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

Rapturous reunions for Aragon, Cigrunet, Bonnie and Charlie; and tasty treats in Spain

It was rather wet and snowy when Animalcouriers met up with Céline in the French town of Pontarlier, near the border with Switzerland, to deliver young Savannah cat Aragon to her. Within about an hour, Céline was in touch to say Aragon was already walking on a lead and had been out and about, exploring his new surroundings!

We then headed on south and spent the night just outside Narbonne. The next day, we continued into Spain, where our first stop was near Tarragona to reunite cute rabbit Cigrunet with Miriam, who was very pleased to see him.

Then it was on to Valencia to reunite beautiful silver tabby Bonnie with Sophie. Sophie has moved from Dorchester, having completed her training to teach English, and is very excited about entering this profession.

Our final delivery in Spain was lively Spaniel Charlie, whose owners have moved to a countryside idyll in Murcia. Charlie had stayed in kennels while Heather and her husband got their new home ready, and everyone was very pleased to be back together. Their new home is sandwiched between a goat farm, a pig farm and a turkey farm. There’s miles of lovely countryside for Charlie to run in — and no-one has far to go for goat’s cheese, milk, pork or a Christmas turkey! Heather wrote to say:

“Thank you for delivering Charlie safely to us, he seems really pleased to see us again, and loves the garden!”

Last night we stayed at the Parador in Ciudad Rodrigo, Salamanca — a secure hotel with good parking, panoramic views and quiet dog-walking areas, and one that offers good deals at this time of year. Today we’re continuing our journey into Portugal, where Borat, Yuna and Ruas, and Faith, will be reunited with their owners; and new passengers will board the bus.

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Very happy Céline with her handsome Aragon

 

Aragon out exploring his new surroundings

Aragon out exploring his new surroundings

Miriam delighted to have Cigrunet back in her arms

Miriam delighted to have Cigrunet back in her arms

A joyful reunion for Sophie and her cat Bonnie

A joyful reunion for Sophie and her cat Bonnie

A rapturous welcome home for Charlie from his owners

A rapturous welcome home for Charlie from his owners

Cuddles for Charlie from Heather

Cuddles for Charlie from Heather

Charlie all settled in on his favourite rug

Charlie all settled in on his favourite rug

Courier M enjoyed one of his favourite Spanish dishes at dinner last night — morcilla (a kind of black pudding)

Courier M enjoyed one of his favourite Spanish dishes at dinner last night — morcilla (a kind of black pudding)

Courier J preferred a different sort of pudding — 'chocolate in three textures'

Courier J preferred a different sort of pudding — ‘chocolate in three textures’

View over Ciudad Rodrigo from the parador parapet

View over Ciudad Rodrigo from the parador parapet

Borat seemed pretty taken with the outlook, too!

Borat seemed pretty taken with the outlook, too!

Faith too busy trying out for 'longest tongue' to admire the scenery

Faith too busy trying out for ‘longest tongue’ to admire the scenery

Lookout tower on the city wall — somewhere for a watchman to shelter. Little windows, so he could keep an eye out without losing one to an enemy arrow. And a hole in the floor — some kind of ancient sanitary fitting perhaps?

Lookout tower on the city wall — somewhere for a watchman to shelter. Little windows, so he could keep an eye out without losing one to an enemy arrow. And a hole in the floor — some kind of ancient sanitary fitting perhaps?

Courier M in a former life, perhaps?

Courier M in a former life, perhaps?

Orchids spotted on our morning walk

Orchids spotted on our morning walk

In for a closer look

In for a closer look

Fabulously bright spring colours

Fabulously bright spring colours

Charming daisy types

Charming daisy types

Almond trees in full blossom, despite the biting cold winds…

Almond trees in full blossom, despite the biting cold winds…

…and angry black-and-blue skies

…and angry black-and-blue skies

Leaving the UK with Borat, Yuna, Ruas, Bonnie, Aragon, Cigrunet, Faith and Charlie

Animalcouriers set off for mainland Europe yesterday, crossing with Eurotunnel. On board are a delightful bunch of passengers heading to Switzerland, Spain and Portugal.

Dog and cat family mini Dachshund Borat, with Yuna and Ruas, are travelling with us from Leicester to Lisbon in Portugal, where their owners Ines and Lina are relocating for work.

Beautiful silver tabby cat Bonnie is travelling with us from Dorchester to Valencia in Spain, where her family are going back to live.

Stunning four-month-old Savannah cat Aragon is off to live in Switzerland with Céline, who will meet us in France to take him home. His breeder Sarah tells us that Savannahs are hybrids like the Bengal but crossed to an African Serval. She describes Savannahs as “super intelligent, friendly and people oriented — can be trained to walk on a lead and play fetch. Also high energy!”

He’s such a handsome chap, we felt sure Sarah had found it hard to part with him. “He is the most loving and cuddly kitten I’ve ever known,” says Sarah, “but I know he will have a lovely home with Céline.”

We received a call from our friends Traveldog in Barcelona, Spain, to collect a rabbit called Cigrunet, as his owner Miriam was relocating at short notice from the UK to Barcelona. Cigrunet has been homeboarding with courier J since we collected him. He’s a cool dude with splendid rabbit ears!

Also on board is Faith, who’s heading to Lisbon. She’s been staying at kennels near Swanley and Jorge her owner is very much looking forward to seeing her again.

Our final passenger is Charlie, a completely mad Spaniel, whose owners have gone on ahead from Swaffham to Murcia in Spain. Charlie has been staying in kennels for a while so they are very much looking forward to being reunited.

We're looking forward to walking Borat, who seems like a lively, friendly chap

We’re looking forward to walking Borat, who seems like a lively, friendly chap

Gorgeous Yuna (behind) and Ruas (in front) settle down for the journey

Gorgeous Yuna (behind) and Ruas (in front) settle down for the journey

Bonnie looking beautiful but perhaps a bit cross about this travelling lark!

Bonnie looking beautiful but perhaps a bit cross about this travelling lark!

Sarah, breeder of handsome Aragon, sent us this photo of him with his equally handsome uncle

Sarah, breeder of handsome Aragon, sent us this photo of him with his equally handsome uncle

Cigrunet is a very chilled-out bunny

Cigrunet is a very chilled-out bunny

Big softie Faith loves people, playing and having fun

Big softie Faith loves people, playing and having fun

Courier M showing off his dog-handling skills with Charlie. But Charlie has ideas of his own…

Courier M showing off his dog-handling skills with Charlie. But Charlie has ideas of his own…

What Charlie loves best is a big tummy tickle

What Charlie loves best is a big tummy tickle

Meet Peabody, Fidel, Lady, Milou, Poppi, Philomena, Daisy, Robbie, Narla, Silva and Louis from Greece

Animalcouriers travelled from Italy to Greece and arrived to the unusual sight of snow in Patras. We drove on to Athens, where the first passenger to get on board was Champion Mini Bull Terrier Peabody. He’s off to England in time for Crufts, and we wish him lots of luck. John and Clare breed and show these lovely dogs.

Next up were Fidel and Lady, a lively pair of Spaniels who belong to Dimitri. He’s gone on ahead to England, leaving his dogs in the care of his parents, who brought them to us at the Palace Hotel.

Stavros brought us his cute dog Milou, as they and Anni are off to live and work in Scotland. Stavros’s sister Angeliki is already there — her dog Suzana travelled with us last October.

Cordelia and Anya came to our hotel with two gorgeous cats, Poppi and Philomena. Anya has been fostering them and was sad to see them go, but is pleased to think they have lovely new homes to go to. And finally, Marta and Kiki from the Filozoikos Shelter arrived with lovely black-and-white dog Daisy, who has a new home waiting for her in the UK.

From Athens we headed to Volos Port to meet Andrea and Tom, their dog Robbie and cat Narla. They’ve spent five wonderful years on Skiathos, but now the time has come to go back to the UK. Then it was off to Thessaloniki — an earlier accident on the motorway held us up, but we finally caught up with Ilias and his dog Silva, a cuddly brown and black terrier. There was just time for a quick hug before Ilias  had to dash off to catch his plane to Newcastle, where Afroditi is waiting for Ilias and Silva to join her.

The last passenger to board was Louis, a Boxer cross, who was lucky enough to be adopted by Tracy while she was living and working in Greece. Now on their way to the UK, Louis is travelling with us while Tracy takes the plane.

Patras in the snow

Patras in the snow

Goodbye hugs for Peabody from John's mum

Goodbye hugs for Peabody from John’s mum

Fidel and Lady get a great send-off

Fidel and Lady get a great send-off

Pretty Milou shows us her fine profile

Pretty Milou shows us her fine profile

Milou gets a big goodbye cuddle

Milou gets a big goodbye cuddle

Cordelia and Anya with Poppi and Philomena, the cats Anya has been fostering

Cordelia and Anya with Poppi and Philomena, the cats Anya has been fostering

Cordelia shared this lovely photo of Poppi (L) and Philomena (R) relaxing at Anya and Alesa's home

Cordelia shared this lovely photo of Poppi (L) and Philomena (R) relaxing at Anya and Alesa’s home

Martha with Daisy. Not sure which is more luminous — Martha's shoes or Daisy's collar!

Martha with Daisy. Not sure which is more luminous — Martha’s shoes or Daisy’s collar!

Lovely Daisy sports a signature Filozoikos hand-made collar

Lovely Daisy sports a signature Filozoikos hand-made collar

Kiki and Cordelia having a chat about TRACES

Kiki and Cordelia having a chat about TRACES

Tom trying to persuade Robbie to sit and smile for the camera

Tom trying to persuade Robbie to sit and smile for the camera

Success this time around!

Success this time around!

Narla watching the whole performance

Narla watching the whole performance

Narla calmly settled in for the journey

Narla calmly settled in for the journey

Ilias cuddling Silva

Ilias cuddling Silva

Tracy saying goodbye to Louis

Tracy saying goodbye to Louis

We left Greece from the port of Igoumenitsa, where we were cheered to be reminded of how the street dogs are tolerated — and even looked after — by the port authorities. Everyone had to step around this sleeping hound to get their tickets!

We left Greece from the port of Igoumenitsa, where we were cheered to be reminded of how the street dogs are tolerated — and even looked after — by the port authorities. Everyone had to step around this sleeping hound to get their tickets!

We arrived at the Italian port of Ancona and, when we stopped nearby to walk the dogs, the heavens opened! Milou jumped straight back into the van and into the driver's seat!

We arrived at the Italian port of Ancona and, when we stopped nearby to walk the dogs, the heavens opened! Milou jumped straight back into the van and into the driver’s seat!

Heading towards Genoa to try and avoid the snow in Italy, we felt quite peckish. Fortunately we had those lovely biscuits from Kiki and Marta to hand...

Heading towards Genoa to try and avoid the snow in Italy, we felt quite peckish. Fortunately we had those lovely biscuits from Kiki and Marta to hand…

Leaving Malta with a family of seven cats and three mice

After a night of worrying whether or not our boat would be able to sail from Malta to Sicily, we were relieved to reach the port and find that the container ship we were booked on was indeed scheduled to leave.

On board with us were seven cats and three mice belonging to Julie, who works for Defra, and Colin, who designs video games. The couple arrived in Malta last year from Grimsby with three cats and three mice. Black-and-white mouse Jasmine and silver mouse Pearl were destined to be snake food before Julie rescued them. Brown mouse Bud was a wild mouse rescued from the jaws of Meo the cat — Bud stayed on with the family after convalescing.

Living next to a field in Malta, Julie and Colin were soon adopted by a family of seven more cats! When the time came to return to the UK, Julie would have brought all of them with her, but felt that three of the kittens were simply too feral to make the move. So she went to great lengths to introduce them into an outdoor cat colony, which worked out very well. So travelling with us are the three mice, the three original UK cats, and four Maltese cats: mum Grace and her three kittens.

Julie realised how easy it is to become involved with the cats on Malta. If she and Colin had stayed longer, she was planning to work as a volunteer with the colonies. The strays we saw and blogged about in our last post all looked remarkably healthy — unlike some of the places we visit, there seems to be quite a lot of harmony between the cats and the local community.

At the port we were once again amazed at how pets can be a great leveller. A very strict-looking port official checking our van broke into a huge smile when he saw our cargo of cats. ‘I have 11 cats,’ he told us, and proceeded to make cooing sounds and pretend tickles with his fingers. He was clearly hoping we’d open the compartments so he could give them all a cuddle!

From Sicily we crossed to the Italian mainland and headed to Bari, where we met up with courier M2. He took charge of Julie and Colin’s family to speed their journey to Nottingham in the UK, while couriers J and M continue towards Greece.

Waiting to board the boat to Sicily

Waiting to board the boat to Sicily

Our cat-loving port official

Our cat-loving port official

Julie saying 'au revoir' to her cats

Julie saying ‘au revoir’ to her cats

Pretty Grace, the kittens' mum

Pretty Grace, the kittens’ mum

Sam who has a cute black spot on her nose

Sam who has a cute black spot on her nose

Dave

Dave

Cleo

Cleo

Dave and Cleo snuggled up together

Dave and Cleo snuggled up together

Shy Meo finally popped out to say hello

Syd and Chockie simply didn't want to know at first…

Syd and Chockie simply didn’t want to know at first…

…but finally emerged to show us how gorgeous they are

…but finally emerged to show us how gorgeous they are

Jasmine, representing the mouse contingent

Vladi travels from London to Paris, and we reach Malta via France, Switzerland and Italy

Animalcouriers left the UK a few days ago, having collected Camille’s handsome Persian cat Vladi from his mum Sylvie. Vladi travelled with us to Paris, as Camille has returned there after working in London.

We then headed through France and Switzerland to Italy, and took a ferry from the toe of Italy to the Sicilian port of Messina. We were going to take the catamaran from Sicily to Malta, but it wasn’t available, so we made alternative plans to use the EuroMed Freight route. We were told that our van could go but only one passenger, so courier J volunteered to fly to Malta instead.

At check-in it transpired that the ferry sailing was delayed. So we left the van to make the ferry crossing by itself (as there are no pets on board), and courier M took the same flight as courier J.

On Malta we booked in to the lovely Corinthia Palace Hotel where we’ve enjoyed staying before. The staff were eager to tell us about their new policy of welcoming dogs to the hotel with their owners. They’ve created a thoughtful programme of dog-related services and even built a swimming pool for dogs!

Camille all smiles at being reunited with Vladi

Camille all smiles at being reunited with Vladi

And who can blame him? Vladi is a very handsome ball of fluff!

And who can blame him? Vladi is a very handsome ball of fluff!

Our van squeezed in alongside the trucks and lorries on the ferry for the crossing to Sicily

Our van squeezed in alongside the trucks and lorries on the ferry for the crossing to Sicily

Getting close to the Sicilian coast

Getting close to the Sicilian coast

Doggy swimming pool at the Corinthia Palace Hotel on Malta

Doggy swimming pool at the Corinthia Palace Hotel on Malta

'Palace Pups' — the hotel's leaflet about its dog-friendly policy, which includes doggy room service; in-room bowls, beds, treats and toys; and walking, grooming and massage services!

‘Palace Pups’ — the hotel’s leaflet about its dog-friendly policy, which includes doggy room service; in-room bowls, beds, treats and toys; and walking, grooming and massage services!

You can't miss this postbox!

You can’t miss this postbox!

If you ever wondered what happened to Tin Tin’s mate Captain Haddock — he retired to Malta! (And perhaps that's Tin Tin himself, all grown up, on the left?)

If you ever wondered what happened to Tin Tin’s mate Captain Haddock — he retired to Malta! (And perhaps that’s Tin Tin himself, all grown up, on the left?)

Walking around Malta one becomes aware of a huge stray cat population, many of whom have to forage for food. But not this one-eared, grubby-faced chap — someone cares about him enough to have made him a neat little house and to have fed him quite recently.

Walking around Malta one becomes aware of a huge stray cat population, many of whom have to forage for food. But not this one-eared, grubby-faced chap — someone cares about him enough to have made him a neat little house and to have fed him quite recently.

He's quite a magnificent fellow, despite his battle scars

He’s quite a magnificent fellow, despite his battle scars

This good-looking feline is lucky enough to be looked after by one of the groups of volunteers who watch out for street cats.

This good-looking feline is lucky enough to be looked after by one of the groups of volunteers who watch out for street cats.

Here are a few more of the gang, basking in the winter sunshine in Independence Gardens

Here are a few more of the gang, basking in the winter sunshine in Independence Gardens

There are various home comforts all around —cat boxes, tents and plenty of bedding to keep them warm in the sometimes biting wind

There are various home comforts all around —cat boxes, tents and plenty of bedding to keep them warm in the sometimes biting wind

Someone obviously takes a lot of care of these cats — the bedding all looks clean and fresh

Someone obviously takes a lot of care of these cats — the bedding all looks clean and fresh

A wonderful origami boat we spotted on the Valetta waterfront

A wonderful origami boat we spotted on the Valetta waterfront

Looking down on the crusader castle from Valetta

Looking down on the crusader castle from Valetta

A view across Valetta

A view across Valetta

The clock tower of the Grandmaster Palace in Valetta

The clock tower of the Grandmaster Palace in Valetta

Fortifications built by the Knights Templar

Fortifications built by the Knights Templar

A typical brightly coloured Maltese fishing boat in St Julien's Bay

A typical brightly coloured Maltese fishing boat in St Julien’s Bay

This boat has eyes!

This boat has eyes!

Stale bread doesn't get wasted — it goes into the lobster and crab pots

Stale bread doesn’t get wasted — it goes into the lobster and crab pots

Sucre from Spain crosses the Channel with us, heading for Wales

On the way back from delivering the fabulous furry family of three dogs and four cats to their new French home in Brittany, Animalcouriers headed to Caen to collect Chihuahua Sucre.

Sucre had travelled from Spain with his owners, but when they reached the port of Caen, it was discovered that Sucre’s pet passport wasn’t valid for entry to the UK. So he had to stay in kennels until the 21-day period after his rabies vaccination had elapsed. Fortunately, the timing worked out perfectly for Sucre to travel back with us to the UK this week.

Courier S and Sucre took the overnight ferry to Portsmouth, then carried on by road to Bristol, where they met up with Sucre’s delighted owners for the last leg of the journey to their new home in Wales.

Sweet little Sucre snuggles down for the journey

Sweet little Sucre snuggles down for the journey

A valiant try for 'longest tongue' but sorry, Sucre, you probably get the wooden spoon!

A valiant try for ‘longest tongue’ but sorry, Sucre, you probably get the wooden spoon!

A very happy reunion in Bristol for Sucre and his owners

A very happy reunion in Bristol for Sucre and his owners

Daisy, Bella, Porscha, Le Roi, Mr Jinks, Tallulah and Ellie Mae swap Ireland for France

This family of three dogs and four Maine Coon cats, nicknamed the ‘fabulous furries’ by courier S, arrived at their new French home in Brittany yesterday.

Their journey started in Mooncoin, in Ireland, where Animalcouriers collected them 10 days ago. They stopped over at Burntwood Kennels in Surrey, before undertaking the second leg of their trip to France.

Their owners took the 24-hour ferry from Dublin to France in very rough seas, poor things. Meanwhile, their pets took the shorter (and calmer) crossing from Dover to Calais and travelled on to Brittany by road.

Daisy, a beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, snored her way through the journey, completely at ease on her big adventure

Daisy, a beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, snored her way through the journey, completely at ease on her big adventure

In maternal mode, lovely Newfoundland Bella made sure the rest of the family were all settled and happy before allowing herself to completely relax

In maternal mode, lovely Newfoundland Bella made sure the rest of the family were all settled and happy before allowing herself to completely relax

Le Roi and Mr Jinks giving courier S a rather dark brown look!

Le Roi and Mr Jinks giving courier S a rather dark brown look!

All four cats are breathtakingly beautiful

All four cats are breathtakingly beautiful

Even the customs officers at the border were struck by their exceptional looks

Even the customs officers at the border were struck by their exceptional looks

Reunion in France for two big girls and their dad

Reunion in France for two big girls and their dad

The Newfoundland is a magnificent breed — here's Porscha who, like Bella, weighs in at over 80 kilos. Porscha is both a live wire and gentle and obedient as a lamb — and clearly delighted to be reunited with her dad

The Newfoundland is a magnificent breed — here’s Porscha who, like Bella, weighs in at over 80 kilos. Porscha is both a live wire and gentle and obedient as a lamb — and clearly delighted to be reunited with her dad