Pet's Name: Bronte
From: Colorado Springs, CO
To: Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
When you move to Saudi Arabia from Colorado, everyone assumes you'll be putting your furry friends on Craigslist, but I knew when I took a new job overseas that I would be bringing Emily Bronte, my Siamese/Himalayan rescue cat, to the desert with me. What I didn't know was how.
I read tons of accounts on the internet about how people manage (successfully and not so successfully) to bring cats on planes with them for transatlantic flights. At the beginning, this was my plan, but I soon realized that getting my cat on the plane and keeping her from meowing for hours was the least of my worries. There were health certificates, import permits, international offices with phones that aren't monitored, and conflicting information coming from all directions about how, exactly, one gets an American cat into Saudi Arabia.
Needless to say, I also had a few other things to do--such as tying up the loose ends of my entire life, packing, and saying goodbye to friends, family, coworkers, and over 20 years of memories. I had neither the time nor the experience necessary to handle Bronte's move on my own.
Initially, I hired a local pet relocation company that quoted me a remarkably low fee and quickly proved that, at least in this case, I stood to get exactly what I paid for. These people had no idea what they were doing, and I was NOT going to leave them in charge of my 8-pound kitty in the hopes that they could get her successfully to her new home. After just one week of "planning" the trip with this company, I fired them.
That's when I found PetRelocation.com. Jon Bartosh was my first point of contact, but Abbey Seidensticker was my (and Bronte's) main guardian angel throughout the process. Even though Abbey is based in Texas, the company's network of pet relocation agents is so extensive that I knew I was leaving Bronte in good hands. This was not their first import to Saudi Arabia, and the experience and confidence that Jon and Abbey offered absolutely made the choice for me.
I left the country about a month before Bronte, and from there Abbey took care of absolutely all of the details. She coordinated with my vet, where Bronte was boarding, made arrangements with the CO USDA, made sure the Saudi Import permit was issued properly through the Department of Agriculture in KSA, and did a lot of general hand-holding for me--because I was really anxious about the whole process. When it was time to travel, Abbey arranged transportation to the airport, and food, water, and monitoring during the trip. She also did an amazing job of making sure I knew how to track Bronte's travel and verify her safe arrival at each destination. I even received a photo of Bronte just before she left the Denver airport.
Just this Thursday, Bronte arrived in Saudi Arabia. She had a direct flight from Denver to Frankfurt where she spend the night in the Lufthansa pet facility at the airport and was able to stretch, eat, use the litter box--all the things cats need to do. It was so nice to know that she was getting a break between two rather long flights. The second travel day brought her straight into Jeddah where I met her at the airport. We're now happily reunited in our new home!
I should note that PetRelocation.com does offer a door-to-door service, so I could have foregone the trip to the airport altogether, but I opted to do this bit myself, with the help of another agent who we worked with here in Saudi Arabia.
I couldn't possibly be more satisfied with PetRelocation.com. At a very stressful time in my life, they helped to manage what could have been the most stressful part of all. I will certainly use their services again when Bronte and I return to the US someday.