One of our customers has just recently responded to an email I had sent asking them how life is, with their pets, while living in Malaysia! The letter below, with some answers to questions, explains it all! A Happy Expat and their Happy Pet!
So much for a few days, responding to your emails a little latter than I had planned but this is Malaysia, where we have found that when any government bureaucracy says something is a œ30 day process they mean four months. With that as a standard this email must be two months early!
As with us, we just celebrated with five days at the beach house in Port Dickson—a seaside community 1Խ hours south of Kuala Lumpur on the west coast, from whence we can see Sumatra.
Our dog Tulip had a blast as it was the first time that she had children to play with, and cousin Megs three in particular were her constant companions. Tulip was quite fond of them as well, mainly because they snuck her treats whenever they had the chance. We were all impressed as to how gentle and sweet Tulip was with the children, no matter what they did to her. At one point Soo Kin walked into the kitchen just in time, as the three of them each had a banana and were planning to feed all of them to Tulip. Vacations and dogs, seems as though they are never quite complete without children. Although many is the time that I have walked into the living room and found Tulip on DaddyҒs lap licking his face all over, and Daddy (now 81) squealing like a little boy. Life doesnt get better than that. On to your questions:
How was your experience finding pet care in your new country? Did you have a hard time finding a vet?
The day Tulip arrived here at #47, after seven days in the gulag, Aunt Mui picked us up and brought us to the ғbest vet in Petaling Jaya for a checkup, so we were lucky in that regard. But pet care here is readily available, and within a mile or two from our home there are at least three vets/clinics.
How do you get pet food, medicine, etc.? Any other suggestions, good finds or other pet friendly places you have found?
Within a mile there are also four pet shops, stretch that out to three miles and add four more, plus a pet hotel and salon. Due to chronic urinary infection, Tulip gets a regular daily dosage of amoxicillin, and I just went to the local pharmacy for that. Although in the States we got it in a chewable pill form, here it is in a powder which I mix a weekԒs worth at a time, administer to her from a syringe and she licks it right down.
The pharmacy that I go to does not require a prescription for that med, or in fact for any of my own meds (except for sleeping aids), although other pharmacies do require one. Doctor friends think that the meds in question require a prescription, but Im not complaining. Price wise TulipҒs med runs $4/month it was $30 in the States. All of my meds are a lot cheaper as well, at the very least (without insurance) half of what my co-pay was in the States, and then I was paying a $650/month insurance premium. Here I have health insurance for major medical costs and hospitalization ($650/year!!!), but the day-to-day stuff I just pay out of pocket, which at these prices it is not a problem. Doctor visits (including vets) run between $10 & $15, depending on the issue and treatment. (FYI all prices quoted are in US dollars.)
There are many big œmega malls here, three within five to fifteen minutes of home and a fourth under construction. Mid Valley Mall, allegedly the biggest in South East Asia, is about 20-25 minutes away (although on my first visit it took me about two hours to find my way home). All of the malls have big pet shops, and it is easy to see that Malaysia is becoming as pet ԓobsessed as the States. Although they get almost catatonic when we tell them that it cost almost ten thousand ringget for Tulip’s trip from San Francisco.
How was your pet(s) reaction to the new environment? Do they seem to enjoy their new surroundings?
As 8-week-old Tulip did when she first arrived at our home in San Francisco, here she waltzed into our house and made it her home with no problems or issues at all, and to show what a good girl she is, she very quickly went out to front garden and took care of business. While in the gulag we had visited her everyday (despite the two hour round trip), and she was extremely excited (agitated perhaps) and panting all of the time. At home though she began to calm down, and after a week or so was pretty much acclimatized. It is interesting that in San Francisco she always slept curled up, yet here she is always sprawled out. What a difference thirty degrees can make.
What’s your favorite local hotspot that you’ve discovered? A good restaurant, a beautiful overlook, a great dog park?
We are pretty much past the ԓhotspot phase of our lives, but two areas in Kuala Lumpur known for the night life are Bintang Walk and Bangsar. We eat out often enough but usually go to these little hole-in-the-wall (when there is a wall) places that are well known for certain dishes. Here in Petaling Jaya, our favorite upscale Chinese restaurant is ԑThe Magic Wok in the Damansara Jaya section, also the ґCountry Kitchen in Old Town is very good but not as classy. Although we mostly eat Chinese, Indian, and Malay, and more often than not at what they call the ғhawker stalls (youԑve got to know the right one), good steak and seafood is available at the upscale Victoria Stationђ and The Shipђ restaurants of which there are a few around town. Also in Petaling Jaya, section 17s ґHappy Manor block has a good western food restaurant called ґ6-9 (or something close to that, I always call it 9-5), as well as ґThe Food Foundry offering a varied menu sort of nouveau cuisine, plus different theme specials each month.
What are some things you miss the most about where you came from/the US? Do you miss a certain type of food or activity that you could only do here?
My partner is a second generation Malaysian born Chinese Hakka, who did most of his growing up and schooling at his diplomat fatherҒs posts in Tokyo, London, Delhi, Beijing, and Manhattan (at the UN), and then attended the University of Michigan. He became a US citizen in 1990, and despite having been born in Malaysia he never really wanted to live here again, but he wanted to be with his aging parents and that was the priority. He says that he misses the States terriblyӔ but I think that is more missing his work, and now that we are more settled and he joined a health club, he seems to be quite content.
For my part, I dont miss the States at all, except for a few close friends (and CostcoҒs Kirkland brand paper towels). Im the poster child for contented expats! I had been wanting to get out of San Francisco for quite sometime (it is an expensive place to live), and to get my money out of the house before the ғbig one! Were it not for the family here, I would probably be in Mexico by now.
We do miss Netflix a little, as it was great for obscure and niche movies, but Uncle EdwinӒs extensive DVD collection keeps us entertained, as well as the numerous pirateӔ shops where we can get DVDs for about US$2.50, and they carry most of the television series that we watched in the States for about, for about US$17 per season.
Have you found any good options locally for boarding your pets?
Yes, as previously mentioned there are a couple of places within five to 15 minutes of home.
If you had to relocate your pet(s) all over again, what would you do differently?
First, I would contact petrelocation.com immediately, rather than agonizing for three months about how to transport Tulip and with whom. Second, I guess thats it ҅ pet relocation.com to get the job done right.
What was the best/worst part of your pet relocation?
The worst part was doing it at all. I had always sworn that I would never transport a dog by air, and when I moved from Rhode Island to San Francisco in 82 I drove across country with my dog. But when I did that swearing, I had never imagined that I would ever be moving to some place that I couldnђt drive to, least of all the other side of the world. (I had seriously considered traveling here with Tulip by ship, which would have been 21 days, but they didnt allow dogs.)
The best part of course was seeing Tulip after she arrived, and then having her here at home with us. But second to that was finally connecting with someone (you ) that gave me a feeling of confidence, and meeting your delightful staff on the morning of TulipҒs departure. Sending her off was the hardest part of all, but your staff made me feel very confident and comfortable (or at least as confident and comfortable as I was capable of being). Thanks again.
Do you plan to return to your country of origin, or do you have plans to move on to another location?
After selling the house in San Francisco we bought a house in Albuquerque (the prices there are 30% of those in
San Francisco), figuring it best to keep a foot in the door of the real estate market stateside should we ever want
to return. That is now rented and handled by a property management company. So that is one option.
Parents have a different plan. They want us to keep the (now rented) condo in Puchong as our home baseӔ in Malaysia, a flat being easier to lock the door and leave than a house. Then sell the big house where we now live, as well as the beach house in Port Dickson, the proceeds from which should buy us a nice condo in Australia with a tidy nest egg left over. My partner’s brother, nephews, and grandniece are in Sydney. Theres that family connection, so thatҒs the second option. As for me, Ill go just about anywhere.
Any other suggestions or helpful tips for pet owners living in your new country?
There is a lot more that I want to share with you here, as well as some information and photograph links, but IҒll get this off to you now, and will get more on the way in that infamous few days!Ӕ