Dog Travel Story: A German Shepherd to Germany
Thinking about traveling with a pet? Hopefully the resources you find here on the PetRelocation site are helpful, but we know nothing beats receiving tips, advice and anecdotes from a fellow pet lover who has been through the process already.
That's why we'd like to point you to the blog called Rob, Meg, and Hazel Abroad. We recently helped Hazel the German Shepherd move to Germany and were excited to see that her pet parents took the time to write about the entire process.
We highly suggest reading Hazel's move story in its entirety (especially to those of you planning an international pet move soon), but for now, here are a few highlights that really rang true to us:
"I know I wished that I would have found more information from a pet owner, rather than a pet moving company, when we started our search."
It's completely normal to feel overwhelmed and scared at the beginning of a pet move, and nothing compares to having direct access to the knowledge and experience of a seasoned pet traveler. Now thanks to Meg and her blog, a few future pet owners will have this when they begin!
"In America, there is so much media coverage on mistreated, hurt, or dead pets from seemingly neglectful airlines... And, of course, all of the media coverage is sensationalized."
As we've discussed before, the pet travel stories that make it to the news are sad and scary, but they do not accurately represent the big picture. The more you learn about your options, the more you'll realize that you're not powerless when it comes to planning a safe pet relocation.
"I think the hardest part of the choosing process is deciding what is best for your nerves and your pet’s well-being (and nerves, for that matter). We chose this company because they are picky with which airlines get the business, they are comprehensive in their assistance…. at every level (!)…., and because their staff is just plain nice!"
We included this partly because it's a compliment to us (thanks, Meg!), but also because it once again reflects the uncertainty that is inherent in the pet relocation process. Without evidence and reassurance it's hard to make a choice, but doing as much research as possible and coming across stories like Hazel's can make a big difference. We'd also like to add that PetRelocation is indeed a detail-oriented team of pet lovers, and we treat all clients' pets as well as we'd treat our own.
"New rules (as of Jan 2015): The person sending the dog off (whoever signs the papers going to the USDA) must arrive in Germany within 5 days of the fluffbutt’s departure. This is to help prohibit the selling of puppies overseas, I believe."
This is an important update that all pet travelers to the EU should be aware of. Start by reading over the new rules here, and talk to a relocation specialist to find out how they might affect you specifically. Side note: we love that Meg calls Hazel a "fluffbutt" -- you can never have too many affectionate synonyms for "pet."
"When your pet arrives – they may be a little off-color from the new crazy adventure they just had! And their tummy might still be in the US…so hit a local Aldi for affordable chicken breasts and rice – boil both (separately) and offer as a food substitute until your furball seems up to eating normal food again."
This is great advice. We suggest to our clients that they start feeding their pets slowly and carefully upon arrival, especially if it has been necessary to switch to a different type of food than what you had at home. Make sure they have plenty of water and attention from you, of course, and talk to your vet if any concerning behavior arises. In our experience, pets are generally pretty resilient and will be probably be back to their normal selves within a few days (sounds like Hazel was!).
"Using a pet moving company takes all of the hassle (and the potential pain, anger, etc…whatever else comes with moving a pet on your own without prior experience) so you can focus on moving to a new country and getting your pet settled."
It's true that services like ours are not the cheapest option, but time and again we hear from our clients that they appreciate the fact that so much fear and stress was removed from the process because they decided to enlist help. We may not be for everyone, but we're glad to hear Hazel's owners feel confident they made the right choice with us!