In our latest PetRelocation Employee spotlight, we introduce you to Sandhya, one of our pet-adoring, detail oriented International Relocation Coordinators.
Having been part of the dedicated EU team and UK team (which is her current focus), Sandhya has overseen dozens of pet moves to Europe and has worked to help pets like Jack and Lilly and Ruby move safely with their families.
Why did you apply to work at PetRelocation?
My background sets me up pretty well for a job like this, as I have a mix of project management (in both my skill set and personality) and a passion for animals.
Putting the pieces of the move together and coordinating all of the logistics is something I enjoy, and I can really empathize with the owners because my cats and dogs are my kids.
What makes your job unique?
We don't have a "cookie cutter" approach here because no two moves are the same. There can be a lot of similarities when you work within a specific region like the EU, but every move has been different and has presented its own challenges. This means I’m not just a machine focused on efficiency -- I’m spending individual time on each move and it’s all personalized.
Sandhya's German Shepherds, Sabre and Katara
What has been your favorite story to tell about working at PetRelocation?
I've had the chance to get to know some really dedicated pet owners with great stories behind their moves. One of the most memorable was Basia, a cat who sadly got lost before she was set to move back in 2013. Amazingly, this year her owner found her on a visit home to California, called us up again to help, and they were finally reunited in Italy just a few weeks ago.
Another one was Dog, a dog who had been separated from his owners for over three years due to health reasons and England breed restrictions. I was able to arrange Dog's trip over to Ireland when they were ready and able to bring him to their new home. The pet owner surprised her son with Dog's arrival and they've sent me lots of pictures since he arrived -- I love seeing him on all his new adventures exploring the Irish countryside.
Reunions are my favorite thing about my role, especially when they are long overdue – I’ll never forget these two.
Sandhya's cats Osiris and Bagheera
What’s a key piece of advice you would give to someone who is just starting to plan their pet’s move?
Be flexible. Understand that you might want to move right away, but that’s not always possible and when you try to rush a move it can cause things to go wrong. But, there’s also no guarantee in any move, and if you aren’t flexible because a flight change or a snag at customs, it will be a much more unpleasant experience. When working with us, remember that your pets will always be taken care of. The reason you hire us is because if something does go wrong, we are adept and capable at taking care of it asap.
What do you think will change about pet travel in the next five years?
I am hoping for more standardization and more efficiency with the regulations. Sometimes one customs agent or check-in agent will have a completely different interpretation or strictness with rules, and that makes it very difficult to predict how a move is going to go. We prevent as much of this as possible by going above and beyond and providing extra documentation, doing multiple reviews and checks, etc., but it would be great to have a standard that everyone understands and adheres to.
I also think pet travel is going to continue to grow in popularity. People love their furbabies and they are truly members of the family. This wasn’t always the case, and I can only see it becoming more and more important – leaving pets behind won’t be an option.
What famous pet or animal would you love to meet?
I spent time on a reservation in South Africa raising endangered white lion cubs and am fascinated with big cats. I’d love to visit the Black Jaguar-White Tiger Foundation and spend time there with all of them! Also the wolf sanctuary in Colorado.
What are some of your favorite things to do in Austin?
I love seeing movies at the Alamo Drafthouse (mostly for the queso fries), hiking at St. Edwards with my shepherds, and shopping at all the thrift stores in town.
Hollywood wants to make a movie about your life -- who do they cast to play you?
Can I play myself? (Editor's note: Yes!)