The role of relocation coordinator at PetRelocation is not always a walk in the park. It takes dedication and flexibility to be successful in this job. Luckily for us, Natalie Garinger embodies all the traits needed to go that extra mile. If you've moved to the United Kingdom with us in the last few years, it's likely you've had the pleasure of having this talented coordinator assisting you. So, let's get to know where a little better in the employee spotlight series! Meet Natalie!
Why did you decide to apply to work at PetRelocation? What were you doing before you joined our team?
I was planning a big move to Austin from Knoxville, TN to be closer to my family. I was scrolling through Indeed and stumbled across a job posting for PetRelocation. I remember how excited I was when I read the job description. Logistics? Pets? Geography? Sales? All things I knew I excelled at! After reviewing the company website, reading a bunch of stories and blogs, and perusing the employee profiles I realized this was the type of company culture I had been hoping to find.
What was your biggest surprise when you joined the world of pet shipping?
There is nothing that can prepare you for joining this industry! I had no idea how many rules there were and how much they can vary between different countries. Until I started at PetRelocation, I’m pretty sure the only experiences I had with any kind of pet moves were from watching Homeward Bound 2 (a million times) and moving my pet bunny from Minneapolis to Memphis when I was 10.
Obviously, we're all about pets. You have two dogs, Milo and Loki. How did they come to join your family and what are their personalities like?
I rescued my oldest dog, Milo, when I was in college. He was found on the Appalachian Trail when he was about 2-weeks old (along with his seven siblings!). The rescuers tried to find his mom but were unsuccessful so the whole litter had to be bottle raised. I was looking for a shepherd mix and saw Milo on Petfinder.com. He’s such a sweet, anxious old dog. He’s slowing down, as old dogs do, but he still chases bunnies and pushes our younger dog out of the way to be the first in line for a treat.
Loki is our goofy, sweet, cuddly, crazy dog. He’s full of energy, loves an adventure, and has never met a stranger. He started out as the neighbor’s dog, but was getting into a lot of trouble and our neighbor needed help finding him a new home—when his new home fell through last minute, we realized we couldn’t let him go!
Natalie's amazing dogs, Milo and Loki
Do you have a favorite move story that you'd like to share?
Last year I helped a very sweet client move twelve cats and two dogs to Austria. It was quite the endeavor! The trick with moving so many animals into the EU is that they consider it a “commercial” shipment, which means you have 48-hours for all of the pets to see the vet for international health certificates (only 6 animals per certificate) and then get those documents endorsed, and then get fourteen animals checked in at the airport! It’s a lot of information and logistics to keep straight, but we managed to secure a direct flight for all fourteen animals to fly together, the vet issued three health certificates which were endorsed in-person by our amazing colleagues in Chicago, and check-in went beautifully. Their mom, Nicole, sent so many cute pictures of her adorable fur-kids. I will never ever grow tired of getting pictures of my furry clients.
What advice would you give to someone who just found out they will need to move internationally with their pets?
PLAN AHEAD! I cannot stress this enough. You may think your pet is up to date on rabies vaccines, but the UK is particularly strict about what constitutes a “valid” rabies vaccine, so it’s important to start planning at least 6-8 weeks out in case you need to start from scratch. Another thing to consider is the time of year for your move. If it’s remotely possible, plan to travel when temperatures are mild to avoid weather embargoes that are more common in July/August and December/January respectively.
You are part of the UK team. What changes do you see coming to moving pets to that region of the world in the next 5 years?
As we inch closer to the end of the year, we’re definitely starting to focus more on how Brexit could potentially impact pets traveling after December 31, 2020. As of September, it’s still unknown whether the UK will be treated as a listed or unlisted country when they officially part ways with the European Union. If the UK becomes unlisted, that means that pets traveling from the UK into the EU will require a rabies titer test in addition to their rabies vaccine. A rabies titer test measures the level of rabies antibodies. After the titer test, there’s a 90-day waiting period before the pet can leave the country. It will be a big change from the current status of using a pet passport to go from the UK to the EU!
We’re all about travel here. What’s your favorite trip you’ve taken?
I fell in love with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and it is my favorite event every year. It’s the largest hot air balloon festival in the world and it’s such a surreal feeling to see hundreds of hot air balloons take to the skies in the span of an hour! My husband and I work on balloon chase crews for two of the pilots from Belgium, so of course, I’d love to go visit them in Belgium, too! There are so many places I’m dying to go, but we’ve been planning on going to New Zealand for our honeymoon—except the pandemic has thrown a bit of a wrench in that plan for now.
We love Austin and the culture here at PetRelo headquarters. Where would you say is your favorite local place to take in some nature, go for a hike?
I love taking Loki down to Fentress and Martindale to go swimming in the San Marcos River during the summer. Another great spot Pedernales State Park near Blanco, the hikes are worth the drive!
Looking forward to Natalie arranging your upcoming move? Get started today!