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, Rebecca Galvan embodies all the traits needed to go that extra mile. If you've moved to the United Kingdom or somewhere in the EU with us in the last year, 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 Rebecca!
What drew you to apply to work at PetRelocation?
When I first saw the job posting online I was immediately interested as I had never really heard of the pet shipping industry. I had knowledge and experience with creating health certificates when I had worked as a veterinary technician during my schooling years, but I did not realize there was a whole industry dedicated to shipping pets! I applied because pet shipping was a side of the animal industry I had not yet experienced and I wanted to see what it was all about. During the interview process I fell in love with the people at PetRelocation, the culture they had created, and that every person I now work with is a go-getter. We are a group of bright, creative, and hard-working people with a passion for ensuring pets are reunited with their families all over the world.
Tell us about your own pets! What are their personalities and how did they join your family?
I have three pets – 2 cats and 1 horse! My family and I are also in the process of adopting a dog after the passing of our beloved Australian Shepherd, Gracie.
The kitties are Sunnie (a calico domestic shorthair) and Diamond (a tuxedo domestic shorthair). Sunnie is about 8 years old. My husband and I adopted her 4 years ago through a rescue on Facebook that rehomes stray cats in our town. Sunnie does not like anyone except for me and is quite the sassy queen. She does not like to travel, so I put myself in my client’s shoes if I am helping move an anxious or fearful pet because I know their worry for pets that do not take to change well. Diamond is about 3 years old and should have been a dog. We are in the process of getting her a cat harness and teaching her to walk on a leash. Diamond was found stuck in an apartment complex staircase by my husband’s family, and when they could not keep her, we took her, to Sunnie’s dismay. Diamond is playful, demanding, and never stops eating.
Sunnie and Diamond, Rebecca's kitties.
My horse is named Jazzy! She is going on 18 years old. I have owned her since she was 7. She was a high school graduation gift, given for the intention that I could train her and sell her for money for college. Since I am telling you about her, that means I just could not get rid of her because she is worth her weight in gold. She was rescued from a ranch that saw her as unfit and had no plans for her but to leave her in their fields to have babies. Jazzy came to me partially trained, untrusting, but with a soft look in her eyes that told me she just needed some love. Jazzy is my best friend and through the years we have built a deep trust in each other. We would do anything for each other, but we do test each other like sisters! When she was younger, Jazzy was my jumping competition horse, but now she teaches the neighborhood kids the basics since she is kind, slow, and soft when it comes to children. One time, I even brought Jazzy into downtown Austin for a “horsey show and tell” at our old PetRelocation headquarters at the intersection of 7th and I-35! Jazzy loves selfies and people, and I am convinced she would rather live in the house with the people than outside with the horses.
What piece of advice would you give to someone who is just starting to plan their pet’s move?
Start early, especially if you are moving internationally! Even if you are unsure if your move plans will solidify, start asking questions. Inquire with your vet about veterinary requirements for the region you might move or even give us a call! We can help point you in the right direction so your pet can be ready for travel when you need them to be.
Do you have a favorite story about your time at PetRelocation that you love to tell?
One of my favorite stories is a BIG pet move I helped with during the summer of 2019. Most summers, we see airlines limiting flights for pets due to the heat. During this move of 2 large dogs (Irish Wolfhound and a Giant Schnauzer) and 4 cats (domestic shorthairs), the 4 cats were scheduled to fly on a Tuesday, and the dogs were to follow the next day. However, just as the cats were getting checked into the airport, we were notified of a heat embargo for the rest of the summer, meaning that the dogs would not be able to fly the next day and the fur-family would be separated until summer ended.
My team and I worked quickly with the airline and our agents to rush deliver one of the dog’s custom wooden crate across the state of New York, found out just how big Boeing 747-800s are when I found out there was room on the cats’ flight for the custom crate AND #700 size kennels for the dogs, moving the dogs’ flight forward a day, had the agent check the cats in and rush to collect the dogs and get them on the flight, too! In a matter of hours, my team and I worked closely with our partners and the airlines to ensure this fur-family stayed together! I still think about this client from time to time, as it reminds me that I am so glad PetRelocation was there to make sure her family stayed together.
You have been one of our coordinators for the EU and UK team for the last year. Do you have any predictions on how travel to those countries may change over the next year or two?
We now know that the UK has left the EU. We have already been working with our European partners to ensure there are limited delays in pet movement to try to get ahead of this change in the relationship between the UK and EU. If you are planning on moving to or from the EU or UK in the next year or so, I recommend give PetRelocation a call and starting the process to make sure your pets are ready to move when you are.
COVID-19 has changed the way we travel. What has been the biggest effect of the pandemic on pet travel?
When the pandemic first started, it surely felt like everything would change. Each move suddenly became 10 times more difficult to secure as flights were canceled left and right. Emergency and long-term boarding became “normal” as we worked with agents and airlines to help keep moving pets where they needed to go.
Ironically, as hindsight is 20-20 (what a pun that is now!), things have not really changed as much as it initially felt it would. As planes began to fly and started accepting pets again, we were able to resume moving pets. What has changed, though, is the need for flexibility and heightened creativity in pet move plans. Before Covid-19, we could nearly guarantee a flight date and travel plan months in advance. Now, however, flight times and dates get changed daily by the airlines (as passengers experience, too), government agencies around the world are bogged down with Covid-19 related issues, shipping companies are now being called upon to help distribute a vaccine, which could affect shipping of paperwork and pets. PetRelocation is here every step of the way to make sure your pets are safe and make it home to you, wherever you are headed. These days, we end up at Plan C, D, or E, but we have those plans ready and in place to work quickly on your behalf.
We love traveling here at PetRelocation. What is your favorite vacation you’ve been on?
One of my favorite places I have visited has been New York on Christmas Day, as the “city that never sleeps” does sleep for a bit on this holiday, and I love the empty streets of the city, with the lights twinkling in the stores and on the trees, and the blowing of the cool winter wind through the buildings, with a latte in hand. I also LOVED going on my honeymoon last year because we rode horses in the Caribbean! I cannot wait to go on another Caribbean cruise so I can ride horses in those perfect waters again! But, once travel opens again, I have a trip to Germany on my list to go ride horses with one of our service partners that trains Olympic showjumping horses!
Looking forward to Rebecca arranging your upcoming move? Get started today!