A family of 22 cats and two birds relocate from France to the UK

Animalcouriers travelled to the Lauzun area in the Lot-et-Garonne to make a very special collection: Mal and Mike’s 22 cats, one Rosy Lovebird and one Cockatiel.

Mal and Mike are relocating to Lincolnshire after living and in France for many years, where they ran a gîte business. They’ve loved every minute of it, but now it’s time to go back to the UK, where family draws them. They’ll miss their lovely local friends, though, several of whom stepped in to help today.

The cats have joined the household over the years, and now that it’s time to leave, not a single one is being left behind.

With so many pets travelling, we couldn’t afford any mistakes or issues with their paperwork. So preparations began several months ago when our good friend Dr Diana James, a British vet in France, did a home visit to meet the cats, microchip them, give them their rabies vaccinations, and organise their passports.

As it’s a big group of pets, we have a Traces certificate for them. Following a health check on Monday, Mal took all the paperwork to the departmental office in Agen, where the certificate was issued.

Given the difficult situation in Calais at the moment, we don’t want to risk getting caught up and delayed. So we’ve chosen to drive to St Malo and take the Condor crossing to Jersey, and from there take the ferry to Poole. The other advantage is that we will be met by the Jersey government vet who will clear the cats for entry into the UK. (This is a Traces requirement.) That will mean there’s no need for a house visit when they reach the mainland.

The cats all have wonderful names. To help us keep track of who's who, Mal sat up all night preparing beautiful hand-made labels for each cat, with photos and a special little notes about each one.

The cats all have wonderful names. To help us keep track of who’s who, Mal sat up all night preparing beautiful hand-made labels for each cat, with photos and a special little notes about each one.

More splendid labels

More splendid labels

Mal and Carina bring us Mozart and Beethoven

Mal and Carina bring us Mozart and Beethoven

Mozart

Mozart

Beethoven

Beethoven

Henry VIII

Henry VIII

Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I

Suzzie

Suzzie

Brandy

Brandy

Soda

Soda

Fleur

Fleur

Donny

Donny

Buster

Buster

Trumpet

Trumpet

Ginger

Ginger

Lou Lou

Lou Lou

Tia Maria

Tia Maria

Muffy and Twizzle

Muffy and Twizzle

Aka

Aka

Elton John

Elton John

Foxy

Foxy

Mischief and Henrietta

Mischief and Henrietta

Jezabelle

Jezabelle

Vanessa with the two birds

Vanessa with the two birds

A very special jug to fill the birds' water bowls!

A very special jug to fill the birds’ water bowls!

Fred the Cockatiel

Fred the Cockatiel

Mal saying goodbye to Rosy Lovebird

Mal saying goodbye to Rosy Lovebird

Everyone settled in for the journey

Everyone settled in for the journey

It took a good couple of hours to get everyone on board. Meet the top team — L to R: Vanessa, who put us up last night, Mal, and Carina. It was a very emotional time for Mal, who is already missing them all and worrying about them.

It took a good couple of hours to get everyone on board. Meet the top team — L to R: Vanessa, who put us up last night, Mal, and Carina. It was a very emotional time for Mal, who is already missing them all and worrying about them.

Luka, Echo and North from France join our trip; and the first reunions take place in the UK

As Animalcouriers headed through France towards the UK, we stopped off to collect our final passengers. Gorgeous puss Luka is travelling from Cagnes sur Mer in Provence to Wolverhampton, where he’ll rejoin his owner who’s flown on ahead.

And near Lyon we met Laurent, who breeds beautiful Siberian Huskies. We collected two puppies from him, Echo and North, who are on their way to their owner Matthew in the north of England.

Lovely Luka

Lovely Luka

Husky pups Echo and North

Husky pups Echo and North

Neither Husky pup has ever been on a lead before…

Neither Husky pup has ever been on a lead before…

…must…get…rid…of…this…thing!

…must…get…rid…of…this…thing!

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Handsome Corby from Crete

Tasha, Corby's companion, with courier Mike

Tasha, Corby’s companion, with courier Mike

Ringo looking like a traffic cop — turn left please!

Ringo looking like a traffic cop — turn left please!

Rex standing tall

Rex standing tall

Alfie and Scruff became great mates on the trip. Alfie is only four months old and we think he really appreciated having Scruff as a chum.

Alfie and Scruff became great mates on the trip. Alfie is only four months old and we think he really appreciated having Scruff as a chum.

Pretty Zouzou waiting her turn for a walk

Pretty Zouzou waiting her turn for a walk

Despite her deafness, Boo is an incredibly responsive dog

Despite her deafness, Boo is an incredibly responsive dog

At 15 years old, Diego is the senior member of our passenger list — but still going strong!

At 15 years old, Diego is the senior member of our passenger list — but still going strong!

Aris, keen we should catch his best side!

Aris, keen we should catch his best side!

And once we were back in the UK, the reunions began almost immediately. First up were Aris and Ioannis, and Zouzou and Maria.

Ioannis (John) with Aris — both were so pleased to see each other again

Ioannis (John) with Aris — both were so pleased to see each other again

A delighted Maria and Zouzou — they hadn't seen each other since May

A delighted Maria and Zouzou — they hadn’t seen each other since May

We leave the UK with three cats; and start our trip back from Greece with 11 dogs, 11 cats, a Macaw and a Chinchilla on board

Couriers M and Mike recently set off on what will be our biggest-ever trip from Greece back to the UK. Luckily we have two vans, each with air conditioning, electrical airflow and comfy compartments for all the pets travelling with us.

A few pets travelled out with us from the UK. Gorgeous Gaia and Lulu, a pair of cats who are almost impossible to tell apart, are moving with Eric to Italy. We dropped them at a cattery in Verona for Eric to collect on his arrival.

Gaia gives us a wink

Gaia gives us a wink

Lulu has a fine 'milk moustache'

Lulu has a fine ‘milk moustache’

Black-and white cat Gizmo is relocating to Skiathos, the island where ‘Mamma Mia’ was shot. Because owner Diana and family won’t get there until after we’ve dropped off Gizmo, we managed to find a very hospitable vet in Volos on the Greek mainland to look after Gizmo. As soon as Diana reaches Greece, she’ll hop onto the Seacat to fetch Gizmo. She told us she’d never had a night apart from Gizmo, so we can only imagine how much they are missing each other.

Wide-eyed Gizmo

Wide-eyed Gizmo

Courier J flew to Athens to join us for the journey back to the UK. The first passenger to get on board in Greece was Tardu, a 16-year-old blue-and-gold macaw. This colourful bird belonged to Chryssa’s dad, who sadly passed away recently. Unfortunately, Chryssa can’t take Tardu on herself, but has found a wonderful new home for her dad’s beloved companion with Nikos and Linda in Scotland. Animalcouriers already know Nikos and Linda, as we’ve transported a number of dogs they’ve adopted from the Filozoikos Shelter in Athens. Such a small world!

We hear that Tardu, who is missing a wing, is more like a dog than a parrot, and likes to walk around on the floor. He settled into his travel compartment very quickly and started preening — a good sign that he is relaxed and happy. We’ve made him a playground with all his toys, his steps to climb up and down, and a cat carrier to perch on and watch all the comings and goings.

Tardu was driven to our hotel to meet us. We reckon he probably did a spot of back-seat driving!

Tardu was driven to our hotel to meet us. We reckon he probably did a spot of back-seat driving!

Tardu making the move from car to van

Tardu making the move from car to van

Tardu settles in nicely

Tardu settles in nicely

Tardu enjoying a piece of breakfast banana

Tardu enjoying a piece of breakfast banana

Phil and Vivian have been living on the island of Samos for the past eight years, where they were volunteers for Greek Cat Rescue and also cared for a number of cats around their home. They’re now on their way back to the West Country, and are taking five cats with them — Bumper, Captain Flint, Jalfraizi, Oscar and Jacob.

Handsome ginger tabby Jalfraizi. He's been very unwell and everyone was concerned about him, but the good news is that he's fit to travel. He has a compartment to himself and antibiotics to keep him going.

Handsome ginger tabby Jalfraizi. He’s been very unwell and everyone was concerned about him, but the good news is that he’s fit to travel. He has a compartment to himself and antibiotics to keep him going.

Captain Flint — so called because he likes to sit on your shoulder like a parrot

Captain Flint — so called because he likes to sit on your shoulder like a parrot

A winsome look from Oscar

A winsome look from Oscar

Although Bumper has only one eye, he doesn't miss a trick

Although Bumper has only one eye, he doesn’t miss a trick

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Phil and Vivian and their cats arrived with Akis in his pet taxi — a great service for people and their pets. We saw Akis again the next day with Petra, Scruff and Alfie.

Akis arrives in his pet taxi with Scruff, Petra and Alfie

Akis arrives in his pet taxi with Scruff, Petra and Alfie

When Kat from Birmingham went on holiday to Lesvos, she was adopted by a tortoiseshell cat called Petra. Kat decided to take Petra to the UK, so Rebecca of Lesvos Dog and Cat Adoptions helped out. Petra was initially fostered by one of the group’s volunteers, then Deb (owner of Scruff) offered to take Petra under her wing. Petra and Scruff were then looked after by Christine for about a week, as Deb had to return to the UK.

Gorgeous Petra — such a sweet and calm little girl

Gorgeous Petra — such a sweet and calm little girl

Playful Scruff

Playful Scruff

Alfie belongs to Tom and Laura, who adopted him while on holiday in Lesvos. Once again, Rebecca of Lesvos Dog and Cat Adoptions helped out, collecting Alfie from his foster mum, sorting his passport, arranging a travel box and popping him onto a late-night flight. And Christine stepped in again, collecting him at Athens airport and putting him in Akis’s taxi with Scruff and Petra.

Alfie, when Tom and Laura first found him

Alfie, when Tom and Laura first found him

Alfie with Laura

Alfie with Laura

Tiffany, her husband and children have moved to the Manchester area, and now Lucky and Kitten are joining them. The children were devastated when they heard that the family couldn’t afford to fly the cats to England. But then they found our website and learned about the more affordable option of a road trip. So they got in touch and we agreed a price, and a very happy family is looking forward to welcoming their beloved pets to the UK.

Pretty Kitten and stunning jet-black Lucky

Pretty Kitten and stunning jet-black Lucky

When Lesley left Crete we transported two of her dogs for her to Northumberland. Now it’s time for the other two to follow on. At Piraeus Port we met Joe with Tasha and Corby, a very friendly pair of dogs.

Jo with Lesley's dogs, Tasha and Corby

Jo with Lesley’s dogs, Tasha and Corby

Labrador Aris arrived with an enormous grin on his face and a very waggy tail, willing to be friends with everyone. Ioannis (John) and his family have already relocated to the UK and are really missing Aris. Not long now til everyone’s back together.

The very friendly Aris

The very friendly Aris

Rex and Ringo, a pair of German Shepherd Dogs, are travelling with us to stay at a kennels in Calais for a little while. They’ll then hop on board when we pass by on our next trip to Portugal, towards the end of next month. The dogs were originally adopted from the Filozoikos Shelter, but when their owners moved to Portugal, they couldn’t afford to take the dogs immediately. So Filozoikos, being very responsible, stepped in and offered to look after the dogs until they could start their journey.

Martha, courier M, courier Mike and Kiki with Rex and Ringo

Martha, courier M, courier Mike and Kiki with Rex and Ringo

A closer look at handsome Rex…

A closer look at handsome Rex…

…and the equally handsome Ringo

…and the equally handsome Ringo

Lovely little Zouzou arrived looking a bit worried, so we spent a bit of time chatting and making a fuss of her, which helped to calm her down. Her owner Maria has already relocated to England and Zouzou, who’s been in the care of a relative, is the last member of the family to travel.

Super-cute Zouzou

Super-cute Zouzou

English Setter Boo belongs to George and Flora, who’ve relocated to Edinburgh from Athens. Now Boo, who has been staying with George’s parents in Athens, is off to join them. Boo is completely deaf, but apparently understands everything you say to her. Flora and George say they miss her very much, so it will be happy time when they are reunited.

Lovely Boo, who is on her way to Scotland

Lovely Boo, who is on her way to Scotland

Cordelia, an old friend of ours, brought us three cats whose owners have moved back from Athens to Ireland. Little Paw and Michael belong to Paula; and Dexter is owned by Linda. We’re expecting some Irish folk singing (or perhaps dancing) from this trio en route!

Cordelia (R) and friend bring us cats belonging to Paula and Linda

Cordelia (R) and friend bring us cats belonging to Paula and Linda

Snowy white Michael

Snowy white Michael

Tuxedo cat Little Paw

Tuxedo cat Little Paw

These two chums got settled in quickly

These two chums got settled in quickly

Diego is a Griffon cross whose owner Dora has moved to Tunbridge Wells. Diego has been staying with a relative and is now ready to travel to join her.

Another fluffy white dog — Diego

Another fluffy white dog — Diego

We met Angeliki and her son with Max the dog at Igoumenitsa. They had travelled from Corfu on the local ferry to catch us just as we were leaving Greece.

Angeliki and her son with Max

Angeliki and her son with Max

 

Max shows us his fine profile

Max shows us his fine profile

Chinchilla Ollie is one of our smallest and most frequent travellers — this is his third trip with us. Owner Napoleana has now had a baby so their family gets bigger. Nela the dog is flying with the family via Paris Charles De Gaulle, but that isn’t an option for Ollie, so he’s on the road with Animalcouriers.

Cute Chinchilla Ollie, who's quite familiar with the routine of our trips

Cute Chinchilla Ollie, who’s quite familiar with the routine of our trips

Here's a road sign you don't see every day!

Here’s a road sign you don’t see every day!

Man versus food — man (Courier Mike) won this time (well, he managed all the ribs, anyway!)

Man versus food — man (Courier Mike) won this time (well, he managed all the ribs, anyway!)

Reunions for Baxter, Rikki and Woody in England; and for Shelley, Bingo and Louis in Ireland

Animalcouriers has been busy reuniting some of our recent passengers from continental Europe with their owners in the UK.

Baxter was lucky enough to be adopted by Sam and Maddie when they were working near Carcassonne this summer. We delivered him to Sam’s mum Jane in Chester, where he’ll wait for Sam and Maddie to join him. Sam and Maddie are over the moon knowing that Baxter has reached the UK safely. Sam wrote to say:

“I just wanted to say a massive thank you. I can’t believe how helpful you have been and thoughtful to our situation. I cannot tell you how happy you have made us for helping us get Baxter back to England.”

Rikki was adopted by Sandy when she was on holiday in Portugal. Heather and Alan at Barking Mad Kennels looked after Rikki until she was well enough to travel to the UK. Sandy sent us some photos and a few words to let us know how well Rikki is settling in:

“Thank you so much for bringing Rikki back safely. She is incredible, so gentle and friendly, I cannot believe that she has only been with us a few hours, she is settling in so well. The other family dogs gave her such a lovely welcome. She has been playing with toys and tonight we have had a lovely walk. We are so fortunate to have such a lovely dog join our family.”

Baxter at his grandparents' home — here he is with Sam's mum Jane

Baxter at his grandparents’ home — here he is with Sam’s mum Jane

Rikki meeting her new family…

Rikki meeting her new family…

…human as well as canine

…human as well as canine

We love Rikki's ears!

We love Rikki’s ears!

Little Woody, adopted by Simon and his family while they were on holiday in France, is settling in well at the family home

Little Woody, adopted by Simon and his family while they were on holiday in France, is settling in well at the family home

Shelley, who travelled with us from the Portuguese Algarve, back with her family in Ballymena — the look of sheer delight on Shelley's face makes you believe a dog really can smile

Shelley, who travelled with us from the Portuguese Algarve, back with her family in Ballymena — the look of sheer delight on Shelley’s face makes you believe a dog really can smile

In Belfast, a very happy Jose with Bingo, who travelled with us from Spain

In Belfast, a very happy Jose with Bingo, who travelled with us from Spain

Louis, one of our frequent flyers, delivered to Lorna in Dublin, following his first road trip with us from Spain

Louis, one of our frequent flyers, delivered to Lorna in Dublin, following his first road trip with us from Spain

Beau and Bingo get on board in Spain; Jim, Baxter and Woody join us in France

Animalcouriers collected Beagle Beau from her owner Moe in Marbella. Beau and Moe have enjoyed a lovely summer holiday together, and now it’s time for both to return to the UK.

Our final collection in Spain was Bingo, a lively, friendly young German Shepherd Dog. This cooperative fellow dived into his compartment without a backward glance. He’s heading all the way to Belfast with Ariadne, who’s relocating for work.

We crossed into France and spent the night just outside Narbonne. This morning, Faith brought her handsome tuxedo cat, Jim, to join our trip. Jim is one of our most frequent flyers, and clearly knows the routine of an Animalcouriers trip really well now.

From Narbonne we headed towards Carcassonne to meet Baxter. A poorly stray, Baxter was due to be put to sleep, but fortunately Sam and Maddie stepped in to adopt him. They spent the summer gardening and looking after gites in a small hamlet near Carcassonne and were in the right place at the right time to rescue Baxter. Now they’re heading back to Chester and Baxter’s going too.

Woody from the Tarn is another holiday romance. He walked in the back door of the gite where Simon and his family were on holiday. The children played with him and fed him and within a day, Simon was in touch with us to make arrangements to take Woody back with them to the UK. Woody will stay at a cattery in Calais until his passport is ready for him to cross the Channel.

You won’t hear much from us over the next fortnight as our blog team will be away. Look out for more Animalcouriers travel stories later in the month!

Beau is a very pretty Beagle indeed

Beau is a very pretty Beagle indeed

Bingo with Ariadne

Bingo with Ariadne

Bingo enjoys a riverside walk

Bingo enjoys a canalside walk

Gentlemen Jim settles in to his regular compartment

Gentlemen Jim settles in to his regular compartment

Shy Eva emerges to say hello

Shy Eva emerges to say hello

Rikki sniffs something interesting on the air

Rikki sniffs something interesting on the air

Molly shows us her fine profile

Molly shows us her fine profile

Baxter with Maddie and Sam

Baxter with Maddie and Sam

Gill with Woody — she has a small cattery close to Varens at Milhars and has been looking after Woody since Simon and his family went back to the UK

Gill with Woody — she has a small cattery close to Varens at Milhars and has been looking after Woody since Simon and his family went back to the UK

Super cute Woody

Super cute Woody

Zigg, Rikki, Shelley and Louis join our trip; and we enjoy an authentic Portuguese dining experience with old friends

In Faro Animalcouriers met up with Nuno and his dog Zigg. Nuno’s girlfriend has already moved to London, and now it’s Zigg’s turn to make the journey. Nuno will follow on soon. Both Nuno and his girlfriend are moving for work.

We were pleased to have the chance to call in on Heather and Alan, old friends of ours who run Barking Mad Kennels near Lagos. They’ve been looking after Rikki, a holiday romance for Sandy. Sandy found stray Rikki while on holiday in the area — she’d been injured in an accident. Sandy decided to adopt Rikki, and asked Heather and Alan to look after her until she was well enough to travel, and her passport was ready.

We enjoyed a real treat that evening, when we joined Heather and Alan for a meal at a little local bar-restaurant — not at all the sort of place you’d usually stumble on as a tourist. It was in the delightfully unspoilt village of Barao, which has become a popular haunt for a community of arty folk. As a result, various murals, statues and other artworks have popped up around the village. The restaurant served an inexpensive, delicious meal which included fishy starters and a main course of wild boar and beans, rather like a cassoulet. The experience gave us an interesting insight into Portuguese village life.

While in the Algarve we collected Yellow Lab Shelley, who belongs to Louise and her daughter Rebecca. Originally from Belfast, they’re now leaving the Algarve, as Rebecca has a place at Loughborough university to study sport. Rebecca is very excited about going back to the UK. Shelley being a Labrador is calmly taking it all in her stride.

We then crossed the border into Spain, where we hooked up with Lorna at the La Canada shopping centre in Marbella. Her Poodle Louis is a frequent Animalcouriers traveller, but usually goes by air. This is his first road trip with us. So far, he seems to be enjoying it.

Zigg in the arms of Nuno

Zigg in the arms of Nuno

Zigg looks out from his bedroom

Zigg looks out from his bedroom

Zigg is a lively fellow, who likes to think he's in charge of everything that goes on in the dog area of our van!

Zigg is a lively fellow, who likes to think he’s in charge of everything that goes on in the dog area of our van!

He's also a very affectionate hound who loves a cuddle

He’s also a very affectionate hound who loves a cuddle

 Heather from Barking Mad Kennels with her dog Pixie. Heather rescued Pixie after an accident, had her patched up, and decided to keep her. Then last year Pixie ate one (or more) of those terrible caterpillars and nearly died. She spent three days on a drip with a swollen tongue, but fortunately recovered and is once more in perfect health.

Heather from Barking Mad Kennels with her dog Pixie. Heather rescued Pixie after an accident, had her patched up, and decided to keep her. Then last year Pixie ate one (or more) of those terrible caterpillars and nearly died. She spent three days on a drip with a swollen tongue, but fortunately recovered and is once more in perfect health.

Heather with our passenger Molly, who belongs to Fran

Heather with our passenger Molly, who belongs to Fran

Heather and Alan with Rikki, who's had the good fortune to be adopted by Sandy in the UK

Heather and Alan with Rikki, who’s had the good fortune to be adopted by Sandy in the UK

Rikki walks beautifully on the lead

Rikki walks beautifully on the lead

We stayed at a very nice guesthouse in Barao, Lagos, called Monte Rosa. We enjoyed watching the resident hens enjoying their breakfast, not long after we'd enjoyed our own breakfast of fresh eggs.

We stayed at a very nice guesthouse in Barao, Lagos, called Monte Rosa. We enjoyed watching the resident hens enjoying their breakfast, not long after we’d enjoyed our own breakfast of fresh eggs.

The doorway to the little restaurant in Barao where we enjoyed a wonderful dinner

The doorway to the little restaurant in Barao where we enjoyed a wonderful dinner

One of the murals in Barao — a bit whimsical maybe but does give a sense of the overall feel of the place

One of the murals in Barao — a bit whimsical maybe but does give a sense of the overall feel of the place

Out on the tiles! Another interesting artwork in Barao! Perhaps the sculptor intended it as a warning to cat owners to have their pets neutered! If so, it hasn't worked, judging by the number of cats we saw in the village.

Out on the tiles! Another interesting artwork in Barao! Perhaps the sculptor intended it as a warning to cat owners to have their pets neutered! If so, it hasn’t worked, judging by the number of cats we saw in the village.

Louise and Rebecca with their lovely Lab Shelley

Louise and Rebecca with their lovely Lab Shelley

The mark on Shelley's back is a tick wound. Many people don't realise how serious these can be for dogs, so it's a good job her owners realised what had happened. Shelley's on antibiotics, supplemented by cream. Being a Lab, it's not affecting her appetite at all!

The mark on Shelley’s back is a tick wound. Many people don’t realise how serious these can be for dogs, so it’s a good job her owners realised what had happened. Shelley’s on antibiotics, supplemented by cream. Being a Lab, it’s not affecting her appetite at all!

Evidence of our final egg custard tart opportunity before leaving Portugal

Evidence of our final egg custard tart opportunity before leaving Portugal

Louis gets a goodbye hug from Lorna

Louis gets a goodbye hug from Lorna

Gentle Louis enjoying his morning walk

Gentle Louis enjoying his morning walk

Reunions for Xania, Gigi, Toffee and Coby when we reach the UK

Kayleigh and her Dad called in at our Surrey base to collect Eurasier puppy Xania, having had a wonderful day at a major dog show in Bournemouth at the weekend. Xania is their 8th dog — it’s very exciting for them that they’re doing so well with their chosen breed.

Kayleigh and her Dad collecting Xania

Kayleigh and her Dad collecting Xania

Xania in Kayleigh's arms

Xania in Kayleigh’s arms

Xania's half-siblings Molly (an Italian champion)…

Xania’s half-siblings Molly (an Italian champion)…

…and Ozzie. Both dogs have already qualified for Crufts 2016.

…and Ozzie. Both dogs have already qualified for Crufts 2016.

Will and Elli called for Gigi, a kitten Will met while out jogging in the Lot region of France. They were so excited they rushed down from London as soon as we let them know we were back.

Will and Elli called for Gigi, a kitten Will met while out jogging in the Lot region of France. They were so excited they rushed down from London as soon as we let them know we were back.

Late at night on his way home from golf, Jack called for young pup Toffee, adopted from Portugal. Jack had never met Toffee before, but was very taken with him, as you can see.

Late at night on his way home from golf, Jack called for young pup Toffee, adopted from Portugal. Jack had never met Toffee before, but was very taken with him, as you can see.

Pedro and Leo are delighted that guinea pig Coby is home. Pedro texted to thank us for the caring service. We were chuffed at that, and have to say Coby was no trouble at all! 

Pedro and Leo are delighted that guinea pig Coby is home. Pedro texted to thank us for the caring service. We were chuffed at that, and have to say Coby was no trouble at all!

Our final passengers get on board: Roussie, Puddles, Gigi and Jack, as we head towards the UK

While we continued driving north through Spain, a colleague in Narbonne collected tabby-and-white cat Roussie from Alice in the Orange area. Named after the town of Roussillon, this little cutie was found by Alice in the street, and immediately won Alice’s heart. Now she’s off to join Alice in the UK.

We met Delyth and cat Puddles, who’s been living in the garden of the family’s summer home near Auch. Now Delyth has decided it’s time to give Puddles, who’s around seven years old, the home she deserves, so she’s off to join the family in Beaconsfield.

In Moissac we were pleased to catch up with an old friend of Animalcouriers, vet Dr Diana James. Diana handed over lovely cat Gigi and delightful Jack Russell Terrier Jack. Gigi belongs to Will, who was out jogging in the Lot when he came across a kitten by the side of the road. She chased him and fell in step with him, keeping pace for about a kilometre, at which point Will’s heart melted and he decided to adopt her.

Diana and her son Joshua collected Jack from Tarbes, at the foot of the Pyrenees. He’s en route for Adelaide in Australia via the UK. While homeboarding with Diana, he started the round of treatments necessary for dogs entering Australia. Diana says he’s been great company!

At Calais we stopped off at other friends of ours, the Landrons, who run a kennels and cattery, where Roussie and Puddles will both stay for a few weeks until their passports are ready for them to enter the UK. We’ll be back in September to collect them.

Roussie during her brief stay in Narbonne

Roussie during her brief stay in Narbonne

Roussie on her way to Calais with us

Roussie on her way to Calais with us

Delyth with Puddles

Delyth with Puddles

Pretty Puddles settles in for the journey

Pretty Puddles settles in for the journey

Gorgeous Gigi gets on board

Gorgeous Gigi gets on board

Vet Diana James with Jack

Vet Diana James with Jack

Jack makes himself right at home in his compartment

Jack makes himself right at home in his compartment

Eurasier Xania enjoys an evening walk

Eurasier Xania enjoys an evening walk

Husky Swarsky poses in front of a newly planted field

Husky Swarsky poses in front of a newly planted field

Lexi is such a well behaved girl…

Lexi is such a well behaved girl…

…although a rabbit hole is hard to resist!

…although a rabbit hole is hard to resist!

Jack watching Lexi, eager to show her how rabbit holes should be dealt with

Jack watching Lexi, eager to show her how rabbit holes should be dealt with

Puddles settles in at her temporary Calais home, Roussie is just next door, so they'll be able to chat about their journeys so far.

Puddles settles in at her temporary Calais home, Roussie is just next door, so they’ll be able to chat about their journeys so far.

 

Swarsky, Berty, Xania, Jet, Briguita, Toffee and Coby join our UK-bound trip; but we leave donkeys and dinosaurs behind

As we start our journey north from Portugal, we collect more pets who are heading to the UK.

Manu, a friend of Animalcouriers, drove Jack and his sister and their Husky Swarsky from Gibraltar to meet up with us in Seville. Swarsky will homeboard with Animalcouriers for a week, before travelling to Lancashire to catch up with Jack once he gets back to the UK.

Next to get on board was Toffee, one of a litter of pups found in the Portuguese campo near the Spanish border. Antonio and his mum reared them, and now Toffee has been adopted by their friends Mary and her husband. Toffee started off unsure about what to do when a lead was put on him, but just 24 hours later was walking on a lead as though he’d always done it. Everything was very sedate until he came upon a rugged patch of campo-like terrain, when he started rolling around and sniffing everything in reach — as if to say, this is where I belong!

Despite our vans being air-conditioned, the high temperatures at this time of year mean we try to avoid too many detours on our trips. So, to enable four pets from Madrid to join our trip, we arranged for a well known local pet transport company, Automascotas, to bring them to us. We booked ourselves in at the Casa Rural El Arrullo in San Juan de Requena, Valencia — which is listed on booking.com as ‘superb’ with a rating of 9.2 out of 10 — and waited for Xavier to arrive.

It turned out to be a great place to stop. Apart from the warm welcome from our hosts, we were greeted by a number of local residents who popped over for a chat, all of us speaking rather broken Spanish and English! It felt like we’d landed in the middle of traditional Spanish hospitality. Everyone was fascinated by the customised Animalcouriers and Automascotas vans, and intrigued to watch us walking dogs on leads, as in much of Spain dogs simply run free in the campo.

The four pets who travelled with Xavier from Madrid were Berty, Jet, Xania and Briguita. Liz from AAH Vets in Madrid asked us to transport Berty for one of her clients, and Berty has been staying with her in the meantime. This fun-loving hound is on his way to Leicester.

Sharron asked us to transport her handsome cat Jet, whom she rescued in the Dolores area, to the UK. Liz at AAH has been looking after him since Sharron left Spain. Jet has a number of health issues and has come with his own medication. He’s very lucky that Sharron rescued him as he wouldn’t have survived living in the wild. Sharron and Jet’s ultimate destination is Australia.

Gorgeous Eurasier puppy Xania, bred by Antonio, is the half-sister of two other Eurasiers, Molly and Ozzie, already owned by Kayleigh. At a show in Italy, Molly was crowned champion, and both dogs have qualified for Crufts 2016. Xania looks set to follow in their footsteps.

Lovely Briguita belongs to Rita and Ricardo, and is their two-year-old son’s favourite playmate. The family is relocating to London where Ricardo ha a new job. They’re very excited about being reunited with her at their new home.

Today we met Pedro and his guinea pig Coby. Pedro and his wife, Leo, think the world of her. She came armed with a bag of food, including her favourite green and red sweet peppers, and many other accessories that only a travelling guinea pig will understand. Coby and Pedro are joining Leo in Cambridge where she has started a new job.

Handsome Husky Swarsky with Manu (L), Jack (R) and Jack's sister in the middle

Handsome Husky Swarsky with Manu (L), Jack (R) and Jack’s sister in the middle

Toffee — good enough to eat!

Toffee — good enough to eat!

Hanging out at the Casa Rural El Arrullo

Hanging out at the Casa Rural El Arrullo

A crowd of friendly but curious onlookers, interested to watch us cleaning out, walking and feeding our charges

A crowd of friendly but curious onlookers, interested to watch us cleaning out, walking and feeding our charges

Xavier with Berty (L) and Xania (R)

Xavier with Berty (L) and Xania (R)

If we could harness Berty's energy we could use it to run all of our van's aircon and electric ventilation!

If we could harness Berty’s energy we could use it to run all of our van’s aircon and electric ventilation!

Gorgeous jet-black Jet

Gorgeous jet-black Jet

Very pretty tabby Briguita

Very pretty tabby Briguita

Pedro with his beloved guinea pig Coby

Pedro with his beloved guinea pig Coby

We can see why Pedro and Leo love her so much — she's very cute indeed

We can see why Pedro and Leo love her so much — she’s very cute indeed

Can you spot Diesel? Sometimes cats just don't want to play —or even say hello!

Can you spot Diesel? Sometimes cats just don’t want to play —or even say hello!

Diesel finally shows her beautiful self to us

Diesel finally shows her beautiful self to us

Poor Humberto was very bemused by Miuxa's behaviour — she's normally very friendly, he told us. We did notice he was sporting a plaster on one finger, though…

Poor Humberto was very bemused by Miuxa’s behaviour — she’s normally very friendly, he told us. We did notice he was sporting a plaster on one finger, though…

Carriça, on the other hand, is very relaxed and enjoys her snuggly catnaps

Carriça, on the other hand, is very relaxed and enjoys her snuggly catnaps

We love Carriça's markings. She's very alert and keeps a close eye on everything we do.

We love Carriça’s markings. She’s very alert and keeps a close eye on everything we do.

ET is very amusing and full of antics. Like Carriça, she watches us closely and wants petting and cuddling all the time!

ET is very amusing and full of antics. Like Carriça, she watches us closely and wants petting and cuddling all the time!

Miuxa is finally settling down and starting to trust us. We persuaded her to eat some supper last night, and watched while she grumbled her way through one of our poshest tins of cat food. She pretended to ignore us throughout the whole operation!

Miuxa is finally settling down and starting to trust us. We persuaded her to eat some supper last night, and watched while she grumbled her way through one of our poshest tins of cat food. She pretended to ignore us throughout the whole operation!

Lexi showing us her perfect 'sit' skills

Lexi showing us her perfect ‘sit’ skills

View from the office window yesterday — Portugal to the left, Spain to the right

View from the office window yesterday — Portugal to the left, Spain to the right

Fortunately, we didn't have to fit this donkey in…

Fortunately, we didn’t have to fit this donkey in…

…nor his musician chum

…nor his musician chum

We spotted dinos galore at Dos Hermanos when collecting Swarsky. Everyone loves a dinosaur, especially courier J's three-year-old grandson, who's just graduated to a two-wheeled bike, and courier M's 23 year old daughter who's just graduated as a teacher‎. So, all you dino-fans out there, which one is this?

We spotted dinos galore at Dos Hermanos when collecting Swarsky. Everyone loves a dinosaur, especially courier J’s three-year-old grandson, who’s just graduated to a two-wheeled bike, and courier M’s 23 year old daughter who’s just graduated as a teacher‎. So, all you dino-fans out there, which one is this?

And this one — a Tyrannosaurus Rex maybe?

And this one — a Tyrannosaurus Rex maybe?

Pretty sure this one's a Pterodactyl

Pretty sure this one’s a Pterodactyl

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