Our latest Pet Move of the Month qualifies as a true relocation adventure -- an exciting location, a long but ultimately smooth journey, a happy release from quarantine, and of course, an adorable and well-loved dog.
Meet Tessa, who we helped move from Houston to Brunei, and thanks to her owner Joe for kindly answering our questions!
What brought about your move?
My work transferred me to Brunei.
Have you ever moved a pet internationally before this?
What were some of your initial concerns?
My foremost concern was how Tessa would do in a crate on the long flight (food, water, exercise, comfort, maintaining a clean crate, etc.). Another concern included how she would react to strangers handling her crate.
What surprised you about the pet travel process? Anything notable about Brunei and the quarantine process there?
No real ‘surprises’ with the travel process itself, that was explained in great detail before Tessa traveled. I just had a heightened sense of anticipation from the time she departed the States until I saw her again in Brunei. The only hiccup came when she got delayed in Amsterdam due to local holidays on her onward travel route. I was very happy I was provided daily updates on her from Amsterdam and every arrival and departure along the way.
Tessa and her impressive digs
Brunei is very strict about pet importation. Travelers coming to Brunei with pets must obtain a permit prior to importation of the animal by requesting entry from the Department of Agriculture Veterinary Office. Brunei law requires a 6 month quarantine for all animals entering the country. That rule may fluctuate depending on status of the owner (diplomatic personnel, military personnel, etc.).
In any case, pet owners can apply for early release from the quarantine facility, but the pet is required to serve the remainder of quarantine time in ‘home confinement’. A colleague of mine whose pet arrived in Brunei just before Tessa applied for early release and had his pet home in one week. I applied as soon as Tessa arrived, limiting her time in the quarantine facility to just over a week.
How has Tessa handled the transition so far?
Tessa has been great throughout this entire process. She has remained friendly and very inquisitive about her new environment. As soon as she got to her new house, she checked the whole place out then found a spot on the bed for a nap. Our pets really are more resilient than we give them credit for.
Is Brunei a pet-friendly place to be?
Being a predominantly Muslim country, dogs are usually not kept as pets in Brunei. The locals do understand, though, and accept that Westerners will have dogs in and around their homes. Strict local Muslims will not enter a home where a dog resides. However, there are enough local places for her to run and play and there is a growing expat community of people who also have dogs, so Tessa will have playmates.
Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque
As Brunei is mostly jungle, there are still many wild animals in close proximity to homes that can cause serious injury or death to pets. Most common are monkeys and monitor lizards. Monkeys may be scared of dogs, but the monitor lizards are known to be aggressive when hunting food.
I thought about that one night as she and I were on a walk on a road near the house. All of the sudden the trees seemed to come alive with screaming monkeys.They didn't like having Tess around. When she got close to the trees they climbed higher but followed us and stayed vocal the whole time we were in the area. Kinda cool actually, and Tess stayed calm and didn't see what the big deal was all about.
What advice do you have for people who might be planning a pet move?
Be sure to do research on the country where you intend to take your pet, including social norms/customs, support network (i.e. veterinarian, boarding facilities, etc.) and the type of food available locally. I have traveled extensively and seen many times where the host government may approve or allow the importation of animals but the reaction from the community may not always be welcoming. This can strain relations with neighbors and acquaintances and limit the experiences you can share with your pet.
Making herself at home
What made you decide to hire PetRelocation to assist you?
I contacted several transport services when I learned I was going to move, including transport services recommended by my employer. These companies could not provide detailed answers regarding the shipping process or their support network to ensure Tessa arrived safely and on time. PetRelocation was able to provide all these answers and followed up with calls and emails to ensure I was up-to-date and comfortable with the entire process.