Texans Move Down Under
Congratulations to our August Pet Move of the Month! This lucky family moved from Texas to Australia with all five of their pets, and as you can see from their story and these absolutely gorgeous photos, things are going well in their new home.
Thanks to Cali, Canan, Mason, Lola and Lily for sharing this journey with us!
What brought about your move?
When I was offered a job and visa sponsorship to work as a veterinarian in Forster, NSW, Australia, I thought it was a dream come true! Forster is a gorgeous small town three hours north of Sydney, surrounded by 19 beaches, three lakes, and national forests.
However, researching the import requirements and knowing I absolutely couldn’t make the move without our Golden Retriever (Cali, 11 years old), Black Lab (Canan, 9 years old), Manx cat (Mason, 9 years old), Rat Terrier (Lola, 6 years old), and Chihuahua (Lily, 5 years old), I began to think it would simply be a lost dream.
What surprised you at first about the pet travel process?
The process is daunting for one animal, much less five. Initially I was optimistic that, as a USDA accredited vet, I could just handle the pet moves on my own. That optimism quickly turned into massive anxiety.
It is stressful enough upheaving your entire life, packing up all your belongings, and worrying about how your pets are going to handle such a huge change, and there’s just no energy left to thoroughly double check every minute detail of the import requirements. One small error could mean your pet is stuck in Los Angeles for an extra 30+ days, or worse.
What was the journey like from beginning to end?
I started calling different relocation companies to compare prices and processes. I talked to several companies and their prices were comparable. However, as soon as I spoke to PetRelocation, I felt a sense of relief and I knew my family would be taken care of.
Maegan walked me through the entire process, provided a schedule customized to all five of my babies and even helped me minimize costs by highlighting all the things I could do myself as their vet to save money, and even in other ways like purchasing my own crates.
She invited us to bring the dogs in so we could make sure they have the appropriate size crates and just to see their personalities to understand my individualized concerns for each of them. They gave us an open invitation to bring the dogs by and everyone in the office was so welcoming and excited to see them each time.
At times I was second-guessing our move, terrified I was making the biggest mistake of my life, especially considering I have three senior pets and two adopted dogs with separation anxiety. We were also in a holding pattern for a while because my own visa took an unpredictable amount of time to process.
Maegan and Nina were so responsive and so caring. I literally emailed or spoke to them nearly every day with a new question or concern, and they alleviated my fears each time.
They continued to shift dates with our changing visa approval timeframe and make me new schedules for vet checks, tests, parasite control, etc. They emailed or called with reminders, preparation recommendation, success stories, and to check in on how everything was going.
Maegan and Nina were also in close contact with someone on their end at each step of the process, from the Houston drop off to the gate agents to the pick up in LAX and the vet in LAX to the caretakers/vets in quarantine.
We flew them out of Houston on a Sunday and Nina was checking in with the relocation team and me all day even though she was on vacation herself! They sent me pictures from their LAX pet condo vacay, told me when they boarded the flights, when they took off, and when they arrived in Melbourne.
Nina continued to email the quarantine for updates.The day of pick up from quarantine was an absolute nightmare on our end because we were so anxious to see our babies and anything that could go wrong did.
We took a wrong exit in Melbourne, which unfortunately takes you to the other side of town before you can correct it, and our phone service wouldn’t work to be able to tell anyone we’d be late. The quarantine is a bit hard to find because the building is not marked and is set off the road, and there was construction on the roads at the time. Thankfully for Nina talking to quarantine and ensuring our arrival, they waited for us.
In the end, it was well worth it. All five animals were perfectly healthy coming out of quarantine. We made a 14-hour drive to our new home and none of them have missed a beat. They couldn’t be happier down under.
We immediately took them down to Bluey’s Beach where we are currently living across the street from. We had the entire beach to ourselves. They all ran into the ocean and then the first wave came and they all ran back to shore. We don’t quite have waves this size in Texas! Now we try to do a morning and/or night run on the beach every day.
How are your pets settling in? Can you recommend any dog friendly beaches?
There are so many pet friendly places here. Among the 19 beaches, almost all have on-leash and off-leash times for dogs every day. Tuncurry 9 Mile Beach and the Sand bar (which is a strip of sand with ocean on one side and lake on the other) are both 100% dog friendly and leashless all day every day.
Most restaurants, like Beach Bums, Hueys, Kembali to name a few, all have outdoor seating where we can take the dogs. There’s even the second tallest waterfall in NSW, Ellenborough Falls, an hour away where the dogs can come hiking with us.
And no worries, Mason is loving it here too. He has made himself at home, learning to be a mostly indoor cat. He wanders around the yard when we are outside but is happy to come right back in to relax with the rest of the family.
What advice do you have for other pet travelers?
My advice to other pet travelers is to, first and foremost, take a load off yourself and use PetRelocation. Relocating a pet is expensive regardless. In the end, using this company will actually save time, stress, and money, having everything done right the first time. On that token, don’t be afraid to ask questions, any questions to PetRelocation. Trust me, you’ll feel better.
I also saved a lot of money by finding my crates on Amazon and Facebook marketplace. Maegan and Nina measured for the sizes I needed beforehand and confirmed that my specific crates met all the regulations. I fed my dogs in the crates every day for a few weeks before leaving and also kept the crates in the living room with blankets so the dogs and cat could go lay in them whenever they wanted. April-May was also a good time to travel because its not too hot or cold in the USA or Australia.
Though people think we are crazy for moving five animals, (and we did have reservations about each of them for their own special reasons), I don’t regret for a second bringing all of them with us. They’ve made our new place a home. And I am absolutely certain that we could not have had such a flawless move without PetRelocation, specifically Nina and Maegan.
With all the attention and care they put into my family, I don’t know how they had time for the rest of their jobs. I am forever grateful and I’ve actually started to miss our daily emails.
Thanks to Meagan for the great tips and the kind words! Ready to talk to our team about a pet relocation of your own? Contact us to get started.