Reunions for Jules, Stephen, Kirsty, Vienna, Ianto, Boris and Killibrae Kit

Our first stop yesterday in France was to deliver handsome puss Jules to his family waiting in Nantes. Austin and Alyssia, were extremely excited to see him. Jules said that he’d enjoyed his trip but was very pleased to be back with his family.

Then it was on to the Creuse region to deliver Sam’s dog, cat and geese. First out were the geese, Stephen and Kirsty. We were pleased to see how chilled they were after their trip, which had lasted more than two days. The geese have a wonderful new home, and Sam told us it was the bird space which persuaded her to buy the house — there’s a paddock, running water and a fabulous shelter. Sam’s Elkhound, Moleskine, who accompanied Sam on her leisurely journey from the UK, welcomed the geese first, then Vienna the cat and finally Bull Terrier Ianto. She was delighted to have the rest of her family around her! Sam soon wrote to say:

“Thank you so much. Ianto & Moleskine are playing rough & tumble in the grass. Vienna is asleep upstairs. The geese can’t believe their new surroundings.”

We then continued on to Cahors to deliver Waterdog Boris to his family. He knew as we walked up the drive that he was home.

After spending the night in Narbonne, we cross the border into Spain and made our way to Barcelona where we reunited cats Conan and Gypsy with Victor. Then it was on to the airport to meet Xanthe, who had flown in from Majorca to collect Border Collie pup Killibrae Kit. Little Kit will be travelling with her in the cabin to Palma. Xanthe already has Kit’s aunt and great aunt, so there will be quite a reception committee waiting at home.

Alyssia and Austin (with a little help from courier M) greeting Jules on his arrival in Nantes

Alyssia and Austin (with a little help from courier M) greeting Jules on his arrival in Nantes

Alyssia very excited to have Jules at home

Alyssia very excited to have Jules at home

Courier M and Sam with Stephen and Kirsty

Courier M and Sam with Stephen and Kirsty

The geese headed straight for the purpose-built new home

The geese headed straight for the purpose-built new home

Almost a skip for joy as they try out their new environment, nibble at the grass and feel the wind in their feathers

Almost a skip for joy as they try out their new environment, nibble at the grass and feel the wind in their feathers

Stephen and Kirsty are in complete agreement — they love their new home!

Stephen and Kirsty are in complete agreement — they love their new home!

Sam's Elkhound Moleskine, who didn't travel with us, was quick to hop in and inspect our van

Sam’s Elkhound Moleskine, who didn’t travel with us, was quick to hop in and inspect our van

Boris was such a happy boy to be home, and the feeling was shared with the entire household

Boris was such a happy boy to be home, and the feeling was shared with the entire household

In Narbonne, resident Cocker Spaniel George strikes a pose.

In Narbonne, resident Cocker Spaniel George strikes a pose.

Sunglasses off, a closer look at the wineglass! George is a past passenger of ours and knows all about Animalcouriers. He regularly welcomes us to his home, and quite likes to have a chat with our passengers and reassure them about travelling.

Sunglasses off, a closer look at the wineglass! George is a past passenger of ours and knows all about Animalcouriers. He regularly welcomes us to his home, and quite likes to have a chat with our passengers and reassure them about travelling.

Nearly home! Conan and Gypsy supervise courier M as he prepares their travel boxes for transferring them from our van to their owner Victor

Nearly home! Conan and Gypsy supervise courier M as he prepares their travel boxes for transferring them from our van to their owner Victor

Conan very excited, knowing he's almost home

Conan very excited, knowing he’s almost home

Such a happy Kit in Xanthe's arms

Such a happy Kit in Xanthe’s arms

Wispa on the lookout, curious as ever

Wispa on the lookout, curious as ever

Dave gets up close and personal — it's a challenge to photograph this handsome tabby as all he wants is a neck and chin rub. We have to try and snap him as he weaves back and forth.

Dave gets up close and personal — it’s a challenge to photograph this handsome tabby as all he wants is a neck and chin rub. We have to try and snap him as he weaves back and forth.

Fifi strides towards us, while Lulu stays comfy at the back

Fifi strides towards us, while Lulu stays comfy at the back

Beau listens intently as we explain that she'll be back with Moe very soon

Beau listens intently as we explain that she’ll be back with Moe very soon

Leaving the UK with eight cats, six dogs — and a pair of geese!

Two Animalcouriers vans left Portsmouth this afternoon, heading to France. We were a bit disappointed we had to take a daytime ferry, but what with the holiday season being in full swing, and the conditions at Calais being so difficult, the overnight sailings from Portsmouth are all booked up weeks ahead. So we felt fortunate to get a crossing, and relieved that we didn’t have to brave Calais.

On board we have a fantastic set of passengers who are on their way to rejoin their families all over France and Spain.

Glamorous cat Jules was delivered to us by Fraser and his daughter. The family has relocated to France, and we expect to catch up with them tomorrow in Nantes, where they will be very pleased to be reunited with Jules.

Bull Terrier Ianto is travelling with Vienna the cat and brother-and-sister geese Stephen and Kirsty. Courier Joe was a little surprised on arriving to collect them to discover his role included catching the geese first! An hour later, with Stephen and Kirsty secure in a carrier, everyone was on their way. These four well loved pets are all off to join Sam and her family in the Creuse region in central France. It’s the first time Brittany Ferries has been asked to transport pet geese. It was a bit touch and go at first but, in the end, the special permission we needed was granted.

Waterdog Boris has been a regular passenger over the past few years, as he splits his time between London and the Cahors region of France. He’s starting to show a few white whiskers around his muzzle now, but is as exuberant a character as ever.

Feline chums Conan and Gypsy have also travelled with us before — we transported them from Barcelona to the UK a little over a year ago, and now they’re on their way back to Barcelona. Owner Victor has gone on ahead and is very much looking forward to their arrival. Conan and Gypsy were due to stay at a cattery for three weeks until the start of this trip. But when we checked their documents, we discovered their inoculations had run out. Fortunately courier R had space for them in his study. They kept him great company, practising Spanish with him and Googling tortilla recipes on his computer.

Cute Border Collie pup Killibrae Kit is also on board. She’s off to live in Palma, Majorca, with Xanthe, who’s planning to fly into Barcelona where we’ll meet up and hand Kit over. Xanthe and Kit will then travel the rest of the way to Palma together.

Jackadoodle Bailey’s journey started in the Scottish Highlands and will take him all the way to Javea in Spain. He told us he’ll miss Aviemore and the ski season, but is looking forward to enjoying the sun, sea and sand. He’ll spend a day at Casa Antigua kennels and cattery in Denia until Simon and the rest of the family arrive.

Lulu, Fifi and Dave, a fine trio of cats, are travelling with us from Wolverhampton. They’re on their way to join Linda and family who’ve relocated to Alhaurin in the Malaga area of Spain.

Gorgeous Beagle Beau hails from Peebles in Scotland and is on her way to Marbella to join Moe. Beau and Moe travel back and forth between their two homes, so we won’t be surprised to see them again soon!

Character cat Wispa belongs to Philip and family. They’ve moved from Sheffield to Albufeira and now Wispa is on the way to join them in their new home.

Glamorous Golden Retriever Lula is travelling from London to the Haute Savoie region of France in one of our smaller vans with courier H. Not only does her owner Jane not want to be parted from her for a moment longer than necessary; it also saves the rest of us a detour eastward and so avoids compromising the length of the journey for the other pets we have on board.

Jules is a real stunner with a beautiful colour coat

Jules is a real stunner with a beautiful colour coat

Vienna takes to travelling like a pro

Vienna takes to travelling like a pro

Ianto making out he's a bit shy about having his photo taken

Ianto making out he’s a bit shy about having his photo taken

Stephen and Kirsty are a very bonded pair

Stephen and Kirsty are a very bonded pair

Boris the Waterdog — sorry it's not a great photo, we'll try again soon!

Boris the Waterdog — sorry it’s not a great photo, we’ll try again soon!

Fluffball Conan and black-and-white Gypsy — we did enjoy having these two to stay

Fluffball Conan and black-and-white Gypsy — we did enjoy having these two to stay

Lovely young Border Collie Killibrae Kit — who could resist those puppy dog eyes!

Lovely young Border Collie Killibrae Kit — who could resist those puppy dog eyes!

A winsome look from Jackadoodle Bailey

A winsome look from Jackadoodle Bailey

Black beauty Fifi, travelling with…

Black beauty Fifi, travelling with…

…gorgeous floofy Lulu and

…gorgeous floofy Lulu and

… handsome Dave — here he is telling courier J all about what Fifi and Lulu get up to

… handsome Dave — here he is telling courier J all about what Fifi and Lulu get up to

Ooh, that moment when you just have to have a chin rub!

Ooh, that moment when you just have to have a chin rub!

Beau is an exceptionally pretty Beagle

Beau is an exceptionally pretty Beagle

Wispa is a very charming character cat

Wispa is a very charming character cat

Lovely Lula who'll soon be reunited with Jane

Lovely Lula who’ll soon be reunited with Jane

Transporting a Hermann’s Tortoise to France, a Cocker Spaniel to the Netherlands, and two kittens for Lynn

Natasha and her family are spending the summer in Paris with members of their family who live there. They asked us to transport their Hermann’s Tortoise, Dave, so that he could join in the holiday fun. He’s a tiny tortoise, about 6 cm wide and 15 cm long. His tank and the bags that came with him more than made up for his diminutive size!

Beautiful Cocker Spaniel Bella came to stay before travelling with us to Amsterdam to rejoin her owners. It was a great opportunity to be reminded about what lovely personalities Cockers have! She’s a very inquisitive little girl who loves having a chat. James wrote to say:

“Thank you and the rest of the team at Animalcouriers. Bella has safely arrived in Amsterdam. The courier was very nice. Really appreciate all your help.”

We collected a gorgeous pair of kittens for Lynn. Lynn rescues Pekingese dogs, and has 19 at the moment. The two kittens aren’t rescues, however, they’re a treat for herself. We look forward to hearing what names she chooses for these two little bundles of fluff.

Dave in his habitat, with some pebbles and a small plant for scale

Dave in his habitat, with some pebbles and a small plant for scale

Dave came with clear instructions on how to take care of him and what he likes to eat

Dave came with clear instructions on how to take care of him and what he likes to eat

A closer look at Dave's fascinating shell markings

A closer look at Dave’s fascinating shell markings

Beautiful Cocker Spaniel Bella

Beautiful Cocker Spaniel Bella

A happy reunion in Amsterdam for Bella and her owners

A happy reunion in Amsterdam for Bella and her owners

A pair of cuties sitting in their bed on courier J's desk

A pair of cuties sitting in their bed on courier J’s desk

A very excited Lyn with her two new babies

A very excited Lyn with her two new babies

UK reunions for Neo, Lino, Willow, Gulliver, Hector, Sammy and Demetri

The happy reunions started almost as soon as we reached the UK and just kept going.

Neo very pleased to be back with owner Christos — we met up at Maidstone services on the way back to our Surrey base.

Neo very pleased to be back with owner Christos — we met up at Maidstone services on the way back to our Surrey base.

Here's Lino being met by his grandparents, who were very excited to see him. It wasn't long before Lino spotted his ball, and started looking for someone to play.

Here’s Lino being met by his grandparents, who were very excited to see him. It wasn’t long before Lino spotted his ball, and started looking for someone to play.

A very happy Amanda and Chris with Willow and Gulliver. These young cats treated the whole trip as an adventure and never stopped playing.

A very happy Amanda and Chris with Willow and Gulliver. These young cats treated the whole trip as an adventure and never stopped playing.

It was love at first sight for Hector and his new family — check out the speed of that wagging tail!

It was love at first sight for Hector and his new family — check out the speed of that wagging tail!

Here's Hector with Jo, Jonny, Tilly, Samuel and William. Hector just loved being stroked and cuddled and showed everyone how pleased he was to be joining the family.

Here’s Hector with Jo, Jonny, Tilly, Samuel and William. Hector just loved being stroked and cuddled and showed everyone how pleased he was to be joining the family.

There was an amazing reception at the Brighton Rocks bar for Sammy who is going to have the best life here with Jane and Edward

There was an amazing reception at the Brighton Rocks bar for Sammy who is going to have the best life here with Jane and Edward

A very happy and cuddly reunion for Demetri with Jules and Kate

A very happy and cuddly reunion for Demetri with Jules and Kate

Billie (behind) looking very comfy in her new home with Joanne and new playmate Charlie

Demetri (behind) looking very comfy in his new home with new playmate Charlie

Collecting Nacho, Jack Sparrow, Charlie, Carmella and Zeva in Italy

The ferry from the Greek port of Igoumenitsa to Italy arrived late, and our favourite hotel in Ancona was already fully booked. We had to work quite hard to find an alternative that offered secure parking and somewhere to walk the dogs. After a couple of false starts, we lucked out with La Cantina di Ale, which ticked all the boxes. At this hotel and pizzeria, the pizzas were wonderful —thin and light with delicious toppings, and such a huge diameter that they have to order special plates to fit!

The next morning we headed to Pescara to collect Nacho, who belongs to Dana and Bruce. They’ve already moved to Scotland, where a tartan welcome mat is doubtless being laid out., So we had a rendezvous with Dana’s sister Laura at the Pescara Ikea to collect Nacho.

From there it was a short hop to Vasto to collect Guisy’s three cats, Jack Sparrow, Charlie and Carmella. Guisy is relocating to London and, of course, her beloved cats are going too. Her Dad and her brother-in-law, Federico, came to see them off.

Our next stop was Genoa to meet up with Zeva, a beautiful Bracco Italiano puppy, bred by Maurice, who was very moved at parting with her. Zeva is off to live in Morpeth with Alex, who’s been waiting more than two months for Zeva to join her.

We were hoping to reach Calais tonight but the holiday traffic in Italy means the roads are choked and everything’s moving very slowly. So we think tomorrow is a more realistic ambition!

Awards on the walls of the Cantina di Ale's breakfast room. And in the kitchen, photos of chefs past and present and all their families. A super place where simplicity and good food prevail.

Awards on the walls of the Cantina di Ale’s breakfast room. And in the kitchen, photos of chefs past and present and all their families. A super place where simplicity and good food prevail.

Our hotel was on the outskirts of Recanati, about which the guides usually say 'Recanati is art, history, culture, music, faith and nature.' This is Palazzo Bello, the summer home of one of Italy's most famous poets, Giacomo Leopardi.

Our hotel was on the outskirts of Recanati, about which the guides usually say ‘Recanati is art, history, culture, music, faith and nature.’ This is Palazzo Bello, the summer home of one of Italy’s most famous poets, Giacomo Leopardi.

A plaque showing the opening stanza of Leopardi's best known work, Zibaldone, which reads, 'Palazzo Bello, a dog's bark in the night, comes from the farmhouse, with the passing traveller... ' Very apt as the farmhouse is now the Cantina di Ale!

A plaque showing the opening stanza of Leopardi’s best known work, Zibaldone, which reads, ‘Palazzo Bello, a dog’s bark in the night, comes from the farmhouse, with the passing traveller… ‘ Very apt as the farmhouse is now the Cantina di Ale!

 

The poor old palazzo really is crumbling away, but provided us with a lovely breezy hill-top walking spot for the dogs. Just as well, as it was already 92F at 7.30am!

The poor old palazzo really is crumbling away, but provided us with a lovely breezy hill-top walking spot for the dogs. Just as well, as it was already 92F at 7.30am!

Amazing what you can get at Ikea these days! Laura and her friend bring us Dana's cat Nacho.

Amazing what you can get at Ikea these days! Laura and her friend bring us Dana’s cat Nacho.

A closer look at friendly Nacho who loves a cuddle

A closer look at friendly Nacho who loves a cuddle

Jack Sparrow and Charlie are great mates

Jack Sparrow and Charlie are great mates

Jack Sparrow has amazing markings around his eyes

Jack Sparrow has amazing markings around his eyes

Handsome ginger-and-white Charlie

Handsome ginger-and-white Charlie

Carmella looking very snuggly in her bed

Carmella looking very snuggly in her bed

Maurice saying goodbye to puppy Zeva

Maurice saying goodbye to puppy Zeva

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Lovely Lino shows us his fine profile

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Hector always seems to have a smile on his face

Sammy is also a smiley fellow

Sammy is also a smiley fellow

Neo very eager for his walk…

Neo very eager for his walk…

…and relaxing in a spot in the shade

…and relaxing in a spot in the shade

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Randall enjoying the fresh air

A winsome look from cute kitty Willow

A winsome look from cute kitty Willow

We think Gulliver is well named — very alert, always exploring his bedroom, and doubtless ready to research his next trip!

We think Gulliver is well named — very alert, always exploring his bedroom, and doubtless ready to research his next trip!

Zavia is gaining in confidence and happy to have a little chat. We love the ginger detail on her head and nose!

Zavia is gaining in confidence and happy to have a little chat. We love the ginger detail on her head and nose!

Pretty hot out on our walk — Lino was glad to get back for a cool drink of water

Pretty hot out on our walk — Lino was glad to get back for a cool drink of water

Billie is very lively and finds it hard to stand still

Billie is very lively and finds it hard to stand still

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Judi is also a live wire. Here she is in the beautiful shady gardens of the Palazzo Bello

Demetris has 'cute' down to a T

Demetris has ‘cute’ down to a T

Reaching the Greek mainland and collecting Neo, Lino, Zavia, Willow, Gulliver and Judi

Our ferry took us from Lesvos island to the Athenian port of Piraeus. Once breakfast had been served to our five passengers from Lesvos, and they had been walked, we were ready to meet up with the next set of passengers for our UK-bound trip.

First up was Neo, a mixed breed dog who belongs to Christos and family. They’ve moved to Kent, and now Neo is off to join them. He’s been looked after by Giannis, a dog behaviourist, who wanted to check us out before allowing Neo to leave with us. We were flattered to get a big thumbs up from him!

Sarah brought us her Cocker Spaniel, Lino. Sarah and family are also relocating to Kent, where they’ll be near Sarah’s mum. The family is leaving Athens shortly and will soon be reunited with Lino.

We were pleased to catch up with our friend Cordelia, who’s been looking after tortoiseshell cat Zavia on behalf of her owner. Zavia is travelling all the way to Scotland from Athens. We also met Elena, who brought us young cats Willow and Gulliver whose owner has already left for the UK.

We then headed to our usual meeting place near Thessaloniki to collect Judi from Maria and her Mum in temperatures approaching 100F. The tarmac was somewhat toasty under Judi’s toes, so it was a quick photo op before she gladly stepped into the Animalcouriers van. Maria will be in England in time to receive Judi from us.

The area at Piraeus port where boats from the islands dock, bringing swathes of homeless people looking for a way to make the next stage of their journey

The area at Piraeus port where boats from the islands dock, bringing swathes of homeless people looking for a way to make the next stage of their journey

Giannis with Neo

Giannis with Neo

Lino waiting his turn for a walk…

Lino waiting his turn for a walk…

…getting quite excited at this point!

…getting quite excited at this point!

Cordelia chatting with courier M

Cordelia chatting with courier M

Zavia is a very shy, very pretty tortoiseshell girl — we hope to get a better photo of her as we become closer friends

Zavia is a very shy, very pretty tortoiseshell girl — we hope to get a better photo of her as we become closer friends

Super cute cats Willow in front, and Gulliver behind

Super cute cats Willow in front, and Gulliver behind

Maria and her mum with German Shepherd Judi

Maria and her mum with German Shepherd Judi

Sammie all eagerly alert

Sammie all eagerly alert

We love Harvey's hairy ears

We love Harvey’s hairy ears

Hector seems to prefer being called Hector, rather than Ben, so we've let Jonathan know!

Hector seems to prefer being called Hector, rather than Ben, so we’ve let Jonathan know!

Demetris perched on the front seat for a few minutes, watching other dogs being walked

Demetris perched on the front seat for a few minutes, watching other dogs being walked

Randall looking up at him, with Hector behind

Randall looking up at him, with Hector behind

Collecting Billie, Sammy, Demetri, Randall and Hector on Lesvos

To collect the first passengers for our UK-bound trip, Animalcouriers took the ferry to the island of Lesvos, where we had a very interesting visit to the Museum of Industrial Olive Oil Production in Agia Paraskevi.

The museum was originally a cooperative oil mill set up in 1911, under communitarian principles, to help small olive oil producers. The olives were pressed and the oil handed back to the growers, who could then go to market and could compete with the big boys and get a fair price for their small amount of oil. The mill was eventually closed down in 1967 by a right-wing dictatorship who arrested and exiled the community leaders, and left the small producers unable to get their oil to market.

In the afternoon we made our way to Mytilini port to await our passengers. The winds were high as we watched the refugees, who’d made their way to the island on inflatable boats, try and hang on to their little tents pitched along the shoreline. It’s a sight that makes us very aware of the humanitarian crisis Europe (and the world) is facing.

Soon Rebecca arrived with five gorgeous dogs who are on their way to wonderful new homes in the UK. Their families are very excited and have been in regular contact with us. Rebecca and her volunteer colleagues at Lesvos animal friends look after and rehome many unwanted dogs and cats on Lesvos. They’ve teamed up with Wild at Heart to organise the rehoming of five dogs between them. Each dog is travelling on a separate Traces certificate as each is going to a separate address.

From the Lesvos team:

Billie is a mixed breed dog, who has been with the Lesvos rehoming group for a while. She’s on her way to Joanne in Sheffield.

Sammy is another mixed breed whose new home is the Brighton Rocks Restaurant and Bar in Brighton, with Jane and her family. En route, we’ll be teaching Sammy how to take orders and how to make a Brighton Rock Sundae!

Demetri is off to live with Jules and Kate in Northampton, who say: “We are very excited about getting Demetri finally ‘home’ It’s been a while since we saw him in Lesvos — hope he hasn’t grown too big!!!”

And from Wild at Heart:

Randall is going to Ali and her husband who, like all good owners, wanted to know how the journey works and are looking forward to seeing photos of Randall along the way.

Hector (to be renamed Ben) is on his way to Jonathan in Reigate, just a few miles from courier J, so maybe we’ll meet out walking!

You can see photos of Randall and Hector, and other lovely dogs looking for new homes, on the Wild at Heart adoption page — these two are at the foot of the page.

After a slight concern that we wouldn’t get kennels for the dogs on the ferry to the mainland, we were finally allowed on board and were allocated three big kennels. With Rebecca’s help, we got all the dogs organised and then we were ready for the off.

Christos negotiating with the freight department to get a good rate for our van on the ferry to Lesvos. We rely on Christos and Panos of Hellas Ferries to help with all our ferry needs between Italy and Greece, and around the Greek islands.

Christos negotiating with the freight department to get a good rate for our van on the ferry to Lesvos. We rely on Christos and Panos of Hellas Ferries to help with all our ferry needs between Italy and Greece, and around the Greek islands.

The former olive oil mill, now a beautifully restored working museum of oil production on Lesvos

The former olive oil mill, now a beautifully restored working museum of oil production on Lesvos

Olives are roughly crushed in the mill, and the resulting pulp is sewn into sacks and taken to the press

Olives are roughly crushed in the mill, and the resulting pulp is sewn into sacks and taken to the press

The sacks of pulp are pressed…

The sacks of pulp are pressed…

…and the resulting oil drains into the settlement tanks, the sediment sinking to the bottom

…and the resulting oil drains into the settlement tanks, the sediment sinking to the bottom

The oil is then put through the centrifuge for final clarification

The oil is then put through the centrifuge for final clarification

Storage facilities at the oil mill

Storage facilities at the oil mill

Courier J heads into an interesting-looking shop — she came out bearing olive oil, Lesvos honey and olive oil soap

Courier J heads into an interesting-looking shop — she came out bearing olive oil, Lesvos honey and olive oil soap

Refugees' tents at Mytilini

Refugees’ tents at Mytilini

Some of the boats they arrived in

Some of the boats they arrived in

Rebecca with Randall and Hector

Rebecca with Randall and Hector

Rebecca puts name tags on Billie and Demetri

Rebecca puts name tags on Billie and Demetri

Medallions to be attached to the dogs' collars, said to ward off the evil eye

Medallions to be attached to the dogs’ collars, said to ward off the evil eye

Our van driving up the gangplank

Our van driving up the gangplank

Courier M and Rebecca getting our charges settled in for the crossing, including topping up water bowls

Courier M and Rebecca getting our charges settled in for the crossing, including topping up water bowls

Randall and Hector sharing a room

Randall and Hector sharing a room

A cute look from Demetri

A cute look from Demetri

Arriving in Greece with Beau and Bumble; and meeting some of the locals

Animalcouriers reached the Greek port of Igoumenitsa by ferry from Italy and motored straight on down to Athens to reunite Beau and Bumble with their owners.

Meanwhile, courier J flew in to Athens to take over from courier Mike for the remainder of the trip. We enjoyed a delicious dinner at a taverna overlooking the water before waving him off.

Not long now before we meet the first of the cats and dogs who’re joining us for the trip back to the UK.

We got a shady, airy spot on the ferry for our van, which meant the dogs could comfortably stay in their travel compartments, rather than moving to the on-board kennels.

We got a shady, airy spot on the ferry for our van, which meant the dogs could comfortably stay in their travel compartments, rather than moving to the on-board kennels.

Staffie Beau steps out into the Greek sunshine

Staffie Beau steps out into the Greek sunshine

Like Beau, Labrador Bumble found the Greek temperatures quite high — both dogs were pleased to get back into our air-conditioned van!

Like Beau, Labrador Bumble found the Greek temperatures quite high — both dogs were pleased to get back into our air-conditioned van!

At Athens airport courier J found that all bus tickets were free of charge — no surprise then that it was standing room only!

At Athens airport courier J found that all bus tickets were free of charge — no surprise then that it was standing room only!

‎Happy little Beau is even happier now he has rejoined his owner Katie. We met her in Pireus port as the reunited pair are travelling on to the beautiful island of Rhodes.

‎Happy little Beau is even happier now he has rejoined his owner Katie. We met her in Pireus port as the reunited pair are travelling on to the beautiful island of Rhodes.

‎Bumble is a girl who knows what she wants so when she has an itch she gets it scratched.

‎Bumble is a girl who knows what she wants so when she has an itch she gets it scratched.

Last, but by no means least, miss Bumble was greeted by an enthusiastic family in Athens. Bumble, by the way, is eating a chew and not smoking a cigar.

Last, but by no means least, miss Bumble was greeted by an enthusiastic family in Athens. Bumble, by the way, is eating a chew and not smoking a cigar.

A last evening meal in the sun by the beach for courier Mike before heading back to the colder climes of Yorkshire

A last evening meal in the sun by the beach for courier Mike before heading back to the colder climes of Yorkshire

Fresh local prawns, what a treat

Fresh local prawns, what a treat

It wasn't long before we were joined by some of the locals

It wasn’t long before we were joined by some of the locals

A closer look at this pretty tortie-and-white girl

A closer look at this pretty tortie-and-white girl

One ginger fellow was more daring than the others…

One ginger fellow was more daring than the others…

… got up on his hind legs and tapped courier M on the arm to remind him he was there!

… got up on his hind legs and tapped courier M on the arm to remind him he was there!

Reunions for Iorek, Tubbo, Bertie and Ted; and Bumble gets on board

Having delivered cats Willow and Teddy to their owners in Brittany, and Hector to his family near Paris, Animalcouriers headed for the border with Italy. We stopped near Geneva to collect Yellow Labrador Bumble, who’s been staying with Rowena and her Golden Retriever Rusty. Bumble is travelling with us to rejoin Jude, Roger and family, who’ve gone on ahead to Athens where Roger is working in shipping.

Once across the border, we stopped in Milan to deliver Iorek to Nadia, who welcomed him on behalf of Isabella, who’s following on from Birmingham. The whole family turned out to greet him!

Then it was on to the picturesque town of Monterchi in Tuscany, to reunite bewhiskered black-and-white puss Tubbo with Ian and family. Monterchi boast the only known depiction of a pregnant Madonna — unfortunately we couldn’t stop to see it, but fortunately Wikipedia came up trumps.

This morning we drove to Naples where we reunited Beagles Bertie and Ted with their owner Robert, who’s on an attachment with NATO. These lucky dogs are just a couple of minutes from the beach, and have a nature reserve on their doorstep that contains some ancient ruins. With their noses, perhaps they’ll sniff out some antique treasures!

Rusty, Bumble's temporary host — any excuse to post a picture of a Golden Retriever!

Rusty, Bumble’s temporary host — any excuse to post a picture of a Golden Retriever!

Bumble behind, Rusty in front, Rowena in between

Bumble behind, Rusty in front, Rowena in between

Bumble enjoying an evening leg stretch

Bumble enjoying an evening leg stretch

A joyful reunion for Iorek with his owner's sister Nadia and other members of the family

A joyful reunion for Iorek with his owner’s sister Nadia and other members of the family

Man versus pizza. Courier Mike was beaten hands down!

Man versus pizza. Courier Mike was beaten hands down!

Wonderful Tuscan countryside

Wonderful Tuscan countryside

We just had to get closer to those sunflowers!

We just had to get closer to those sunflowers!

Tubbo safely delivered to Ian. You know it’s Tubbo from those magnificent whiskers!

Bertie and Ted delighted to be back with Robert

Bertie and Ted delighted to be back with Robert

We've driven round some splendid roundabouts on this trip. This one in France…

We’ve driven round some splendid roundabouts on this trip. This one in France…

…and this one in Italy

…and this one in Italy

Leaving the UK with Hector, Harvey, Macchia, Iorek, Willow, Teddy, Tubbo, Bertie, Ted and Beau

Animalcouriers set off from the UK to Greece via France and Italy with gorgeous dogs and cats on board. We were lucky enough to have a few of them staying with us for a couple of nights beforehand, too.

One of our house guests was Hector, a handsome black Cocker Spaniel from south London. He’s off to join his owners who’ve relocated to the Paris area — they’ve gone on ahead to get everything ready for his arrival. Hector has unbelievable ball skills, and managed to keep a three-year-old boy amused for hours. Hector is a real joy to have around, always bouncy and happy and waggy tailed.

Best pals Harvey and Macchia have also been staying with us. This Black Lab and Italian Pointer travelled down from Cheshire and are off to Italy where owner Sally and her husband have a second home. Both are rescue dogs: Macchia found Sally when she was on one of her trips to Italy — Macchia is very attached to humans and loves cuddles. Harvey was attacked by another dog so he’s a little anxious on the lead, but loves playing ball almost as much as Hector.

Seven-year-old Iorek, a beautiful light-coloured German Shepherd dog is traveling with us from Birmingham back to Milan. His owner Isabella is still in England, so her sister Nadia will be waiting to roll out the red carpet. Iorek is travelling really well, despite Isabella’s fears he could be travel sick.

British Blue cats Willow and Teddy are relocating with their owners Nicky and David from Surrey to Brittany. Despite their slightly haughty demeanour, they are very confident, friendly cats. We’re sure they’ll love the countryside and open spaces that will be at their back door, and that they’ll become country cats in no time.

Black-and-white Tubbo is travelling with us from southern England to Arezzo in Italy to join his family, who’re already on their way there by car with their dog. In his younger days he was inclined to portliness, which is how he acquired his name. Now, however, he’s a fine figure of a cat and sports a splendid set of whiskers‎. One of the reasons his family asked us to transport him is because he makes a lot of noise in the car. We must say, however, that we’ve barely heard a peep from him. This may well be because travelling in our van is a very different experience from the car journeys most cats are used to, which involve going to the vet in a small cat carrier, with a view of the world rushing past the window. This can be rather disconcerting for them so, next time you take your cat to the vet, try draping a cloth over the carrier to help him or her to stay calm.

Almost identical Beagles Bertie and Ted seem to operate as a single unit. They’re relocating from Cheshire to the Naples area, where they will doubtless waste no time putting their noses to the ground to show off their sniffing and snuffling skills to the locals. Owner Robert has gone on ahead and is really looking forward to being reunited with his dogs. However they’ll be very much missed by his Mum and Dad who’ve been doing a great job of dog sitting.

Little Beau is a typical friendly Staffie who loves people. We met her just hours before the trip set off and there’s little doubt we’ll be best friends with her by the time we reach Piraeus port in Athens, which is where we’re meeting up with her owners Kate and family. They’ve relocated from London to beautiful Rhodes, which will be a very different place indeed for them all to live. ‎

Hector can throw as well as catch the ball. Here he is waiting patiently for help to get the ball out from under a cupboard.

Hector can throw as well as catch the ball. Here he is waiting patiently for help to get the ball out from under a cupboard.

Hector and his three-year old friend sharpen their ball skills

Hector and his three-year old friend sharpen their ball skills

The promise of a treat enabled us to get all three of our houseguests in one shot, along with housedog Pugsley (aka Superbeast). Pugsley is at the back, then Harvey, Macchia and Hector at the front. So keen, even the balls were put down!

The promise of a treat enabled us to get all three of our houseguests in one shot, along with housedog Pugsley (aka Superbeast). Pugsley is at the back, then Harvey, Macchia and Hector at the front. So keen, even the balls were put down!

Hector enjoys a sunny walk

Hector enjoys a sunny walk

Harvey is the senior dog on this trip and likes to keep everyone in order

Harvey is the senior dog on this trip and likes to keep everyone in order

Macchia is very affectionate and loves a fuss

Macchia is very affectionate and loves a fuss

Courier Mike with handsome floofy Lorek

Courier Mike with handsome floofy Iorek

A closer look at that noble head

A closer look at that noble head

Lorek posing by the broad beans

Iorek posing by the broad beans

Gorgeous Willow, looking just a tad grumpy at being woken up for a photoshoot

Gorgeous Willow, looking just a tad grumpy at being woken up for a photoshoot

Willow decides to grin and bear it

Willow decides to grin and bear it

Willow's equally gorgeous companion, Teddy

Willow’s equally gorgeous companion, Teddy

Storm welcomes Willow and Teddy to their new home in Brittany

Storm welcomes Willow and Teddy to their new home in Brittany

Tubbo shows us his fine markings

Tubbo shows us his fine markings

Now that's what I call whiskers!

Now that’s what I call whiskers!

Cheeky chappies Bertie and Ted Beagle

Cheeky chappies Bertie and Ted Beagle

You get the impression they're constantly plotting mischief behind your back!

You get the impression they’re constantly plotting mischief behind your back!

Pretty tri-colour Staffie Beau — the sunshine brings out her lovely markings

Pretty tri-colour Staffie Beau — the sunshine brings out her lovely markings

Oversize seagull spotted by courier M on his recent travels

Oversize seagull spotted by courier M on his recent travels