Pet owners getting ready for a relocation can find plenty of resources telling them how to prepare: go to the vet for vaccine updates, buy the correct travel crate, schedule the flight, etc... But there's more to it than this. Moves can be emotionally and mentally taxing, and many people find themselves feeling overwhelmed -- if only just momentarily -- at some point.
We advise starting the pet move process well in advance to avoid these moments as much as possible, but it's also wise to pause before things really get going and accept the possibility that not everything will go as planned. There might be a flight delay. You may not be accepted on the airline route of your choice. Country requirements may change at the last minute.
Scenarios like this make it easy to see why many people end up hiring help with a pet move (It's no fun to stop and deal with an unexpected problem during an already stressful time), but relo company clients and DIY-ers alike should prepare themselves for anything and also realize that hiccups are pretty normal.
Here's some advice for how to deal with the most common pet travel predicaments, and read on to find some first-hand advice from recent customers who found themselves learning to be flexible on the fly.
Recently we helped a client move her boxer, Loma, to Azerbaijan. Here's what she had to say about starting the process:
"When we decided to move, we didn’t have a clue that it would be such a big problem. We thought we would check him in with our luggage on the same plane as we would travel. When I started researching (I am a very thorough researcher, no surprise considering I'm a Sociologist), I realized that the reality was pretty complicated and problematic."
A combination of factors -- having a large dog, having a snub-nosed breed, and traveling to a more obscure destination -- meant that this family had bigger and more expensive obstacles ahead. It was tough going for awhile, but the Pet Relocation Specialists assigned to Loma's move were able to handle everything and get him safely to his new home.
Another recent customer, our June Pet Move of the Month, in fact, offers this advice:
"Relax. Take things one day at a time. It's very likely that someone else has shared the same experience that you are facing. ASK QUESTIONS. Being independent and attempting to figure it all out might be "your style," but allow people to help you. Research and verify what you're told, but learn from the experiences that others have already had. Patience and a sense of humor are two key items!"
This last story is especially dramatic but thankfully has a happy ending. (Actually this kind of thing happens a lot -- cats have a way of hiding at the least convenient moments!)
"When moving from Colorado to Florida in an RV, our pet, "Fluffomatic" escaped. We needed to leave to allow a return flight for a friend who was helping, and Fluffy was left behind. We were heartbroken the whole ride!"
From here the pet owners' friends were able to locate the mischievous cat, they called PetRelocation.com to arrange his flight, and now "Fluffomatic is at home with his family -- crisis resolved" (yay!).
There you have it -- like many other things in life, during a pet move there's a lot to be said for finding a good balance between precise planning and flexibility. Do your research, follow expert advice, and keep your checklist handy, but if things suddenly change, remember to take a deep breath and do your best to figure out the situation. As you can see, the same thing has probably happened to someone else, and every pet move problem has a solution.
Call PetRelocation.com if you have any questions, and here's wishing everyone the smoothest of travels!