From reunions in Stoupa to Athens, to meet Pouca the cat

When Animalcouriers reached Greece by ferry from Italy, our first stop was Stoupa, to reunite cats Mr Pickles and Douglas, and dogs Murphy and Twiglet with Sharon. Overnight accommodation in the area is a bit sparse at this time of year but we were lucky enough to end up in a rather nice little cottage.

With the weather howling and storming outside, we took advantage of the open fire which had been laid ready for us. Along with the firewood was a plastic bag full of amazingly effective firelighters — pieces of cardboard soaked in olive oil. Sacrilege! we hear you cry, using Kalamata extra virgin oil in this way. But the smell suggested the oil had already been used for cooking. So in fact, an excellent approach to recycling and less grease down the drains.

From Stoupa we drove through the hills towards Athens via Kalamata. We stopped for coffee in a small mountain village between Kalamata and Athens to look around a tiny church that caught our eye. A local lady passed us with her flock of ewes and their lambs, bringing traffic to a halt while she chatted with a number of villagers before guiding her flock off the road.

In Athens we headed to the port to meet up with Eugenia’s cat Pouca. This dear little tortie girl was brought to us by boat by a friend of Eugenia’s. Pouca seemed quite unfazed by her journey and simply ready for cuddles and supper!

Our olive-oil firelighters. Courier M says he uses something similar at home — kitchen roll used to wipe out the frying pan. But Mrs M objects somewhat to the smell of fried bacon and onion!

Our olive-oil firelighters. Courier M says he uses something similar at home — kitchen roll used to wipe out the frying pan. But Mrs M objects somewhat to the smell of fried bacon and onion!

We are very aware of the difficult lives led by stray cats around dustbins. As we left Stoupa we spotted a group of 12 or more round this bin. Even though we approached very slowly, most of them scuttled away over the wall, leaving just a handful on guard. Who were rewarded with some cat treats.

We are very aware of the difficult lives led by stray cats around dustbins. As we left Stoupa we spotted a group of 12 or more round this bin. Even though we approached very slowly, most of them scuttled away over the wall, leaving just a handful on guard. Who were rewarded with some cat treats.

Driving through the hills behind Stoupa en route for Kalamata, we passed many beautiful wild flowers. We think these may be orchids.

Driving through the hills behind Stoupa en route for Kalamata, we passed many beautiful wild flowers. We think these may be orchids.

Wonderfully bright poppies

Wonderfully bright poppies

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Wish we knew what these striking flowerheads are. Any ideas?

Wish we knew what these striking flowerheads are. Any ideas?

Mimosa (we think)

Mimosa (we think)

Traffic jam in the mountains

Traffic jam in the mountains

We thought this little church was derelict when we first caught sight of it…

We thought this little church was derelict when we first caught sight of it…

…but on pressing our noses to the glass in the door, we saw its marvellous tiny interior

…but on pressing our noses to the glass in the door, we saw its marvellous tiny interior

Ancient-looking paintings inside

Ancient-looking paintings inside

Some paintings were made directly on the stonework

Some paintings were made directly on the stonework

Graffiti at the church's entranceway

Graffiti at the church’s entranceway

Eugenia's friend arrives with Pouca

Eugenia’s friend arrives with Pouca

Pouca peeping out, keen to know what's going on

Pouca peeping out, keen to know what’s going on

Pouca is such a pretty little girl! We discovered she's missing a leg and part of her tail. She's cuddly, purrs loudly, and loves eating!

Pouca is such a pretty little girl! We discovered she’s missing a leg and part of her tail. She’s cuddly, purrs loudly, and loves eating!

Collecting Blair and Putin in Germany for their trip to the UK

At much the same time as couriers J and M reached Greece, courier S found herself in rather exalted company in Berlin.

Blair and Putin have been living in this fine capital city for a couple of months while their passports and travel arrangements were finalised. With promises of a large garden and fresh west country air to look forward to at their new UK home, these two cats are anticipating good times ahead.

They’re proving the perfect travel companions, sharing a hotel room with courier S last night and everyone enjoying snacks in bed. This morning they’ll cross to the UK by Eurotunnel, and spend the night in Surrey before being reunited with their owners tomorrow.

Handsome black-and-white Blair

Handsome black-and-white Blair

Gorgeous Russian Blue Putin

Gorgeous Russian Blue Putin

Like the Swiss, the Germans are also lucky enough to have Easter egg trees!

Like the Swiss, the Germans are also lucky enough to have Easter egg trees!

A colourful sight that brightens up a somewhat grey day

A colourful sight that brightens up a somewhat grey day

Bibi and Odin are reunited in Switzerland, and Ruben, Hugo, Red and Jim arrive in France

After reuniting cats Fleur and Mittens with their owners, Mike and Debbie, in Normandy, we drove into Switzerland to deliver Bibi and Odin to Alan and his family. It was hard to say who was more excited at the reunion — humans or dogs!

Then it was back into France to drop handsome trio Ruben, Hugo and Red at Le Jardin des Chats, a super cattery in the Montpellier area, where they’ll have a short stay until their owner Susan catches up with them. And we left Gentleman Jim with mutual friends, for collection by his owner Faith.

The next day, with Mr Pickles, Douglas, Twiglet and Murphy still on board, we motored on to Italy, staying the night in Florence before heading to the port to catch the overnight ferry to Greece.

Bibi and Odin were so excited at being back with Alan and his wife that they quite forgot all their good manners for a few moments!

Bibi and Odin were so excited at being back with Alan and his wife that they quite forgot all their good manners for a few moments!

But it really didn't take long for all that training to kick back in

But it really didn’t take long for all that training to kick back in

Proof that in Switzerland Easter eggs actually grow on trees

Proof that in Switzerland Easter eggs actually grow on trees

Easter bunnies collect the eggs and deliver them to all the boys and girls (and grown-ups!) who've been good so far this year

Easter bunnies collect the eggs and deliver them to all the boys and girls (and grown-ups!) who’ve been good so far this year

Mr Pickles (top) and Douglas are just about the nosiest pair of cats who've ever travelled with us!

Mr Pickles (top) and Douglas are just about the nosiest pair of cats who’ve ever travelled with us!

Meet our passengers from the UK: Odin, Bibi, Murphy, Twiglet, Mr Pickles, Douglas, Jim, Hugo, Ruben, Red, Fleur and Mittens

Animalcouriers set off from the UK with a fine group of feline and canine passengers on board.

Odin and Bibi are travelling with us to Switzerland, to join Alan and his family. Although they’ll primarily be the family’s pets, they’ve also been trained by Len from K9 Protector to protect and look after all the family members. Len says he’s really enjoyed training these two — we must say, they are a very soft and friendly pair of dogs.

Family of four Mr Pickles, Douglas, Murphy and Twiglet are relocating with Sharon to Greece. Their journey started in Devon, and their new home is in the hills just south of Stoupa, with wonderful sea views to enjoy.

Tuxedo cat Jim joined us for one of his regular trips from London to the south of France. Now 15 years old, he sadly recently lost his twin brother Jules, and is travelling alone for the first time. We’re pleased to say he’s very relaxed and taking everything in his stride.

Three more familiar faces are also on board: Hugo, Ruben and Red. This trio of cats travelled with us from the Languedoc to York last year. But their owner, Susan, missed the warmth of the south of France, so the family are now on their way back, and will be managing a campsite at Saint Mandrier sur Mer.

Mum and daughter Fleur and Mittens are on their way to Normandy, to be reunited with Mike and Debbie. The two cats homeboarded with us while Mike and Debbie went on ahead to get everything ready for their arrival.

Trainer Len admitted to an especially soft spot for Bibi and said he'll really miss her

Trainer Len admitted to an especially soft spot for Bibi and said he’ll really miss her

Handsome Odin is a little younger than Bibi. Len says that he very much followed Bibi's lead during training.

Handsome Odin is a little younger than Bibi. Len says that he very much followed Bibi’s lead during training.

Twiglet (L) and Murphy (R) soon get settled in

Twiglet (L) and Murphy (R) soon get settled in

Mr Pickles has a head for heights — here he is sitting on top of the box in the compartment he's sharing with Douglas

Mr Pickles has a head for heights — here he is sitting on top of the box in the compartment he’s sharing with Douglas

Dear Douglas has no tail and not many teeth — so obviously his favourite activities are jumping around and eating!

Dear Douglas has no tail and not many teeth — so obviously his favourite activities are jumping around and eating!

Douglas gets a tickle…

Douglas gets a tickle…

…and Mr Pickles wants in on the action, too!

…and Mr Pickles wants in on the action, too!

Gentleman Jim (who bears more than a passing resemblance to Mr Pickles) in pensive mood

Gentleman Jim (who bears more than a passing resemblance to Mr Pickles) in pensive mood

Creamy ginger brothers Ruben (L) and Hugo (R)

Creamy ginger brothers Ruben (L) and Hugo (R)

Tired of posing, Ruben and Hugo gently nod off

Tired of posing, Ruben and Hugo gently nod off

Fluffy Red is a more nervous character than either of his brothers, but is starting to relax

Fluffy Red is a more nervous character than either of his brothers, but is starting to relax

Fleur, perhaps showing how she got her name?

Fleur, perhaps showing how she got her name?

Mittens on arrival at their new home in Normandy, taking a close look at the front door

Mittens on arrival at their new home in Normandy, taking a close look at the front door

Now it's Fleur's turn to examine the front door. You can see both cats thinking: we came in this door, so logically… Both did a lot of scurrying and sniffing — a cat's flight instinct drives it to try and run away, perhaps back to where it came from? But as is the case with many of our cat passengers, within an hour or so, they were well settled in thanks to familiar smells and the sound of their owners' voices. Debbie and Mike will keep them in for about three weeks to give them a chance to adapt properly to their new environment.

Now it’s Fleur’s turn to examine the front door. You can see both cats thinking: we came in this door, so logically… Both did a lot of scurrying and sniffing — a cat’s flight instinct drives it to try and run away, perhaps back to where it came from? But as is the case with many of our cat passengers, within an hour or so, they were well settled in thanks to familiar smells and the sound of their owners’ voices. Debbie and Mike will keep them in for about three weeks to give them a chance to adapt properly to their new environment.

Why do cats love boxes? It may well be because small spaces make them feel more secure

Occasionally clients comment that cats who travel with Animalcouriers don’t seem to have very much room in their compartments. But cats are big fans of small spaces, as they help them feel more secure, especially in unfamiliar or stressful situations.

Think back to when you adopted your cat — to help your cat settle in you were probably advised to confine him or her to one room in your home initially, then gradually introduce everywhere else. Does your cat jump into an empty box whenever you leave one lying around? Or try to fit into seemingly impossible tiny spaces for a snooze?

Scientific research shows that enclosed spaces, like boxes, help cats feel secure and cope better when they’re stressed. Boxes also offer cats a safe place to sleep without being disturbed and may also help them to keep warm.

So when a cat is being transported, giving them a relatively small space and somewhere to hide, such as their own carry box or a tunnel bed, is actually very good for their welfare.

This article tells you more about the research.

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Danai from Greece has a new home in the Netherlands; can you help Rita find a new home too?

Do you remember Danai? She was in the care of the Filozoikos Shelter in Athens Central Park since being left there as a puppy with her six litter mates. Danai had a serious eye condition — a dermoid cyst — that needed operating on. But at around €700, the cost was beyond the budget of the shelter. So Kiki, Martha and their colleagues set about raising funds.

Many people were moved by Danai’s story. Alexandros, a friend of the shelter, ran the Athens marathon to help raise money. Others — including followers of this blog — made donations. Everyone’s generosity meant enough money was soon raised and the operation could quickly go ahead. It was a complete success and Danai made a full recovery.

The latest great news about Danai is that she has a new home with Hans and Erica in the Netherlands. Conrad, part of the UK team that supports the shelter, says:

“Hans and Erica are the most special, caring and lovely people, and Danai has a wonderful and much loved life to look forward to. We thank so many different people who were deeply touched by Danai’s story, and helped out generously with her progress since she was first found abandoned and brought to the shelter, through her successful eye surgery and her foster home, to helping out her marathon running sponsors, and by spreading the word far and wide as to what an adorable dog she truly is.”

Danai flew from Athens to Amsterdam to join her forever home

Danai flew from Athens to Amsterdam to join her forever home

Danai, looking beautifully behaved, with Erica

Danai, looking beautifully behaved, with Erica

Hoping to be as lucky as Danai…

We recently heard from Cordelia who is looking for a home for Rita who is currently in the care of Nine Lives Greece. Cordelia describes her as follows.

Rita is a precious little soul, who has all four limbs and both eyes but, for whatever reason, has still not been adopted here. She is so gentle and easygoing and loving, just the easiest kitty.

If you can give Rita a forever home, please contact Nine Lives Greece directly.

Rita

Rita

Rita

Rita

Safe homecomings in the UK for Bob, Ben, Missy and Mabel; and Pica and Trebol

Dave and Christine’s family of four, dogs Bob and Ben, and cats Missy and Mabel, recently travelled with us from Nerja in Spain to Lincolnshire in the UK. Christine wrote to let us know all four arrived in good spirits:

“Our gang are settling in at the new home. They all look in good health and I just wish they could tell me of their adventures en route to get here.

Bob and Ben can’t believe they have a nice big garden of their own and have been going in and out all afternoon. They have also been for a walk across a nearby field. Now worn out and sound asleep either side of me on the sofa.

Missy and Mabel wanted lots of fuss and reassurance. After exploring the house and finding their litter tray and food and water bowls, they settled down for a snooze.

I can’t thank you enough for looking after our precious pets on their long journey.”

And Pica and Trebol, who travelled with us from Madrid, were happily reunited with their owner Gonzalo.

Missy enjoying the view from the window

Missy enjoying the view from the window

Ben checking out a flower pot

Ben checking out a flower pot

Bob sniffing around a border in the garden

Bob sniffing around a border in the garden

Trebol eyeing up some snuggly looking fleeces

Trebol eyeing up some snuggly looking fleeces

Pica quickly chilled out in their new home

Pica quickly chilled out in their new home

Meet Pica, Trebol, Coquito, Arya, Misha and Pula from Spain, and Biscuit from France

In Madrid Animalccouriers collected cats Pica and Trebol. Their very organised grandpapa had them ready in their boxes, bag packed and waiting in the security office by the entrance gate to his home. The cats are off to join their owner Gonzalo in the UK.

Just 10 minutes further away we met Coquito, a very sweet mixed breed dog. He’s off to join his owner Laura in the UK. Grandmama is obviously worried about the colder British climate, so saw him off in his winter outfit.

We spent the night in the Alhama de Aragon region, where the town is dominated by a monastery and thermal springs. People were bathing late into the night in the warm spring water. Our hotel was very busy — it was the Saturday night of a bank holiday weekend — so we were lucky to get in. ‎ When they saw the size of our van the kind staff opened the back entrance so we could park at the back of the garden. We were securely locked in and had a river bed to walk our doggy passengers in.

Yesterday we headed to El Vendrell to meet Nuria and her cats. Arya and Misha. They are relocating to London, where Nuria’s husband has already arrived and has the new home ready. Nuria leaves on Wednesday.

In Barcelona we met Alex, a colleague from Traveldog, to collect Pula who is off to live in Tewksbury. This gorgeous girl was quick to show us her entry for the ‘longest tongue’ competition!

We spent the night in Narbonne, where pretty tabby cat Biscuit from the Nice area was waiting for us. This little rescue cat belongs to Kate, who’s returning to the UK to work — and naturally Biscuit is going too.

Pica and Trebol with their grandpapa

Pica and Trebol with their grandpapa

A closer look at lovely black-and-white Pica…

A closer look at lovely black-and-white Pica…

…and beautiful tabby Trebol

…and beautiful tabby Trebol

Little Coquito, all kitted out for the British climate

Little Coquito, all kitted out for the British climate

A view of Alhama de Aragon many years ago — the river is now a river bed, and is where we walked the dogs

A view of Alhama de Aragon many years ago — the river is now a river bed, and is where we walked the dogs

Nuria saying goodbye to her cats Arya and Misha

Nuria saying goodbye to her cats Arya and Misha

Gorgeous wide-eyed Arya

Gorgeous wide-eyed Arya

Pretty tabby-and-white Misha

Pretty tabby-and-white Misha

Alex from Traveldog with Pula

Alex from Traveldog with Pula

A statue of a castell — a human tower. Teams compete to build them at festivals in Catalonia. The small person at the top holds up four fingers of one hand to symbolise the Catalan flag. In 2010 UNESCO declared castells to be among the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity‎.

A statue of a castell — a human tower. Teams compete to build them at festivals in Catalonia. The small person at the top holds up four fingers of one hand to symbolise the Catalan flag. In 2010 UNESCO declared castells to be among the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity‎.

Pula looking a bit fed up at first — but she soon settled in to the journey

Pula looking a bit fed up at first — but she soon settled in to the journey

Pretty little Biscuit looks good enough to eat!

Pretty little Biscuit looks good enough to eat!

Coquito's smart jumper is hand made. Love the skull and crossbones motif!

Coquito’s smart jumper is hand made. Love the skull and crossbones motif!

Mia Bluebell takes it easy in her cosy bed

Mia Bluebell takes it easy in her cosy bed

Pica exploring while Trebol takes it easy

Pica exploring while Trebol takes it easy

Alana is ready for anything

Alana is ready for anything

Ben enjoys his morning walk

Ben enjoys his morning walk

Bob loves feeling the spring sunshine on his nose

Bob loves feeling the spring sunshine on his nose

Alfie sits like a good boy

Alfie sits like a good boy

Pula shows us her wonderful ears

Pula shows us her wonderful ears

Bobby and Chaudi make for the same interesting sniff

Bobby and Chaudi make for the same interesting sniff

Bobby shows us his fine profile

Bobby shows us his fine profile

Boarding the bus in Spain: Bobby, Chaudi, Alana, Bob, Ben, Mabel and Missy; and we celebrate a birthday with Oscar

We crossed the border from Portugal to Spain where our first stop was Manilva to collect a lovely pair of dogs, Bobby and Chaudi. These two firm friends belong to Bob and Caroline, who’ve moved to Carmarthen in Wales, and now the dogs are off to join them.

At a shelter in Granada we collected pretty Alana, a young blind cat who’s lucky enough to be joining Ann and Trevor’s amazing household  in Ireland.

We met Dave in Nerja, whose wife Christine has already travelled back to England. Dave has been holding the fort, and looking after the family’s two cats and two dogs until we could collect them. Also in Nerja we were fortunate to catch up with Chocolate Lab Oscar, who travelled with us as a pup four years ago from his breeder in France. Oscar invited us to stay the night, and enjoyed watching all the comings and goings around our van, offering words of advice whenever he felt they were needed.

Bobby and Chaudi get a proper send-off from Louise, who's been taking care of them

Bobby and Chaudi get a proper send-off from Louise, who’s been taking care of them

Alana was quick to chill out and make herself at home

Alana was quick to chill out and make herself at home

ave with Bob (front) and Ben (behind)

Dave with Bob (front) and Ben (behind)

Fearless Missy is quick to settle in

Fearless Missy is quick to settle in

Mabel is a little shyer

Mabel is a little shyer

Making sure everyone's safely on board

Making sure everyone’s safely on board

This is the view Dave and Christine are leaving behind

This is the view Dave and Christine are leaving behind

Pretty puss Mia Bluebell has snuggled into the journey

Pretty puss Mia Bluebell has snuggled into the journey

Gorgeous Fluffy, looking very supreme and expecting a fuss

Gorgeous Fluffy, looking very supreme and expecting a fuss

Poinsettias make a striking border plant

Poinsettias make a striking border plant

Oscar with John and Margaret

Oscar with John and Margaret

Oscar loves being out in the fresh air

Oscar loves being out in the fresh air

Courier J celebrates her birthday with a chocolate surprise, courtesy of Oscar the Chocolate Labrador

Courier J celebrates her birthday with a chocolate surprise, courtesy of Oscar the Chocolate Labrador

And many apologies for the poor delivery of this blog post ;-)

Portuguese reunions for Faith, Borat, Ruas and Yuna; and Fluffy, Alfie and Mia Bluebell join our trip

The first stop for Animalcouriers on reaching Portugal was to collect Fluffy the cat, who’s leaving Porto to join her owner Bruna in London. Fluffy has been in the tender care of her owner’s mama since Bruna left. Having already said goodbye to her youngest child and only daughter, mama was naturally very sad to be saying goodbye to Fluffy, too.

Then it was on to Aveiro to meet Sara at the Policlinica Veterinaria da Aveiro. Sara’s been looking after Alfie, who came to the clinic as a stray puppy. Luisa in England has been following his progress and decided to adopt him. Alfie’s been waiting a while to travel, as the clinic had to go through the lengthy process of organising a TRACES certificate for Alfie, Now, with everything in order, this handsome fellow is on his way to a very excited Luisa.

We then motored on to Entroncamento to collect pretty little Mia Bluebell. She’s off to join her owner Vera, who’s moved to London for work. Vera’s mum and grandmama were on hand to give Mia Bluebell a proper send-off.

At Lisbon airport we found a very excited Jorge, who was delighted to be reunited with his lovely dog Faith. And finally, mini Dachshund Borat, along with cats Ruas and Yuna, were reunited with Ines and Lina.

Bruna's brother Vitor was on hand to oversee Fluffy's departure

Bruna’s brother Vitor was on hand to oversee Fluffy’s departure

Fluffy was somewhat fed up at being roused from her afternoon nap!

Fluffy was somewhat fed up at being roused from her afternoon nap!

Very sad mama waving goodbye to Fluffy, who's so beautiful we can see why she'll be missed

Very sad mama waving goodbye to Fluffy, who’s so beautiful we can see why she’ll be missed

Alfie with Sara, who's been looking after him

Alfie with Sara, who’s been looking after him

Mia Bluebell with Vera's mum and grandma

Mia Bluebell with Vera’s mum and grandma

A very lively reunion for Jorge and Faith

A very lively reunion for Jorge and Faith

Smiles all round for Borat and Lina. Sorry Borat, you won't win the longest tongue competition with that effort!

Smiles all round for Borat and Lina. Sorry Borat, you won’t win the longest tongue competition with that effort!

Ruas and Yuna with Ines and Lina

Ruas and Yuna with Ines and Lina