes are so sensitive. I was afraid that something would go wrong and I would be “the guy who lost Jesus.” Fortunately, the move went off without a hitch and Jesus was safely reunited with his family.

What was your most challenging move/client?

My most challenging move to date was for a 13-year old epileptic Yellow Lab from the US to the Dominican Republic. The dog was so large that she required a custom travel crate in order to meet international airline standards. The size of kennel required ended up being too large to fit on any standard commercial aircraft that serviced Santo Domingo. The result is that we had to drive the dog to Miami and take a cargo flight to Santo Domingo before driving 3 hours to the client’s home. Fortunately, all went well and Molly is now home safe with her family!

You started as a Sales Consultant and moved into Corporate Accounts. What is different about the two roles?

The difference between the consulting role and managing accounts really comes down to the types of clients you are dealing with. When working with clients on the web, anyone can “walk into our store” and request service. These clients come from all types of situations, backgrounds and locations, which always kept me guessing before each call. When managing the accounts, we are typically dealing with high-level corporate executives, HR professionals and 3rd party relocation companies. So in the corporate business, I must be accountable to two or more parties for each move and there are no set “regions” of the world that I work with. But I love that account management keeps me on my toes!

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

I think that the major changes in pet travel in the next five years will come from the airlines and government organizations of the world. The western attitude towards pets is rapidly spreading to countries all over the world and more people are moving pets internationally than ever. I believe this will spur more and more airlines to implement pet safe programs so as to cash in on this industry trend. I also believe that the governing bodies of the world will begin working to standardize import requirements across the world. This will allow pets to travel more freely by streamlining airline and country import requirements.

Emily & Joe

Joe and his wife Emily

What do you wish other people knew about the company?

I wish people knew what a small group that we are. From the outside looking in, we look like a multi-million dollar corporation that moves an unfathomable amount of pets around the world. In reality, we are 30 committed pet-shipping professionals changing peoples’ lives in a way that has never been done before.

What’s your best hidden talent?

My best hidden talent is my skill at singing R&B karaoke. I love getting up on stage, pretending to be nervous and watching people immediately assume that I am going to sing country music or be a poor performer. Then Brian McKnight kicks on and I blow their expectations out of the water. #KaraokeSwag

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

When I’m not working, I like to spend time with my wife and two little Chihuahuas. During the warmer months here in Texas, you can find us floating the river, diving into Central Texas’ many swimming holes and attending the endless number of festivals in the Austin area. From SXSW to The Texas Renaissance festival, from Carnaval Brasileiro to the X Games, we do it all and enjoy the Austin lifestyle to the fullest.

What was the last book you read for fun? What did you enjoy about it?

The last book I read was Clive Barker’s Coldheart Canyon. I am a lover of everything Horror (movies, books, etc.), so Clive Barker and I are old buddies. I love the imagery he uses to paint a picture in my mind of the hellish nightmares in his novels.

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

Hugh Jackman... obviously. :)

 

Read more about Joe and the rest of the PetRelocation team here. Want to work at PetRelocation? Take a look at our current open positions.

Is This a Puppy Scam?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 by Pet Travel Questions

puppyWe've discussed puppy scams and how to avoid falling for them many times on our blog, but since we've received phone calls about some new pet scam techniques in the past few days, we wanted to give our readers another heads up.

  • First of all, we highly discourage buying a pet from an unknown source, especially someone who is in a different state or country. If you can't go to their house, meet them, and see the pet for yourself, you're already taking a risk.

  • Read this. If any of these typical pet scam details sound familiar, walk away. Particular red flags include a very sad or dramatic story from the pet seller, a "free" pet that just requires paying "transportation costs," and the request that you send payment via Western Union or MoneyGram.

  • Remember, just because someone has a picture of a pet, that doesn't mean it's real. Often pet scammers just find a photo online and pass it off as their own. Pet scammers do not actually have any pets in their possession, so anything they say about a puppy being stuck at the airport or being in danger is simply not true.

  • Same goes for "official" sounding pet company names. Google everything they send you to find out if they are real or not and pay close attention to the email address they use. If it's more sketchy than official, you should stop communicating with them.

  • Specific Example: We recently heard from someone taken in by a supposed breeder called "Bosco Bulldogs" who told their would-be client they were using PetRelocation to ship the pet. A little research reveals this is not a real breeder, and when they called us they found out that of course we knew nothing about the "order." Note: PetRelocation deals with pet owners directly and will never ask that you wire money for our services.

In summary, just be smart. If something seems off, it's probably a scam. Never rush into anything and never send money to a questionable source online, and above all, remember that these problems can be avoided by adopting from your local animal shelter or rescue organization!

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any advice for your fellow pet lovers.

 

Photo credit: Jennifer/Flickr

Dog Travel to the Dominican Republic

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Lindsay
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Blue Heeler
From: USA
To: Dominican Republic

 

Hi there,

We're moving to the Dominican Republic in the Summer of 2015. Many airlines seem to say you cannot ship a dog if the daily forecasted temperature is 85 degrees or higher, and it appears to be over 85 in the DR all year long! Is there some sort of way around this rule? Using a professional shipping company or something? Thanks for your help!

Best,

Lindsay

 

Hi Lindsay,

Thanks for your inquiry. We've helped several pets move successfully to the Dominican Republic and would be happy to explore your options with you. Often pet travel can seem impossible at first, but after some investigating is done and expert knowledge applied, a solution can often be found. For your information, here are the pet import requirements for the Dominican Republic.

Generally, flying with a pet-friendly airline (we often use United) diminishes the chance of being affected by temperature, as a truly pet-oriented carrier will not let pets be exposed to the elements for a significant amount of time and will place a high priority on safety and comfort all year round.

Please read over these basic pet travel tips on our blog, and if you think you'd like to find out more about our door-to-door services, please fill out our online consultation form.

We hope we can be of service to you, and either way, good luck!
 

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.
 

What to Know about Puppy Travel

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Jackie
From: Denmark
To: St. Louis, MO
Pet: Alaskan Malamute puppy, around 25 pounds

Dear PetRelocation,

I am thinking of buying a puppy that is in Denmark. I have no clue how much shipping will cost. Just a ball park figure is fine. I'm not even where in Denmark the pup is located... I just wanted to know about total cost before I even get serious and bothered the breeder. She'll be an 8 or 9-week-old puppy.

Thanks,

Jackie

 

Hi Jackie,

Thanks for your question. It typically costs a few hundred dollars to move a small pet internationally; our door-to-door services can amount to $3500 or more for a relocation like this. Your specific costs will depend on a few factors, such as the exact points of departure and arrival, whether the dog flies in the cabin or in the cargo area, etc.

You can start to calculate those costs by adding up the dog's airfare, travel crate, pre-export paperwork, and associated vet visits and transportation costs to and possibly from the airport. The more help you enlist and the less you do on your own, the more expensive it will be.

Now, we can't help but mention the fact that pet scams are very common these days. You may be dealing with a reputable breeder, but no matter what it's important to use caution when dealing with someone you don't really know. Please read more about puppy scams to educate yourself about the warning signs and ensure that you won't fall for any dishonest tactics.

Another thing to think about: PetRelocation does not move pets younger than the age of 16 weeks. At four months they can receive all vaccines and are more physically prepared to withstand the rigors of travel, and moving a puppy younger than this requires extra care and attention and includes some amount of risk.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions about these topics, and good luck with everything!

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!

Planning Dog Travel to Hawaii

Tuesday, December 30, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: LaVonne
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Great Dane
From: United States
To: Hawaii

 

Hi PetRelocation,

I'd like to know how this works and how much it costs to have my dog sent to Hawaii, and also what your company includes as far as shipping my dog (basically all information).

Thanks,

LaVonne
 

Hi LaVonne,

Thank you for reaching out to us with your question! These frequently asked pet travel questions will help to give you an overview of what to expect when relocating with a pet, and for your specific situation, you'll also want to read about what is required to move a pet to Hawaii. Since Hawaii is considered rabies-free, there are a few extra steps you must take before your dog can be accepted into the state, and the process takes a few weeks to carry out correctly and smoothly.

If you're interested in door-to-door pet transportation services like ours, you can take a look at a summary of what we do and can fill out our consultation form if you'd like to hear from a Specialist to start discussing your move options. Essentially, if you sign up with us we will help you through every step of the move (vet visits, airline booking, paperwork, etc.) and help you obtain the right travel crate (a custom crate is probably needed here). Our services aren't right for everyone, but we'd be happy to talk to you further if you'd like to find out more. For fastest service, you're welcome to give our office a call at 1-877-PET-MOVE.

Typically our costs for moving a pet domestically start at around $1200, but since you're going to Hawaii with a large dog, you can probably expect to pay more than that (the more space a pet takes up in the cargo area, the more the airline charges).

Hopefully this helps to get you started, and we hope to hear from you soon!

The Multiple Solutions for Pet Travel

Monday, November 24, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Shani
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Miniature Pinscher Mix
From: United States
To: UAE - Dubai or Abu Dhabi

 

Dear PetRelocation,

We may be moving our dog from the US to the UAE - either Abu Dhabi or Dubai. I have read that the only way dogs can enter the UAE is by cargo. I am REALLY nervous about transporting our little guy this way all the way from the US.

Is it possible to fly to Germany or some other mid-point with him in cabin and then do the last leg of the flight as cargo? If so, would it be worth having a few day layover in Germany for him to recover before shipping him as cargo? Thanks so much for your help.

Thanks,

Shani

 

Hi Shani,

Thanks for reaching out with your question. When it comes to planning pet travel there are usually many possible solutions, and we'd be happy to go over a few options with you to help you find the right one!

First, please know that pet cargo travel is safe when planned with a few guiding parameters; these include choosing a pet-friendly airline, talking to your vet about any pet health questions you have, and helping your dog to be acclimated to the travel crate. Read more about pet travel basics here

We typically use KLM when flying pets from the US to the UAE. This pet-friendly airline has trained staff and solid pet-safe procedures that help make even a long trip as comfortable as possible for furry family members (they even have a pet hotel).

After more research you may decide to choose this carrier for your dog's flight, or you may want to stick to your original idea and break up the flight. Note that if you change airlines or leave the airport, you'll most likely need to provide additional paperwork.

It often helps to read the pet travel stories of other pet owners. Take a look at a few of our recent customer stories for an idea of what the process entails and how it feels once the move is over. Additionally, you can look over the pet import requirements for the UAE, as well. 

We'd be happy to provide additional information and let you know more about our door-to-door services if you're interested. Please contact us if you'd like to speak to a Specialist to go over these options in more detail, and either way, good luck with your trip!

Pet Shipping to Colorado

Thursday, September 25, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Nathan
Number of Pets: 2
Pet Type: 2 cats
Pet Breed: Mix
From: Poland
To: CO, USA

 

Hi PetRelocation,

Could you please tell me if there are any vaccinations required for my cats' trip to the United States? I understand that they need a healthy pet certificate 10 days prior to the fight, but what else might happen in this case? Also, would they have to be put in any kind of kennel for observation upon arrival?

I would greatly appreciate any and all information you could give me on this!

Thanks,

Nathan
 

Hi Nathan,

Thanks for your inquiry!

Here are the pet import requirements for the United States. There is no quarantine upon arrival, and you're right, you do need to have an International Health Certificate issued by your vet showing the airline your cats are healthy and fit to fly. We also recommend that they be up to date on their rabies vaccine.

If your cats aren't used to traveling, we suggest reading over these cat crate-training tips as well as these frequently asked pet travel questions. You'll also want to contact a vet as you get settled in your new home to make sure you're following Colorado cat regulations correctly regarding vaccines, etc.

If you think you'd like to hire some assistance for your move, please contact us for a free quote. We provide door-to-door services around the world and would be happy to discuss your move options with you.

Hope this helps, and good luck with your travels!

Pet Shipping Questions: Approved Routes to New Zealand

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: "Dog Mover, Hopefully"
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Cocker Spaniel
From: Thailand
To: New Zealand

Is it a good idea to move a Cocker Spaniel from Thailand to New Zealand? If so, then can you please tell me all about the process?

Thanks,

DMH

 

Hi DMH,

It may not be impossible to move your dog to New Zealand, but it's certainly going to take some time and effort. The primary reason for this is that pets can't move directly from Thailand to New Zealand. You'll need to move to another country first (here's a list of 'Category 3' countries that probably make up your best options), and then follow the New Zealand pet import requirements from there.

If you think you need some help sorting all of this out and are interested in finding out about the services PetRelocation offers, please fill out our free quote form or give our office a call.

We've helped other pet owners navigate situations like this, and we'd be happy to help you find a solution. Thanks for reaching out, and we hope to hear from you again!
 

Pet News Round-Up: Moving, Exercising and Dating (with Pets)

Friday, August 22, 2014 by Caitlin Moore

Pet-friendly dating sites.

Are pets being passed off as service animals for the sake of convenience?

Media coverage of animals is more popular than ever.

After the move: pet relocation experiences.

How to take good care of your canine athlete (they have different needs than humans, you know).

Read about what it's like to be a pet shipping specialist.

 

moose

Happy Friday!
 

Pet Move of the Month: Tessa's Journey to Brunei

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 by PetRelocation.com Customer

tessaOur latest Pet Move of the Month qualifies as a true relocation adventure -- an exciting location, a long but ultimately smooth journey, a happy release from quarantine, and of course, an adorable and well-loved dog.

Meet Tessa, who we helped move from Houston to Brunei, and thanks to her owner Joe for kindly answering our questions!

What brought about your move?

My work transferred me to Brunei. 

Have you ever moved a pet internationally before this?

No.

What were some of your initial concerns?

My foremost concern was how Tessa would do in a crate on the long flight (food, water, exercise, comfort, maintaining a clean crate, etc.).  Another concern included how she would react to strangers handling her crate.  

What surprised you about the pet travel process? Anything notable about Brunei and the quarantine process there?

No real ‘surprises’ with the travel process itself, that was explained in great detail before Tessa traveled.  I just had a heightened sense of anticipation from the time she departed the States until I saw her again in Brunei.  The only hiccup came when she got delayed in Amsterdam due to local holidays on her onward travel route.  I was very happy I was provided daily updates on her from Amsterdam and every arrival and departure along the way.      

 

tessa

Tessa and her impressive digs

 

Brunei is very strict about pet importation. Travelers coming to Brunei with pets must obtain a permit prior to importation of the animal by requesting entry from the Department of Agriculture Veterinary Office.  Brunei law requires a 6 month quarantine for all animals entering the country.  That rule may fluctuate depending on status of the owner (diplomatic personnel, military personnel, etc.).

In any case, pet owners can apply for early release from the quarantine facility, but the pet is required to serve the remainder of quarantine time in ‘home confinement’.  A colleague of mine whose pet arrived in Brunei just before Tessa applied for early release and had his pet home in one week.  I applied as soon as Tessa arrived, limiting her time in the quarantine facility to just over a week.  

How has Tessa handled the transition so far?

Tessa has been great throughout this entire process.  She has remained friendly and very inquisitive about her new environment.  As soon as she got to her new house, she checked the whole place out then found a spot on the bed for a nap.  Our pets really are more resilient than we give them credit for.  

Is Brunei a pet-friendly place to be?

Being a predominantly Muslim country, dogs are usually not kept as pets in Brunei.  The locals do understand, though, and accept that Westerners will have dogs in and around their homes.  Strict local Muslims will not enter a home where a dog resides.  However, there are enough local places for her to run and play and there is a growing expat community of people who also have dogs, so Tessa will have playmates.   

 

omar ali saifuddien mosque with stone boat and lagoon at night

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque

 

As Brunei is mostly jungle, there are still many wild animals in close proximity to homes that can cause serious injury or death to pets. Most common are monkeys and monitor lizards. Monkeys may be scared of dogs, but the monitor lizards are known to be aggressive when hunting food.

I thought about that one night as she and I were on a walk on a road near the house. All of the sudden the trees seemed to come alive with screaming monkeys. They didn't like having Tess around. When she got close to the trees they climbed higher but followed us and stayed vocal the whole time we were in the area. Kinda cool actually, and Tess stayed calm and didn't see what the big deal was all about.

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

Be sure to do research on the country where you intend to take your pet, including social norms/customs, support network (i.e. veterinarian, boarding facilities, etc.) and the type of food available locally.  I have traveled extensively and seen many times where the host government may approve or allow the importation of animals but the reaction from the community may not always be welcoming.  This can strain relations with neighbors and acquaintances and limit the experiences you can share with your pet.      

 

tessa

Making herself at home

 

What made you decide to hire PetRelocation to assist you?

I contacted several transport services when I learned I was going to move, including transport services recommended by my employer.  These companies could not provide detailed answers regarding the shipping process or their support network to ensure Tessa arrived safely and on time.  PetRelocation was able to provide all these answers and followed up with calls and emails to ensure I was up-to-date and comfortable with the entire process. 

--

Great story and excellent advice! Want to know more? Read about other pets we've moved and please contact us if you'd like some assistance making your own relocation an incredible experience.

Pet Shipping: Questions About Eating and Drinking During Flight

Monday, June 30, 2014 by Pet Travel Center Questions

Name: Jennifer
From: Bangkok, Thailand
To: LAX, USA
Pet: Mixed breed, 9 years old, 40 pounds.

Dear PetRelocation,
 
You moved my dog when we left for Bangkok. We were very happy with the services with PetRelo. Now, he is moving back to the US. My question is, is he supposed to have food in his food tray while on his flight? (The mover told me to fill the food tray with food, and I disagree with that.) How many hours ahead of time should he be eating or not eating? They also said to fill up a water bottle with water... Is this right?
 
Thanks,
Jennifer
 
Hi Jennifer,
 
It's great to hear from you again! To answer your question, no, food should not be available to pets during flight and we recommend feeding them at least 2-3 hours before they travel to give their food time to settle and help prevent any stomach discomfort.
 
If you're stopping for an extended/overnight layover you can feed your dog during that time. It is important to provide water, however (cups should be attached to the inside of the crate as you can see in the picture below). Hydration is crucial -- read more about pet hydration during travel.
 
Hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any more questions, and if you think you'd like to enlist our help once again, we'd be happy to talk. Good luck with your move!
 

 
 

Import Requirements for Dogs Arriving in the United States

Monday, April 28, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Jose
Number of Pets: One
Pet Type: Dog (12 weeks and a few days old puppy)
Pet Breed: Rottweiler
From: Italy
To: Florida, USA

 

Hello,

I'm getting a puppy from a very reputable breeder in Italy, and I just wanted to know the specific rules for bringing the puppy into Florida. I'm pretty sure an International Health Certificate stating the puppy is in good health and able to fly is one of them, and I'm thinking a certificate of Rabies vaccination shot is probably another one.

I'm not sure how many days before shipping this is necessary. Also, I don't think there's a quarantine for dogs, but please correct me if I'm wrong and send me the accurate information.

Truly appreciate it,

Jose

 

Hi Jose,

Thanks for the questions. Take a look at an overview of the pet import requirements for the United States; you're correct that you need a health certificate and proof of a current rabies vaccine, and no, there is no quarantine.

It will likely take just a few days to put this together (note that the health certificate needs to be issued within 10 days of departure), as the requirements for the US aren't nearly as strict as those for many other countries.

A couple more important things: be sure to choose a pet friendly airline (we often use United, Lufthansa and KLM), and double check that you have the right type/size crate for the puppy.

Also, for safety's sake, we do recommend that dogs be at least 16 weeks old before they fly. You mentioned that you're buying your puppy from a reputable breeder, but just in case other potential puppy-buyers are reading this, we'll go ahead and include a link discussing the warning signs of puppy scams. It's great if you're getting your dog from someone you trust, but be aware that there are lots of dishonest people out there attempting to sell dogs that don't exist.

Hope this helps, Jose. Please contact us for a quote if you'd like to find out more about our door-to-door pet transportation services.

Good luck with everything!
 

Puppy Travel to Europe

Monday, March 17, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Pascal
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: American Bulldog
From: Los Angeles, CA
To: Amsterdam, Holland

 

Dear PetRelocation,

My friend has a puppy and he is 5 weeks old now. I would like to bring him to Holland, but what are the requirements and at what age can I ship him to Holland? Or if I fly with him are the rules different then?

Thanks,

Pascal

 

Hi Pascal,

Thank you for your question. We recommend that dogs fly only after they've reached the age of 16 weeks. At this point they're stronger and better able to handle the experience of travel and can also receive the necessary vaccinations for international import.

As far as the rules you'll need to follow, please take a look at the pet import requirements for Holland. It's not necessary for you to be on the same flight as your dog, but either way the import rules will be the same and we do recommend choosing a pet friendly airline (KLM and Lufthansa are often good choices for European pet travel).

Hope this helps! Please let us know if you have more questions, and if you'd like to find out more about our door-to-door services, please fill out our free quote form.

Thanks again, and good luck with everything.
 

Behind the Scenes at PetRelocation: Lessons Learned from Two Years of Pet Shipping

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 by Core Values

Two years ago, PetRelocation Specialist Joe wrote an account of what it was like to be a new hire here at the company. After three weeks on the job he had already learned more than he thought was possible, and now that many months have passed (how time flies!), we thought it would be fun if he once again shared his thoughts about what it's like to be a busy pet shipper.

Here's what Joe had to say about his continued journey here at PetRelocation.

In looking back over my last two years of moving pets around the globe, I am in awe. In awe of the places I have moved pets, the diversity of the clients I have worked with, and the crazy situations I have gotten into (and out of). This has been an unprecedented journey of learning, joy and self-discovery. I am no longer a newbie; I am a pet relocation veteran.

Since joining the PetRelocation team in February of 2012, I have had many job titles and responsibilities, as this industry and company are in a constant state of change. As a soldier on the front lines, I have had to adapt to each change and always do what is best for the pets, the client, my team and the company.

Now that the Corporate Relocation team is growing and becoming a trend-setter for service and a pillar of revenue for the company, I am a Corporate Account Manager. It has not been easy by any means, but I strive to help where help is needed and support the company’s journey to being the industry-leader in worldwide pet moving services.

The great Johnny Cash wrote a song called “I’ve been everywhere,” illustrating how his life’s journey has taken him around the world. If only he had seen what we do, the song may have been “they ship pets everywhere.” I have worked to move pets to places that I never even knew existed before working at PetRelocation. From Papua New Guinea to Macao, from Mauritius to Djibouti and from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk to Pune, I have seen it all. I have even received inquiries to locations that not even Google Maps can find, like Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory.

Working with local agents and clients to move pets to these countries has given me great a perspective for the diversity and awesomeness of the world. I know it’s hard to believe that the state of Texas is not the standard for life on planet Earth (ha ha), but being exposed to the amazing people and cultures of the world has changed my life for the better forever.

The biggest takeaway from my last two years at PetRelocation is the same as when I graduated from college. Even after learning, growing, laughing, crying, dreaming and waking up from those dreams, I have not even scratched the surface of expertise. For all of my in-depth knowledge, experience, skills and abilities, I still have so much more to learn and so far to go. The only thing I truly know is that I know nothing. This is the journey of life and I will push forward as if there is no tomorrow.

My name is Joe Fraser, and even after two years, I am a pet relocation newbie.
 

How to Travel Safely with a Pug

Monday, February 17, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Clea
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Pug
From: Florida
To: Minnesota

Dear PetRelocation,

My elderly parents are moving back to Minnesota from Florida. They are too old to drive so have booked a one way airline ticket. Here's my question: the airlines have policies about shipping Pugs due to breathing issues. My mother has an elderly pug she is trying to get back to Minnesota. We are considering various options and your organization has come to mind.

Does PetRelocation offer non-airline means of travel? Have you encountered this issue before?

Thanks,
Clea

 

Hi Clea,

Yes, we've assisted with various snub-nosed breed moves and would be happy to talk to you and your mother about your options.

We do work with ground transport agents in the US who transport pets in safe, pet-friendly vehicles. We're also accustomed to arranging flights for pugs and keeping the conditions as safe as possible by choosing a pet-friendly airline, selecting a travel crate that allows plenty of good airflow, and working with clients to make sure their pets are as well-prepared as they can be for their flight.

We'd be happy to discuss the move further, so please contact us if you'd like to find out more about our door-to-door services. You can give our office a call or fill out our free quote form.

In the meantime, feel free to look over a few things on our blog that may shed light on the travel process: Frequently asked pet travel questions and how to minimize the risks of pet air travel.

Thanks for your question, and we look forward to hearing from  you!

Cat Travel to Saudi Arabia: Is It Possible?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 by Pet Travel Questions

Name: Mick
Number of Pets: Two
Pet Type: Cats
From: Houston, TX
To: Jubail, Saudi Arabia

 

Dear PetRelocation,

Is it possible to bring our cats to Saudi Arabia with us? The trip will more than likely be around 25 hours from beginning to end. Is it even safe for them?

To be honest I am on the fence. My option to ship them vs. give them away are equally difficult for my wife and I.

Your advice would be most appreciated.

Thank you,

Mick

 

Hi Mick,

Thanks for your inquiry -- we understand how stressful it can be to face an international pet move and hope to shed some light on your options.

First, it is possible to safely move pets to Saudi Arabia from the United States. We have done it many times and would be happy to talk to you about how it all works.

For your information, here's an overview of the pet import requirements for Saudi Arabia as well as a few pet move stories from previous Saudi globetrotters (here's more about a three-dog move to Jeddah and Bronte the cat's move to Thuwal). As you can see, it takes some time and preparation but it can be done smoothly when handled correctly.

If you'd like to find out more about our services and the associated costs, please fill out our free online quote form. You're also welcome to read over a few pet travel resources, including these frequently asked pet travel questions and common misconceptions about pet travel.

Again, we know it's overwhelming to consider such a long trip for your cats, but as you continue to learn more about pet travel hopefully you'll be able to decide what is right for you and your family. Talking to pet travel experts, discussing the issue with a trusted veterinarian and giving the decision some time can all help.

Please let us know how we can be of assistance as you go forward, and good luck with everything!