* How was your experience finding pet care in your new country? Did you have a hard time finding a vet?
It was easy, thanks to Pet Relocation contacts. Valeria, who met us at the airport, introduced us to her husband Urii who is an experienced veterinarian. He immediately suggested food supplements for our dogs and was ready to take care of our elderly Golden Vanya.
Besides that, Moscow has a number of modern and well equipped veterinarian clinics. Veterinarians make house calls.
Finding a good vet in Moscow is not a problem. It may be more different in the other parts of Russia. Generally, people like and take care of their pets here. There are plenty of well educated veterinarians. But further away from the capital city vet supplies and equipment may be limited.
* How do you get pet food, medicine, etc.? Any other suggestions, good finds or other pet friendly places you have found?
Food was not a problem. We brought some of our dogs usual dry chow from the States. Gradually we started adding chow which we bought at local pet supply store. For Roy it is Eukanuba and for Vanya Җ Hills diet with lamb and rice for seniors. We could not find exactly the same brands of the dog food as we had in the States, but their new chow is close enough, from well knows brands, good quality. Dietary supplements are also sold in the local pet stores, for example, Omega-3 supplements.
Medicine is part of VanyaҒs routine for years now. He takes thyroid, epilepsy and allergy medications. We brought a huge supply of everything from the US. However, when the medications run out we may have to make adjustments to the Russian supplies according to our veterinarians suggestions. Urii is confident that weҒll be able to keep Vanya healthy.
The only problem I have is with the treats. My dogs will do anything for a cookie! But for some reason dog treats are rare here. We even had to bake some ourselves. The treats still can be found, but not in all pet stores.
* How was your pet(s) reaction to the new environment? Do they seem to enjoy their new surroundings?
All of us required some time to adjust. Our dogs demonstrated that they adjust better then we do. They have a large fenced yard here. Lucky dogs because most of Moscow dogs live in apartments. We take the dogs for walks. Unfortunately, we did not find a safe a clean place nearby for them to roam leash-free. We have to drive them to parks. Fast driving cars and lots of garbage remain a problem. Roy and I had a walk one day. He was on the leash, but still managed to grab something from the ground and eat it. It was a coin of 50 kopeks. Nothing dangerous, he through it up later at home. We wished he would bring home hard currency.
* What's your favorite local hotspot that you've discovered? A good restaurant, a beautiful overlook, a great dog park? We'd like to hear about it.
We are home sick specially Bruno. Naturally, our favorite spots become those where the ex-pats are hanging out. One of them is restaurant Scandinavia on Tverskaya street. They have a wonderful summer deck in the courtyard with large trees which muff the street noise. During the winter the dining is good inside. They have a nice restaurant and also a bar with lovely bar food. The chef is from Sweden, and his fish dishes are delicious. English is more common at Scandinavia then Russian.
Then there is Aurora Marriott. It is a nice hotel, Marriott like anywhere in the world. It is a good transit spot into the harsh Russian reality. Lots of ex-pats live there while looking for a permanent housing. We like Aurora֒s lounge bar. Good and safe place to meet people. Aurora is pet friendly. We know Americans who lived there for a month with their two American cats. We also met a couple from Houston with their Golden Retriever there.
* Have you found any good options locally for boarding your pets?
Yes, and we are lucky. We have a house-keeper, who agrees to stay at our house with Vanya and Roy while we are away. As far as I know there are no boarding places in Moscow. There is a plan to open one soon, however.
* If you had to relocate your pet(s) all over again, what would you do
No. We will have to relocate again sometimes from Russia back to the States. We hope that Pet Relocation will be able to assist us.
* What was the best/worst part of your pet relocation?
The worst was collecting paperwork for the dogs. At some point we lost their passports. Then we had to go to the vet almost every other day for vaccinations and to get more and more time sensitive certificates. Of course, Russian customs could not care less for the dogs documents, but who could have known that.
Another tough spot was at JFK when we were checking our dogs through security and loading them into the luggage area. I was afraid they were not going to survive the long flight to Moscow. But it was pure emotion, and at the end the dogs took the trip better than I did.
The best part was our ғFabulous Hamptons Weekend. We stayed at a very dog friendly and luxurious bed and breakfast. Pet Relocation found us that absolutely fantastic spot close to the ocean. Hampton was never on our ԓto visit list, and if not for the dogs we would have never known what a wonderful part of the country it is. It was a good way to say good bye to the States too.
* How long do you plan to stay in your new country? Do you plan to return to your departure city, or do you have plans to move on to another location?
We do not know how long we are going to stay in Moscow. We plan for three years, but from previous experience we know that the company may move us at any time. Dogs will go with us no matter what our next posting may be. We just hope that our 12 years old Golden Vanya will make it back to the US.