If you've ever moved with pets to Australia, you know it's no simple task— even when there isn't a global pandemic working against you! Dacey and Radar, this adorable doggie duo, made the trip in style. It wasn't all smooth sailing due to COVID disruptions, but in the end, everyone was happily reunited. Now, this pair are telling us their story as the Pet Move of the Month! Enjoy!
Tell us about Dacey and Radar! What are they like and how did they join your family?
Dacey is a 7 or 8-year-old Border Collie. She's my “discount dog” as the shelter was offering half off dogs for Woof Wednesday. She's the best bad dog ever! She loves a chat and to go for walks and hikes but mostly she just loves being around her people. She's also my goggle dog! She wears RexSpecs for an eye issue but mostly just looks like a little robot.
Radar is my Golden Retriever, he's an absolute sweetheart. He loves going for a swim and pretending he's a lap dog. He's also my working dog, here in Australia we've joined up with Search Dogs Sydney here and when he's certified he'd help search for missing people.
What brought about your move to Australia?
My whole family lives in Australia, It was really hard to live apart from them, especially when COVID hit and all I wanted was to just check in on my family and make sure everything was going to be okay.
Have your pets done much traveling before this trip?
Both dogs have are my best road tripping companions. They've hiked in Idaho, Wyoming, New Mexico, Nevada, California, and a bunch of other places! They don't get left behind if I can help it. Radar's first road trip was at 8 weeks old getting picked up from his breeder in Oregon and driving with me and Dacey back to Utah.
What were you most worried about when you learned you’d be moving across the world with Dacey and Radar?
At first, I was most worried about the flight, 13hrs in cargo? No thanks! But then I reminded myself that's only 13hrs of their life, not even a day. They've been in crates for longer on road trips.
The fears of the flight were quickly overshadowed by everything else. The will-they-won't-they of booking flights during COVID. We were dealing with fears that they'd close the quarantine facility due to lockdown, concerns I wouldn't be able to get a flight for the human portion of the move, Australia tightening their borders… so much to worry about!
In the end, the dogs ended up with a much longer journey, flying from LAX to Auckland, NZ, and then onto Melbourne after a layover. While they arrived in good health and spirits, I'm not sure if I would have been able to handle all of that on my own!
How did you hear about PetRelocation and what made you decide to entrust us with your furbabies?
I found PetRelocation after doing a quick Google search. I choose PetRelocation after reading reviews of others who have used PetRelocation. I'm happy to be one of those reviews that might ease someone else's fears surrounding an international move and assure them that PetRelocation is going to be the absolute best choice to make.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected your move plan. Did you sign up with us knowing the possibilities of COVID disruptions or was that a total surprise?
I signed up right at the start of COVID when it didn't look like it was going to be a big deal (wishful thinking, I know). We set a date in June because that was super far out and we thought any COVID disruptions would have long since passed.
Can you tell us a little about how COVID-related disruptions affected your move?
Well, our planned June exit didn't happen…At all! We ended up traveling in October! We proceeded like normal up to our scheduled June departure, got everything that needed to be done, and then had to cancel. At the time the thought of rerouting their flight plans seemed extreme. What I didn't know was how complicated it was going to be by the time we traveled!
By the time of our trip, Qantas (our first choice to fly our dogs on) had stopped flying pets! Ideas were thrown around throughout the months between June and October. Finally, it was settled on going through Auckland in New Zealand.
That wasn't the only thing. With my vet only doing no-contact appointments it left me feeling disconnected (not to say the vet wasn't great. Big shout out to the University of Utah Veterinary Hospital and Dr. Bybee for staying open and doing everything that they did).
Your move coordinator was Katie Harris. What was the best part of having a professional pet shipper like Katie on standby to help you? What words would you use to describe Katie’s help?
I cannot say enough good things about Katie Harris. She kept me updated the whole time, I'm sure I wasn't her only case either but she made me feel like mine were the only dogs she was moving. She was absolutely vital. Between no-contact vet appointments, flight changes, lockdowns, and everything else Katie made sure nothing was missed and my dogs could get into Australia. Plus, she did this all while working out of the office! Thanks again, Katie.
We love to remind pet parents how important crate training is for dogs. Do you have any tips for other dog moms on acclimating pets to their crates?
Dacey was pretty much easy to crate train. She loves food, I fed her every meal in her crate and gave her chews and puzzle toys. She's also pretty fearless, nothing phases her. Even now, she's totally cool going in and out of her crate. Radar was a bit harder. He's not as food motivated (yes he's a Golden, yes I find it very strange) but he understood that he needed to be in his crate for mealtimes. Some nights I have them sleep in their crates. Other times I'd put them into their crates and cover them up so they got used to it being dark. One afternoon I put them in their crates and played three hours of plane take-off noises. The biggest thing was consistency.
Since getting back to Australia I've had to get Radar used to going in his crate again, he was a little fearful of going in. That's fair enough, it was a long trip.
When the day of travel finally came, how did that go? Did Katie provide you with updates and give you peace of mind that your pets were in good hands?
Honestly, it was a little anticlimactic. I dropped the dogs off at the Kennel Club in Los Angeles and that was that. I wasn't flying for another couple of days, driving away without my dogs was such a strange feeling. Katie kept me updated throughout. I got an update about them at the kennel, an update before they got on their flights, an update when they landed in New Zealand, an update when they left New Zealand, an update when they arrived in Australia, and an update when they finally made it to the quarantine facility.
Right before they took off things shifted again! Thankfully Katie was there and made sure they made their connection to Australia.
If you could go back and give yourself some advice before you started planning your pet’s trip… what piece of advice would you give?
Get started early and be flexible. And of course, use PetRelocation. I genuinely do not believe that I could have moved my dogs in the middle of COVID without PetRelocation, I would have missed something or done something wrong, I don't want to imagine what could have happened if all their paperwork wasn't totally perfect.
You’re reunited with your four-legged friends in Australia now. How are they adjusting? Do they like their new home down under?
They LOVE it here in Australia! They have beaches and swimming and parks and other dogs to play with and people to meet! Radar is loving training at Search Dogs Sydney and even getting to work on rubble piles. Hopefully, one-day he'll be able to give back to his new home of Australia.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Another huge THANK YOU to Katie Harris and all the amazing people at PetRelocation. I'm on Instagram as @seachange_dogs , come meet my two happy PetRelocation clients!
Do you think your pet's move would be a pawfect Move of the Month? Tell us about it!