About Animalcouriers

Animalcouriers provides comprehensive, professional pet shipping and animal transport services covering the UK, mainland Europe, and the rest of the world. With our domestic and overseas pet transportation service, we help a wide range of animal owners — including pet owners moving house or emigrating, smallholders, commercial breeders and enthusiasts — to move their domestic pets, livestock and other animals, safely and reliably.

Brutus, Jinx, Smokey, Figeac and Lola arrive at their Scottish destinations, and Tau crosses the sea to Northern Ireland

Yesterday Animalcouriers delivered the feline foursome from Liège in Belgium to their new home in Balerno, Scotland. Brutus, Jinx, Smokey and Figeac were delighted to be reunited with their owners and it was cuddles all round.

Then it was on to Kinross to deliver lovely Lola to her new Scottish home, where canine and human friends and family gave her a rapturous welcome.

This morning we reached Northern Ireland by ferry and enjoyed a stunning drive across moorland and fabulous green green farmland, on the way to deliver Tau to his holiday home near Londonderry. To blow off some steam before settling down to a cup of tea with grandma, courier S took Tau for a runaround in the open fields. He’s going to have a lovely time here!

Brutus gets a welcome home hug (as did the other three, but they moved even more than Brutus!)

Brutus gets a welcome home hug (as did the other three, but they moved even more than Brutus!)

Lola (centre) meets her new doggie playmates…

Lola (centre) meets her new doggie playmates…

…and her new human sister who made her a 'welcome' card. (Lola's new name will be Indie.)

…and her new human sister who made her a ‘welcome’ card. (Lola’s new name will be Indie.)

Lola's front garden overlooking Loch Levan

Lola’s front garden overlooking Loch Levan

Lovely walks on the beach near Cairnryan with Tau before catching the ferry

Lovely walks on the beach near Cairnryan with Tau before catching the ferry

A splendid view over the Irish sea as the sun sets

A splendid view over the Irish sea as the sun sets

Whoopee! I'm on my holidays, says Tau

Whoopee! I’m on my holidays, says Tau

Tau sits nicely for his grandma

Tau sits nicely for his grandma

Meanwhile, back in England, Romy was very excited to be back with her owners, Christiana and her partner. Romy had spent the day with courier M, enjoying a good long walk in the Sussex countryside, and relishing all the new sights and smells. Special thanks to Christiana's taxi driver Paul for taking the photo when courier M found his Blackberry battery was flat!

Meanwhile, back in England, Romy was very excited to be back with her owners, Christiana and her partner. Romy had spent the day with courier M, enjoying a good long walk in the Sussex countryside, and relishing all the new sights and smells. Special thanks to Christiana’s taxi driver Paul for taking the photo when courier M found his Blackberry battery was flat!

Excited meetings and happy reunions; and Lola and Tau are on board

Animalcouriers set off on a journey through the UK with many of our passengers from Greece, Italy and France. Also on board are a couple of new faces: Lola and Tau.

Lovely Lola has a new family waiting for her in Scotland. This large and stunning girl needed more time and attention than her previous family could give her, so they made the brave and responsible decision to find her a more suitable home. There were tears and hugs as she left, and it’s clear she’ll be greatly missed, but a wonderful new life awaits her in Kinross.

Meanwhile Border Collie Tau is off for a long holiday in Northern Ireland. The whole family were up to see him off — in their PJs as it was a rather early start! He’ll spend a few weeks with his grandma until the rest of the family arrives to join him. Getting him into the Animalcouriers van was a cinch — we threw a tennis ball and he was after it in a flash — a true Collie.

We delivered feline family Freddie Mercury, Theo, Sophie and Matilda to the peaceful Manor Farm cattery near Gloucester, where all four immediately set about testing the new beds, stretching their legs, and having a play. They look comfortably settled and ready to pass the next few days while they wait to move into their new home with Louisa.

Lisa and Lena arrived at their new Scottish home, where they were delighted to be reunited with Nick and Linda. There are lots of lovely new Scottish sights and smells for them to enjoy, and Lisa will be able to have hydrotherapy for her stiff limbs.

Old English Bulldog puppy Iti from France met Jessica and other excited new family. There are canine cousins to meet as well — two other Old English Bulldogs from the same breeder

Old English Bulldog puppy Iti from France met Jessica and other excited new family. There are canine cousins to meet as well — two other Old English Bulldogs from the same breeder

And here's Iti's sibling Loutou with an equally excited new family to get to know

And here’s Iti’s sibling Loutou with an equally excited new family to get to know

Lisa watches the horses playing before we set off on our journey north

Lisa watches the horses playing before we set off on our journey north

Lina looking rather gorgeous in the misty Sussex morning

Lina looking rather gorgeous in the misty Sussex morning

Jinx and companions join our trip north

Jinx and companions join our trip north

 Smokey contemplates the journey ahead

Smokey contemplates the journey ahead

Brutus is keen to know all about his travelling companions

Brutus is keen to know all about his travelling companions

Figeac wisely stays tucked up in bed

Figeac wisely stays tucked up in bed

Olive from Italy is similarly shocked at the very idea of getting up before 7.00am!

Olive from Italy is similarly shocked at the very idea of getting up before 7.00am!

Theo, on the other hand, is very happy to catch some early morning rays

Theo, on the other hand, is very happy to catch some early morning rays

Freddie Mercury is a very laid-back dude

Freddie Mercury is a very laid-back dude

Sophie and Matilda are such a cute pair — butter wouldn't melt!

Sophie and Matilda are such a cute pair — butter wouldn’t melt!

Lovely Lola

Lovely Lola

Handsome Tau

Handsome Tau

Olive gets a big 'hello' hug from her new mum in Liverpool. At which point she gave courier S a look that said, OK, you can be on your way now! Such a lot of character in a very small dog!

Olive gets a big ‘hello’ hug from her new mum in Liverpool. At which point she gave courier S a look that said, OK, you can be on your way now! Such a lot of character in a very small dog!

Lisa…

Lisa…

… and Lina get a warm welcome from their owners in Scotland

… and Lina get a warm welcome from their owners in Scotland

Courier S shared her bed with 47kg Lola. Having ensured courier S was wearing fresh clothes this morning…

Courier S shared her bed with 47kg Lola. Having ensured courier S was wearing fresh clothes this morning… …she dragged courier S straight into a bog on the Scottish moors! Luckily the hotel we had stayed at were very understanding and allowed courier S back in to shower and change, and clean up her muddy boots!

After a good romp in the Scottish countryside this morning, Tau is ready to cross the Irish sea and start his holiday in earnest

After a good romp in the Scottish countryside this morning, Tau is ready to cross the Irish sea and start his holiday in earnest

This wonderful totem pole was designed by a primary school in Scotland

This wonderful totem pole was designed by a primary school in Scotland

It's full of fabulous detail like this

It’s full of fabulous detail like this

Milk bar — breakfast on the moors for these charming Scottish lambs!

Milk bar — breakfast on the moors for these charming Scottish lambs!

Olive, Theo, Freddy, Sophie, Matilda, Iti and Loutou have joined our trip

Yesterday Animalcouriers collected Olive the Pug puppy just up the road from the Italian seaside resort of Rapallo. She’s a very confident young pup, who could even be a contender for prime minister in the future! In the meantime, she’s practising her skills on us.

Later we crossed from Italy into France and spent the night at a quiet Ibis hotel near Bagnoles in the Languedoc-Roussillon. Lisa had her normal half-hour gentle stroll, taking everything in and nosing around in the undergrowth and the edges of the path.

Today we collected Louisa’s four rescue cats in the pretty Languedoc village of Combas. Louisa is moving temporarily to England for work — and of course Theo, Matilda, Freddie Mercury and Sophie are going too.

Then east of Lyon we called in on Laure to collect a pair of beautiful Old English Bulldog pups, Loutou and Iti. It’s so nice that this brother and sister can keep each other company on their trip to the UK.

Olive takes to travelling like a pro

Olive takes to travelling like a pro

Olive knows how to look very cute indeed

Olive knows how to look very cute indeed

Freddie Mercury, a floofy Maine Coone, with Louisa when we arrived to collect the cats

Freddie Mercury, a floofy Maine Coone, with Louisa when we arrived to collect the cats

Theo is an ex-lab cat. He seems to be trying to work out an escape plan!

Theo is an ex-lab cat. He seems to be trying to work out an escape plan!

Freddy Mercury is another ex-lab cat

Freddy Mercury is another ex-lab cat

Theo and Freddie are a very closely bonded pair

Theo and Freddie are a very closely bonded pair

Siamese cross Sophie was thrown out of the window by her former owner when she came into season

Siamese cross Sophie was thrown out of the window by her former owner when she came into season

Matilda is very shy but also very savvy — she knew something was up when all her favourite furniture started disappearing a few days ago. She even managed to do a couple of runners when Louisa was trying to get all four organised yesterday morning

Matilda is very shy but also very savvy — she knew something was up when all her favourite furniture started disappearing a few days ago. She even managed to do a couple of runners when Louisa was trying to get all four organised yesterday morning

Louisa says goodbye and see you soon to her feline family

Louisa says goodbye and see you soon to her feline family

Goodbye hugs for puppy Loutou from Laure

Goodbye hugs for puppy Loutou from Laure

Puppy Iti says goodbye to mama dog

Puppy Iti says goodbye to mama dog

Meanwhile the puppies' siblings dash around, playing …

Meanwhile the puppies’ siblings dash around, playing …

…and checking out the Animalcouriers van, to see who their brother and sister are travelling with

…and checking out the Animalcouriers van, to see who their brother and sister are travelling with

A wonderful show of irises in the Languedoc sunshine

A wonderful show of irises in the Languedoc sunshine

White irises as well as the more common purple ones

White irises as well as the more common purple ones

Lina overtaken by the urge for a scratch — she's all arms and legs!

Lina overtaken by the urge for a scratch — she’s all arms and legs!

Romy partly shares walks with Lina — they really enjoy playing and rolling around together

Romy partly shares walks with Lina — they really enjoy playing and rolling around together

Romy and Lina watch courier M doing out their rooms

Romy and Lina watch courier M doing out their rooms

Lisa keeps a watchful eye on all the comings and goings

Lisa keeps a watchful eye on all the comings and goings

Morning walks and local treats in Ancona

Animalcouriers spent last night in the Italian town of Ancona at our favourite Agroturismo hotel, A3Passi, with its restaurant La Tavola del Carmine.

As usual we had a heavenly space for dog walking, through olive groves and up a little hill. While out with the dogs we watched produce being harvested both for sale in their little shop and also for their ever-changing menu.

After a breakfast of local yoghurt, their own eggs and home-made bread, we made a trip to the shop to buy honey to take home, and then we were on our way.

Walking Lina and Romy together brings a few challenges — these young, playful dogs can't resist a friendly tussle and a roll on the path

Walking Lina and Romy together brings a few challenges — these young, playful dogs can’t resist a friendly tussle and a roll on the path

Lina persuades Romy into having some more fun

Lina persuades Romy into having some more fun

Come on girls, if you don't concentrate, you'll only want a wee once we're on the road!

Come on girls, if you don’t concentrate, you’ll only want a wee once we’re on the road!

Lisa watches from the back of the Animalcouriers van — a safe vantage point to observe what the 'youngsters' are up to. Just too exhausting, she said, sitting down.

Lisa watches from the back of the Animalcouriers van — a safe vantage point to observe what the ‘youngsters’ are up to. Just too exhausting, she said, sitting down.

Delicious produce that goes into La Tavola's home-made potato spaghetti, and served in home-made artichoke puree, gnocchi and soups

Delicious produce that goes into La Tavola’s home-made potato spaghetti, and served in home-made artichoke puree, gnocchi and soups

With Easter just around the corner the shop at the hotel and restaurant is offering Easter eggs made with their own olive oil chocolate, filled with individually wrapped chocolatini! A little beyond our pockets, but wonderful to look at!

With Easter just around the corner the shop at the hotel and restaurant is offering Easter eggs made with their own olive oil chocolate, filled with individually wrapped chocolatini! A little beyond our pockets, but wonderful to look at!

More beautifully presented home-made Easter treats

More beautifully presented home-made Easter treats

Breakfast in Brindisi, dinner in Ancona

After a somewhat choppy crossing, Animalcouriers docked at the Italian port of Brindisi rather later than expected, having not boarded our ferry from Igoumenitsa until after 2.00am. It was time to walk the dogs, so we headed for breakfast and a doggy leg stretch at a nice hotel we remembered courier S had stayed at.

From there we drove towards Ancona where we’re spending the night. Our delayed arrival this morning means we haven’t got as far as we would have wished. But the late nights and early starts are taking their toll on couriers J and M, so we’re not sorry to have stopped a bit early this evening.

To meet the TRACES requirements, we notified Defra that we are transporting pets on an intra-trade certificate (ITHAC) and let them know when we expect to be in the UK. We explained that we’re transporting owned dogs, who are following their owners.

Very quickly we received an email reply saying:

“It sounds as if these dogs are PETS [pet passport scheme] compliant, therefore the ITHAC (health certificate) is not required.”

This was followed up by another email saying: “…an Intra Trade Certificate is not needed as this is not a commercial import. Therefore there is no need to notify your local AHVLA [Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency] office.”

We are delivering these dogs to their owners’ homes so, for us and their owners, the matter is closed.

We are hoping that, as time goes by, it will be easier for people who live in Greece and wish to relocate and take their pets with them to do so without so many hoops to jump through and layers of bureaucracy to overcome.

No ordinary croissant this — stuffed with Nutella and served warm. Food heaven!

No ordinary croissant this — stuffed with Nutella and served warm. Food heaven!

Lisa gets going — we can all sympathise with trying to get slightly stiff joints moving in the morning!

Lisa gets going — we can all sympathise with trying to get slightly stiff joints moving in the morning!

Smiling Romy

Smiling Romy

Pensive Lisa

Pensive Lisa

Lina notices the big anchor, and wonders where the ship is

Lina notices the big anchor, and wonders where the ship is

Romy fancies her 'longest tongue' chances

Romy fancies her ‘longest tongue’ chances

A lovely sunny evening in Ancona — Lisa is gradually losing the loose tufts of her winter coat and starting to look less like a teddy bear and more like the German Shepherd Dog she really is!

A lovely sunny evening in Ancona — Lisa is gradually losing the loose tufts of her winter coat and starting to look less like a teddy bear and more like the German Shepherd Dog she really is!

 Lina drinks in the new scents around her — olive trees and wild flowers

Lina drinks in the new scents around her — olive trees and wild flowers

While Romy was still out walking, cheeky Lina hopped into her compartment when she got back to the van and snaffled her bedtime snacks!

While Romy was still out walking, cheeky Lina hopped into her compartment when she got back to the van and snaffled her bedtime snacks!

Don't worry Romy, we'll give you some more!

Don’t worry Romy, we’ll give you some more!

Brutus, Jinx, Smokey and Figeac are swapping Belgium for Scotland

While couriers J and M walked dogs on the beach at Igoumenitsa in Greece, courier S collected a family of four angelic cats from a beautiful village near Liège in Belgium.

They crossed the Engilsh Channel via Eurotunnel and will now stay with Animalcouriers until their owners reach Scotland early next week. We look forward to getting to know each of these cute characters a bit better during their time with us!

Jinx has the most amazing eyes

Jinx has the most amazing eyes

Brutus keeps a very close watch on everything that's happening around and about

Brutus keeps a very close watch on everything that’s happening around and about

Smokey's whiskers are just the best

Smokey’s whiskers are just the best

Figeac manages to look nosey and slightly disapproving at the same time

Figeac manages to look nosey and slightly disapproving at the same time

Giving way to heavy traffic near Liège

Giving way to heavy traffic near Liège

Getting to know our passengers from Athens, and reunions for Elsa and Gypsy

Lisa and Lina are travelling with us from Greece to rejoin Nick and Linda in Scotland. Nick and Linda relocated last year and the dogs have been staying with Nick’s sister in Athens in the meantime.

Romy belongs to Christiana and has been in the care of her parents since she moved to the UK for work. Christiana’s parents say they miss their daughter but it’s hard to find work in Athens, so they are very pleased she’s found a good job in Southampton.

Once all three dogs were on board, we headed to Igoumenitsa port. Yesterday’s strike had prevented us from taking Elsa and Gypsy to Corfu, so Barry and Theresa and their son Matt made a proper outing of it, and came to meet us at Igoumenitsa instead. There were tears of joy when they spotted us driving into the port, and the family were delighted to be reunited with their cats.

Lisa is getting on in years so we will take special care of her

Lisa is getting on in years so we will take special care of her

Romy was brought to us at Glyfada following her trip to the prefecture for her TRACES health certificate

Romy was brought to us at Glyfada following her trip to the prefecture for her TRACES health certificate

Cordelia from Nine Lives Greece popped by to say hello. She didn't have any cats for us to take to the UK, but wanted to show off a puppy she'd found in Athens. To prove that he's bilingual, he very obligingly 'sat' when asked to do so in both English and Greek!

Cordelia from Nine Lives Greece popped by to say hello. She didn’t have any cats for us to take to the UK, but wanted to show off a puppy she’d found in Athens. To prove that he’s bilingual, he very obligingly ‘sat’ when asked to do so in both English and Greek!

Cordelia's pup needs a bit more practice before he can enter the 'longest tongue' competition!

Cordelia’s pup needs a bit more practice before he can enter the ‘longest tongue’ competition!

Smiles all round as Barry, Matt and Theresa are reunited with Elsa and Gypsy

Smiles all round as Barry, Matt and Theresa are reunited with Elsa and Gypsy

Matt is delighted to have his cats either side of him

Matt is delighted to have his cats either side of him

At Igoumenitsa we stopped at our favourite beach to walk the dogs, and met a beach resident. Lina was quite up for a play!

At Igoumenitsa we stopped at our favourite beach to walk the dogs, and met a beach resident. Lina was quite up for a play!

Walking Lisa in the evening sunshine

Walking Lisa in the evening sunshine

Romy lets the wind blow through her fur

Romy lets the wind blow through her fur

Lina breathes in the briny air…

Lina breathes in the briny air…

…and dips her toes in at the water's edge

…and dips her toes in at the water’s edge

The sun disappears over the horizon as we head back to the van

The sun disappears over the horizon as we head back to the van

Paperwork complexity as we depart Athens

Animalcouriers are leaving Athens with three dogs who are bound for the UK. All three dogs are owned by Athenian residents who have relocated to the UK for work, and are travelling on TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) health certificates. Theoretically, the dogs don’t need these health certificates but there seems to be some confusion in Greece on this matter.

To give some background: there has been correspondence between Animalcouriers and Eurogroup for Animals (the leading voice for animal welfare at European Union level), and between that group and the European Commission on our behalf. Between us we have tried to clear a path with the Greek authorities.

In terms of what we are talking about, there are essentially two categories of pet travel. The European Commission clarifies those two categories as follows:

“If the dog follows the owner in its way back from Greece to the UK, Greece cannot ask more than the requirements laid down in Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 and they should even not require to see the dogs.

If the dogs (not yet owned, or owned but the owner is not moving with his dog) are moving by a transport company from Greece to the UK, the animals have to comply with the requirements of Directive 92/65/EEC (come from registered holdings/businesses, TRACES certificate and notification to the MS [member state] of destination).”

Therefore, all depends on the kind of movement we are talking about. All the dogs travelling with us today fall into the first category, so all we should need for each dog is:

  • A pet passport
  • A declaration from the owner giving Animalcouriers permission to transport their dog for them to their new address in the UK

Instead, in addition to the above, the general requirements for TRACES have had to be met, and more additional paperwork provided for each dog:

  • Evidence that it has been neutered
  • Proof of ownership, an adoption paper from the Greek municipality they lived in
  • Proof that the owners are who they are who they say they are, and of where they are living in the UK

This is making it very difficult for people who want to relocate from Greece to take their pets with them. We hope that over time it will become easier for people to travel with their pets.

What we are experiencing seems to be contrary to the founding principles of free movement of people and goods across Europe — almost a matter of human rights.

These draconian measures layered into obtaining permission to take owned pets that are following their families have prevented four dogs from travelling with us this month as their owner’s vets did not know where to start in providing advice. Thee three dogs travelling with us today come from Athens, where we were able to find an official vet who could help and process the unnecessary paperwork!

The situation is causing considerable worry as we correspond with clients who are relocating with their pets from Greece to the UK and are wondering how they will do it.

Lisa, one of the dogs travelling with us from Athens today

Lisa, one of the dogs travelling with us from Athens today

A warm welcome for Rebecca’s Shelties and a happy reunion for Penelope

Animalcouriers delivered Rebecca’s seven Shelties to their new owners in Brindisi, Italy, where they were warmly received with hugs and cuddles by Pierrefrancisco and his partner.

From there it was off to the port for our crossing to Greece, which saw us arrive at Igoumenitsa at the rather rude hour of 5.00am this morning! It felt like 4.00am as Greece is an hour ahead of Italy, so we were very impressed with ourselves for managing to wake up in time to get off the boat.

Our plan was to hop on a ferry to Corfu, to deliver cats Elsa and Gypsy to Barry and his family. So we headed to the Corfu harbour office, only to find it shrouded in darkness. We approached a port policeman — a very expressive chap who waved his arms and made an X in the air. “Strike!” he told us, then held up an index finger: “All day!” Well there’s a surprise… we should have realised something was up when we saw the red-and-white picket line across the port entrance. We’ll have to try for Corfu tomorrow.

So after a quick chat with some local dogs, we set off for Porto Heli to reunite Penelope with Sophie and Matt.

Big hugs for a Sheltie from Pierrefrancisco

Big hugs for a Sheltie from Pierrefrancisco

Smiles and happiness all round

Smiles and happiness all round

Looks like the Shelties have a lovely new family to look after them

Looks like the Shelties have a lovely new family to look after them

Picket line at the Greek port

Picket line at the Greek port

This dog looked set for a peaceful day, thanks to the strike

This dog looked set for a peaceful day, thanks to the strike

Penelope sets paw on Greek soil

Penelope sets paw on Greek soil

Penelope enjoys a morning walk with a seaside backdrop

Penelope enjoys a morning walk with a seaside backdrop

Elsa looking very cute and relaxed, despite the delay in taking her and Gypsy to Corfu

Elsa looking very cute and relaxed, despite the delay in taking her and Gypsy to Corfu

Head tickles now! says the look on Gypsy's face

Head tickles now! says the look on Gypsy’s face

It's bliss when the humans do your bidding!

It’s bliss when the humans do your bidding!

Penelope was so happy to be reunited with Sophie and Matt, she did her 'mad frolic' dance and literally jumped for joy

Penelope was so happy to be reunited with Sophie and Matt, she did her ‘mad frolic’ dance and literally jumped for joy

After dropping off Penelope, we enjoyed a yummy lunch of fried cheese, cucumber, and the reddest, ripest tomatoes you ever did see

After dropping off Penelope, we enjoyed a yummy lunch of fried cheese, cucumber, and the reddest, ripest tomatoes you ever did see

This idyllic view makes us think, it's a tough job but someone's got to do it! But the idyll doesn't hide the increasing shambles the Greek ministry of agriculture is creating that's making it much more difficult for people to move their pets to other EU countries.

This idyllic view makes us think, it’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it! But the idyll doesn’t hide the increasing shambles the Greek ministry of agriculture is creating that’s making it much more difficult for people to move their pets to other EU countries.

Meanwhile back in the UK, Piri and Dip enjoyed a morning walk in the countryside before heading off to stay at Burntwood Kennels before their flight to New Zealand

Meanwhile back in the UK, Piri and Dip enjoyed a morning walk in the countryside before heading off to stay at Burntwood Kennels before their flight to New Zealand

Dip and Piri are heading to New Zealand

Having delivered Bibi, Digger and Kizzy to kennels in Normandy, Animalcouriers headed off to Brittany to pick up Jack Russell Terrier Dip and Golden Retreiver/Labrador cross Piri. They have a long journey ahead of them as they’re flying to New Zealand!

We crossed to the UK by Eurotunnel, with this inseparable pair sitting side by side, barking in unison to greet every toll booth attendant. They spent last night with courier S, and this morning they’re off to stay in kennels in Sussex while their paperwork, blood tests and vaccinations are finalised for their entry into New Zealand.

Lovely Dip

Lovely Dip

Gorgeous Piri

Gorgeous Piri