Collecting a family of dogs, cats and rabbits in Normandy; and heading to Jersey in convoy

While couriers J and M set off with Mal’s big family of cats and birds, courier Mike was in the Normandy area collecting a slightly smaller family of pets.

Gill and her family have lived on a farm near Calvados for many years, and are now heading back to the UK. They’re moving to Dorchester, so not a million miles from their old French haunts! The family’s three dogs, four cats and two rabbits are travelling with us. Rosie Pomme is a lovely big German Shepherd Dog, and Dolly is a Burmese Mountain Dog. Completing the canine contingent is little Gracie Mai, a cheeky miniature Schnauzer. The cats are Ginger, Madge, Suzanne and Minou.

The two Animalcouriers vans met up in Saint Malo to take the Condor crossing to Jersey. All the pets from both families behaved beautifully at check-in — except Mal’s cat Soda, who gave the Condor man a run for his money and a few scratches to boot!

Couriers J and M have been in regular contact with Mal, who is naturally missing her big family. Mal shared her thoughts with us, saying:

“You are so lovely, my babies couldn’t be in better hands. Everybody says the house is quiet and empty without the cats, and I feel like a big bit of me is missing. I could hear courier M talking to the cats in the van which put my mind at rest. I also know with courier J they will do as they are told — you are in control! I know they are safe with you two.”

Darling Dolly

Darling Dolly

Lovely Rosie Pomme

Lovely Rosie Pomme

Cute Gracie Mai

Cute Gracie Mai

Gorgeous Suzanne with one of her tabby sisters

Gorgeous Suzanne with one of her tabby sisters

Well-named handsome Ginger

Well-named handsome Ginger

Beautiful tabby cat

Beautiful tabby cat

The rabbits are a good-looking pair

The rabbits are a good-looking pair

Where's Alice when you need her?

Where’s Alice when you need her?

Gracie Mai and Rosie Pomme enjoying a walk on the beach near St Helier on Jersey

Gracie Mai and Rosie Pomme enjoying a walk on the beach near St Helier on Jersey

Dolly just back from the beach

Dolly just back from the beach

We couldn't resist another photo from Mal's family — handsome Mischief! Mal says he's very loving — his mother was feral and had her kittens in Mal and Mike's garage, but he came straight up to her. His sister Jezabelle also stayed with Mal and Mike, and is travelling with us.

We couldn’t resist another photo from Mal’s family — handsome Mischief! Mal says he’s very loving — his mother was feral and had her kittens in Mal and Mike’s garage, but he came straight up to her. His sister Jezabelle also stayed with Mal and Mike, and is travelling with us.

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

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

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

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

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

From the Lesvos team:

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

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

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

And from Wild at Heart:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The sacks of pulp are pressed…

The sacks of pulp are pressed…

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

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

The oil is then put through the centrifuge for final clarification

The oil is then put through the centrifuge for final clarification

Storage facilities at the oil mill

Storage facilities at the oil mill

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

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

Refugees' tents at Mytilini

Refugees’ tents at Mytilini

Some of the boats they arrived in

Some of the boats they arrived in

Rebecca with Randall and Hector

Rebecca with Randall and Hector

Rebecca puts name tags on Billie and Demetri

Rebecca puts name tags on Billie and Demetri

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

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

Our van driving up the gangplank

Our van driving up the gangplank

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

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

Randall and Hector sharing a room

Randall and Hector sharing a room

A cute look from Demetri

A cute look from Demetri

Heading to Germany and Scandinavia with Margot, Onyxia, Loki, Sooty, Kiwi, Sanji and Garfield; and back to the UK with Ralph and Guinness

While couriers J and M were wending their way through France towards the UK, courier Mike set off from Blighty with pets heading to more northerly parts of Europe.

Kayla has moved from Brighton to Berlin and was delighted to find there was a way for her pet rabbit Margot to travel out to join her.

Tanja and her family have relocated from Cork in Ireland to Tommerup in Denmark. Their four cats, Onyxia, Loki, Sooty and Kiwi travelled with Animalcouriers to their new Danish home.

Young Bengal kitten Sanji left his breeder Dane in the UK to live with new owner Oskar in Sweden. Sweden has quite strict rules about importing pets from other EU countries. So Dane arranged a TRACES certificate for Sanji, while Oskar organised an import permit at the Swedish end. Very vocal little Sanji was accompanied by a mountain of paperwork when he arrived at his new home near Stockholm.

And last but not least, big ginger boy Garfield travelled with us from Berkshire to be reunited with Hanna who’s moved back to Sweden.

Courier Mike booked into a hotel near the beach at Putgarten in Germany. Walking in, he was puzzled to find it looked more like a house than a hotel. Eventually he realised he wasn’t in the hotel at all, but in the retirement home next door!

Springer Spaniel Ralph and his feline friend Guinness joined courier Mike in Copenhagen. Lyndsey and family are moving from Denmark to Aberdeen, and both they and their pets started their journeys today.

When courier Mike checked in for his ferry crossing, the check-in desk had run out of official labels for vehicles carrying pets. So an enterprising (and artistic) member of the check-in team drew one by hand!

When courier Mike checked in for his ferry crossing, the check-in desk had run out of official labels for vehicles carrying pets. So an enterprising (and artistic) member of the check-in team drew one by hand!

Pretty Margot enjoys tasty carrot and salad snacks

Pretty Margot enjoys tasty carrot and salad snacks

Tanja delighted to have all her crew home

Tanja delighted to have all her crew home

What a fabulous cat tree!

What a fabulous cat tree!

Sooty looks like he's up to no good!

Sooty looks like he’s up to no good!

Handsome ginger fellow Garfield

Handsome ginger fellow Garfield

Sanji with breeder Dane

Sanji with breeder Dane

Garfield reunited with Hanna

Garfield reunited with Hanna

Sanji with proud new owner Oskar

Sanji with proud new owner Oskar

Ralph enjoying his evening constitutional on the beach

Ralph enjoying his evening constitutional on the beach

Rescue dogs and cats: why they can’t currently leave Greece

The EU uses an electronic system called TRACES to legally and reliably track the movement of pets being rehomed from one EU country to another.

At the moment, however, the Greek government won’t issue TRACES certificates.

This means that Animalcouriers can’t currently transport cats and dogs from rescue centres in Greece on behalf of adopters in the UK or any other EU country. (We can, however, transport pets who are relocating with their existing owners from Greece and have valid pet passports.)

For the time being, if you want to adopt a rescue animal from Greece, you have to go to Greece yourself and accompany your adopted pet out of the country. (That’s what Hans and Erica, the Dutch couple who adopted Greek rescue dog Danai, did.)

We (and many others) hope that this just a temporary measure and that the certificates will soon be available again. After all, they are an EU directive and all member states should fall in line — including Greece.

Danai with Erica in the Netherlands

Danai with Erica in the Netherlands

Travelling back from France with Jalankayu Joquet, Jalankayu Jetnayu, Baboushka and Minnette

Continuing our feline theme after delivering Sophia, Chiara and Georgia to their new French home, Animalcouriers collected four cats who are travelling with us to the UK.

In Goujonac we met up with old friends of ours, Jacquie and Stephen, along with vet Dr Diana James. We first met Jacquie, who breeds Singapura cats, when we helped her move her cats to France. Since then, we’ve transported a number of her lovely kittens to UK homes. On this trip are gorgeous Jalankayu Joquet and Jalankayu Jetnayu, who were born on Boxing Day 2014. One is going to live in Wales and the other in the Midlands. Because it’s a change of ownership across EU borders, the kittens are travelling on TRACES certificates.

Our next stop was Monpazier in the Bergerac region, to collect Baboushka, a fine-featured nine-year-old Abyssinian. Her family went on ahead and Baboushka has been in the care of a sitter at the family’s French home. Following a brief period of home boarding with Animalcouriers, her new home in the UK will be in Hampshire.

Last but not least, Minnette from Nantes got on board the bus. This eight-year-old beauty is on her way to be reunited with her owner in Birmingham.

Jackie with the wonderfully named Jalankayu Joquet and Jalankayu Jetnayu

Jackie with the wonderfully named Jalankayu Joquet and Jalankayu Jetnayu

The kittens are a lively pair who enjoy having fun with Courier Mike during feeding time and litter tray cleaning!

The kittens are a lively pair who enjoy having fun with Courier Mike during feeding time and litter tray cleaning!

Baboushka, who was a little vocal at first but soon settled down well and made friends with courier Mike

Baboushka, who was a little vocal at first but soon settled down well and made friends with courier Mike

Minnette showing her cute pink nose and subtle tabby markings

Minnette showing her cute pink nose and subtle tabby markings