UK reunions for Honey from Italy; and Buddy and Lucy from Greece

Before we set off on our next trip to southern Europe, we thought we’d share some happy UK reunion stories.

Honey travelled with Animalcouriers from Italy, where she lived with Julia, to her new home in Nottingham with Julia’s friends Pauline and Steve, and their dog Rollo. Pauline wrote to tell us how it’s going:

“Honey has settled in well with Rollo, who has accepted her with good grace (I think Honey might just be very slightly ‘top dog’). She and Rollo walk well together, and have met up with some of our other doggy friends! They haven’t fallen out and Honey loves the bone box, taking 6 bones to her bed yesterday. Rollo doesn’t bother with bones normally, but they are having a great game pinching bones from each other! We think she is a Staffie/Terrier cross, whereas Rollo is a Staffie/Lab cross — both being the same colour. Honey actually reminds me of Rollo when he was a pup!

We just wanted to thank you all at Animalcouriers for the great job you did in transporting her to England. I spoke to Julia in Italy yesterday and she is delighted Honey has settled in well and so soon — the best move for us all. I shall certainly recommend you to anyone who in the future might need your services, and will continue to watch your blogs with interest.”

Honey in her bed

Honey in her bed

Honey with her new friend Rollo

Honey with her new friend Rollo

Honey loves a fuss

Honey loves a fuss

Buddy travelled with us from Greece, where this stray pup had the good fortune to be adopted by Amy, who had gone to help with the refugee crisis on Lesvos. Making Buddy’s trip to the UK happen so swiftly was down to many people: Amy doing all her paperwork quickly and efficiently; the ‘can do’ attitude of Rebecca from Lesvos Stray Dog and Cat Adoptions and her vet; and Christine from Chris’s Animal Hotel in Athens, who boarded Buddy the night before his flight and helped courier J at the airport.

In what must be record time, by the time courier J boarded her easyJet flight to Athens, everything was perfectly in place for Buddy to travel. Amy wrote to say:

“Just wanted to say a huge thank you for everything you guys did to get Buddy back to me in amazing time! You have no idea how happy me and my son are!”

Buddy with Amy's son (the new dog bed is obviously very comfy!)

Buddy with Amy’s son (the new dog bed is obviously very comfy!)

Lucy also travelled with us from Lesvos, on our most recent road trip from Greece. This lovely girl’s new home had fallen through, but thanks to our friend Jenny Fox, an animal behaviourist, who publicised Lucy’s story via her Facebook page, Lucy now has a lovely new home on Guernsey with Michelle, Tony and Sophie.

Courier J was due to accompany Lucy to Guernsey last weekend, but stormy seas meant the trip had to be postponed. Condor kindly transported Lucy’s travel box from Guernsey for free and looked after it until Lucy could travel. Yesterday was the big day. Courier J and Lucy travelled by Condor Seacat and were met by Michelle and her daughter Sophie, and Jayne, an old friend of Animalcouriers.

Lucy waiting patiently for the crossing

Lucy waiting patiently for the crossing

Being greeted by (L to R) Michelle, Sophie and Jayne

Being greeted by (L to R) Michelle, Sophie and Jayne

Lucy making sure she explores her new home thoroughly

Lucy making sure she explores her new home thoroughly

Michelle asking Lucy what she thinks of it all

Michelle asking Lucy what she thinks of it all

Lucy with Tony

Lucy with Tony

Lucy looking very relaxed

Lucy looking very relaxed

Pets fly to far-flung destinations: Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Caribbean, Cyprus, Australia, the US, Argentina, Canada and Abu Dhabi

Pets relocating around Europe tend to travel by road (and sea) with Animalcouriers; for those travelling further afield, we can arrange air freight and help with import and export paperwork.

Recent Asian destinations for some of our passengers include Singapore, Thailand  and Hong Kong. Handsome Labradoodle Thumper, his sidekick Vos, a Dachshund, and feline chums Bus and Biscuit flew to Singapore with BA. This family of four stayed at Haytor Kennels in Surrey while everything was prepared for their move. Vet on the Hill in Caterham took care of the export paperwork, and we worked with Mitchville, who organised the Singaporean import permits and delivered the pets to their new home once clearances had been completed at Changi Airport.

Thumper exploring his new surroundings in Singapore

Thumper exploring his new surroundings in Singapore

We arranged for slinky black cat Bruno to fly to Bangkok with Thai Air, then Boonma organised Bruno’s transfer to Phuket. With this trip, Bruno effectively returns to his homeland — he was found as a kitten in his owner’s Phuket garden, then moved to Hong Kong, after which he spent a few months in Brighton. Bruno has now put his suitcase into storage as the plans are for Phuket to be his permanent residence.

Bruno stayed at Burntwood Kennels in Surrey for a few days before boarding his flight

Bruno stayed at Burntwood Kennels in Surrey for a few days before boarding his flight

Bruno's owner Eric wrote to say: "Bruno arrived safely. He seems quite happy to see me! Many thanks for all your help."

Bruno’s owner Eric wrote to say: “Bruno arrived safely. He seems quite happy to see me! Many thanks for all your help.”

Rabbit Meow swapped Wales for Hong Kong. Meow turned out to be something of a conundrum. Despite the name, Meow is indeed a rabbit, not a cat. What’s more, while at the vet in Cardiff having the export paperwork completed, it was discovered that Meow wasn’t a buck, but a doe!

Meow at BA World Cargo, Heathrow, just before checking in. Looks like this gorgeous girl had plenty of tasty snacks to see her through the flight!

Meow at BA World Cargo, Heathrow, just before checking in. Looks like this gorgeous girl had plenty of tasty snacks to see her through the flight!

Our travellers to the Caribbean included Sage a very gentle, vocal Beagle puppy who joined her new family in Bermuda. Sage homeboarded with Animalcouriers while her export and import paperwork was prepared.

Sage's irresistible puppy dog eyes! Her owner Sharica emailed us, saying: "Just wanted to say thank you so much for everything in getting Sage to Bermuda. She is settling in very nicely."

Sage’s irresistible puppy dog eyes! Her owner Sharica emailed us, saying: “Just wanted to say thank you so much for everything in getting Sage to Bermuda. She is settling in very nicely.”

We also arranged for Candy, a Giant Schnauzer puppy (and kennel mate of Max, who flew to Bahrain earlier this year), to fly to Grand Cayman to join her new family. They told us:

“The little bundle of fur arrived safely after her 13-hour journey to Grand Cayman. She is lovely and I am grateful to all of you who have made this happen. It certainly has been a journey but with your assistance and, dare I say it, your patience, we managed to pull off a transaction that connected Morecambe with sunny Grand Cayman! Now who would have thought that?”

Beautiful Candy at her new Caribbean home

Beautiful Candy at her new Caribbean home

A little closer to home, we arranged for two dogs, Mit and Dylan, to fly to North Cyprus.

Stately Mit and owners are joining family in Cyprus

Stately Mit and owners are joining family in Cyprus

Handsome hound Dylan and his owner — they managed to book onto the same flight

Handsome hound Dylan and his owner — they managed to book onto the same flight

Antipodean adventurers were Abby, a Munsterlander, who travelled to Wellington; Milly who headed to Perth; and Richard, a wire hair Fox Terrier who flew to Sydney to join breeder Christophe. Richard and Milly were among the last pets to stay at Eastern Creek Quarantine Kennels, which has now closed. From now on, cats and dogs travelling to Australia will stay at the new quarantine facility at Mickleham just north of Melbourne.

Abby (R), dashing about with a new friend in Australia

Abby (R), dashing about with a new friend in Australia

Tracey, Abby's breeder, told us: "Abby has settled in very well as you can see from the photos. Owner Carol is absolutely delighted with her and we have almost daily updates."

Tracey, Abby’s breeder, told us: “Abby has settled in very well as you can see from the photos. Owner Carol is absolutely delighted with her and we have almost daily updates.”

Cute Milly at home in Perth. Sam, her owner had to move to Australia in July and was counting the days before Milly could join her. On being reunited, Sam wrote to say: "We are home safe and sound with Milly. Thank you for the wonderful service, we will be sure to recommend you to others that may follow us to Australia."

Cute Milly at home in Perth. Sam, her owner had to move to Australia in July and was counting the days before Milly could join her. On being reunited, Sam wrote to say: “We are home safe and sound with Milly. Thank you for the wonderful service, we will be sure to recommend you to others that may follow us to Australia.”

Young Richard enjoys an autumnal walk before heading to Heathrow for his Qantas flight

Heading west were Willow, a very sweet King Charles Cavalier puppy who went to Boston; Nellie who flew to Newark with United; firm friends Tin and Sabina who headed to Buenos Aires; and Ginger who took off to Toronto.

Gorgeous Nellie all ready for her flight to the US

Gorgeous Nellie all ready for her flight to the US

Tin (L) and Sabina (R) at their new home. (We hasten to point out that Sabina travelled in a proper box, not that plastic bag!)

Tin (L) and Sabina (R) at their new home. (We hasten to point out that Sabina travelled in a proper box, not that plastic bag!)

Conrad, who works tirelessly for the Filozoikos Shelter in Athens, linked up with Dianne of Tails from Greece Rescue and found homes for Ginger and her sister Lilly in Ontario, Canada. Lilly was still in Athens, while Conrad was caring for Ginger in the UK. Ginger flew from London to Amsterdam, where she boarded the same KLM flight to Toronto as Lilly, who flew in from Athens. In Toronto they were met by Dianne. Fittingly, these two sisters have new homes with two sisters!

A rapturous welcome at Toronto airport for Ginger and Lilly

A rapturous welcome at Toronto airport for Ginger and Lilly

Two Lolas headed east. In 2011 we helped Lola senior move from Abu Dhabi to the UK. When it was time to move back to Abu Dhabi, Lola’s family asked Animalcouriers and the UAE-based American Veterinary Clinic to take care of the paperwork and travel arrangements again.

An early arrival for Lola at BA World Cargo. Lovely Lola stayed at Burntwood Kennels for a few weeks before jetting off to join her family.

An early arrival for Lola at BA World Cargo. Lovely Lola stayed at Burntwood Kennels for a few weeks before jetting off to join her family.

Lola junior, a cuddly Cockerpoo pup, flew with Emirates to Dubai to meet her new family. She homeboarded with Animalcouriers while her travel documents were prepared.

Little Lola makes herself at home

Little Lola makes herself at home

Buddy and Milou head to the UK from Greece

Courier J is in Greece to accompany two rescue dogs, Buddy and Milou, who’re travelling to their families in the UK. They’re taking the plane from Athens to Paris Charles de Gaulle, and will travel the last leg of the journey by road.

Buddy hails from Lesvos, where he was adopted by Amy who’d gone to help with the refugee crisis. Amy tells us:

“I flew to Lesvos from the UK to volunteer with the Syrian refugee crisis there. The Greek islands like Lesvos in particular hold many tragic stories; the families travel there by boat across the Aegean Sea, many do not make it at all. This year alone 700 children have died crossing the Aegean, it is truly heartbreaking. My volunteering there has changed me forever…

On our second day we met Buddy while driving through from the port to one of the camps where we volunteered. He was one of many stray dogs — Lesvos has a huge stray problem. Every day we saw Buddy in the same spot, he was different to the other dogs. He craved attention, was very affectionate. Soon we started taking him on volunteer trips with us. I know that sometimes animals can be therapeutic, so we took Buddy one day to Pikpa camp for bereaved families who’ve lost children, parents, siblings, who tragically drowned getting to the island. It’s a very special but sad camp.

Well, this puppy played with the children there all day, putting smiles and laughter into their day. I knew then just how special he was, I felt like it was destiny to meet him. I have a little boy back home and I knew Buddy would light up his life. That’s when I decided to adopt him… and the rest is history!”

Courier J met up with our old friends Kiki and Martha from the Filozoikos Shelter in Athens, who brought Milou to the airport to catch his flight. Snoopy, another Filozoikos dog, was also due to travel, but was diagnosed with leishmaniosis, a sandfly-borne blood disorder that’s common around the Mediterranean. Although it can be well controlled, it stays with a dog for life. His prospective family thought it over carefully but felt unable to take on a dog with a chronic illness.

Buddy with Amy and Amy's brother in law, Matt, who flew from Los Angeles to volunteer on Lesvos. Matt has two rescue dogs of his own at home.

Buddy with Amy and Amy’s brother in law, Matt, who flew from Los Angeles to volunteer on Lesvos. Matt has two rescue dogs of his own at home.

Big hugs for Buddy

Big hugs for Buddy

Martha and Kiki, smiling and laughing as always, with Milou and his travel box

Martha and Kiki, smiling and laughing as always, with Milou and his travel box

Milou sports one of Martha’s lovingly handmade farewell collars

Christine, who runs Chris's Animal Hotel met courier J at Athens airport to help her check Buddy and Milou in for the flight

Christine, who runs Chris’s Animal Hotel met courier J at Athens airport to help her check Buddy and Milou in for the flight

Buddy in his travel box, ready to board

Buddy in his travel box, ready to board

Happy reunions in the UK, and Lucy finds her forever home

As soon as Animalcouriers reached Dover, the pets who had travelled from Greece started heading off to rejoin their families in various parts of the UK.

Courier Dave took Sugar, Jack and Berti in to London; while Courier Rickie set off northwards, taking Dexter to Chester, Lilly to Newcastle, Niko to Livingstone, and Souki and Diego to Edinburgh.

Dexter’s owner Ian wrote to say:

“Dexter and Pat and I are now tired! What an eventful first 12 hours. Our two girls (Nell and Honor) have their noses slightly out of joint but they’ll get there! Dexter just came in, made himself at home and has bonded immediately — he’s my shadow!”

Lilly’s owner, Jacqui, was also quick to get in touch:

“Lilly arrived at my daughter’s safely last night and as you can see has settled in her favourite scruffy bed!!! Thank you to you all for taking such good care of her throughout her journey — you are absolute stars!!! We can’t wait to see her next week and finally settle her into her new home. Thank you all once again — you have been great.”

We forgot to hand over Lilly’s travel box, but Jacqui very kindly asked us to donate it to Nine Lives Greece next time we go to Athens.

Maria and Angelo let us know how pleased they were to be reunited with their dogs, Souki and Diego:

“We want to thank you for delivering our dogs secure and healthy. We don’t have many things to say, just a big fat Greek thank you! Bless everyone of you!!”

Couriers J and M delivered Phantom and Gismo at Thurrock Services on the M25, then continued on to Peterborough to deliver the puppies, Bear, Bella, Zeus and Hercules, to their foster home with Wendy, along with Lucy.

Animalcouriers sponsored Lucy’s trip from Lesvos. She so nearly had a new home, which fell through, not once but twice. We couldn’t leave her behind — after all, there was a bedroom in our van with her name on the door — so she joined the trip. And thanks to our good friend Jenny Fox of Naughty Pets, who posted Lucy’s story on facebook, Lucy now has a new home in Guernsey! Courier J will have the pleasure of escorting Lucy to Guernsey next weekend.

Courier Rickie with Niko, just before setting off

Courier Rickie with Niko, just before setting off

Dexter making himself at home

Dexter making himself at home

Dexter throwing up a few zeds

Dexter throwing up a few zeds

Niko gets a very warm welcome at his new home

Niko gets a very warm welcome at his new home

What a fuzzy fellow he is!

What a fuzzy fellow he is!

Niko all tuckered out

Niko all tuckered out

Lilly on her favourite bed

Lilly on her favourite bed

Lilly exploring her temporary home

Lilly exploring her temporary home

We met Liana at Thurrock Services, who was very excited to receive Phantom

We met Liana at Thurrock Services, who was very excited to receive Phantom

Sophia had been very anxious about Gismo, and was delighted to have him back in her arms

Sophia had been very anxious about Gismo, and was delighted to have him back in her arms

Jack surveying his new kingdom after a long walk in the park, where he's already made some new friends

Jack surveying his new kingdom after a long walk in the park, where he’s already made some new friends

The pups at Wendy's home — this is Zeus…

The pups at Wendy’s home — this is Zeus…

… and here's Bella

… and here’s Bella

And here's Wendy with Bear and Hercules

And here’s Wendy with Bear and Hercules

Lucy with a new friend at Wendy's house

Lucy with a new friend at Wendy’s house

Heading through autumnal Swiss landscapes as we make for the UK

Animalcouriers continued north towards the UK, stopping off at Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, which is a super place to walk dogs. As well as lots of new smells to enjoy, there were plenty of waterbird cries to attract their attention.

We then continued on through France, and spent four hours getting through all the layers of security at the port before we could board our ferry to Dover. Once we reach the UK, our passengers will head off in different directions with various couriers, to be reunited with their families.

It’s been quite a challenging trip in some ways, especially at the Greek end. Greece was already being torn apart by its own financial and social issues, and the situation is now compounded by the humanitarian crisis that sees thousands of refugees arriving on Lesvos and nearby islands every day. Reeling under the pressure of it all, Greek ferry and transport workers stage 24-hour flash strikes, which add to the chaos.

As we left Athens on Saturday, crowds of people were picketing the toll booths. When we pulled up to pay, a scared-looking attendant just waved us through. At Igoumenitsa port, it was peaceful, but we later heard that the long delay to our boat was caused by an intensive search for suspected stowaways. We never felt personally threatened — the crowds were generally quiet and orderly, and we always have the tightest security around our van at all times.

Lake Lucerne, where the dogs enjoyed autumnal walks

Lake Lucerne, where the dogs enjoyed autumnal walks

These sheep came to greet us as we walked dogs by the side of Lake Lucerne. As you probably know, they provide the blue milk which is traditionally used to create the blue veins in various types of Swiss blue cheese. They're also shorn annually to provide the knitting wool for smurf hats.

These sheep came to greet us as we walked dogs by the side of Lake Lucerne. As you probably know, they provide the blue milk which is traditionally used to create the blue veins in various types of Swiss blue cheese. They’re also shorn annually to provide the knitting wool for smurf hats.

What's that? wonders Jacq, as he catches sight of the blue sheep…

What’s that? wonders Jacq, as he catches sight of the blue sheep…

…and wanders towards them for a better look

…and wanders towards them for a better look

Niko went up close and personal…

Niko went up close and personal…

…then got distracted by waterbirds flying overhead

…then got distracted by waterbirds flying overhead

Sugar poses in the autumn leaves

Sugar poses in the autumn leaves

Dexter looks for yet more love from courier M

Dexter looks for yet more love from courier M

Look into my eyes, says Lucy. Willingly! say we.

Look into my eyes, says Lucy. Willingly! say we.

Souki and Diego, a very relaxed pair, exchange friendly greetings with Berti

Souki and Diego, a very relaxed pair, exchange friendly greetings with Berti

 

Pretty Carrie, one of Carol's cats, is a rather shy girl, but she showed her face at teatime!

Pretty Carrie, one of Carol’s cats, is a rather shy girl, but she showed her face at teatime!

Leaving late from Greece, and receiving a warm welcome at our hotel in Italy

After collecting our final Greek passenger, Niko, Animalcouriers headed to Igoumenitsa port to make the crossing to Italy. It’s always a nail-biting time, checking in with the port authorities, but it all went off politely and we were nodded through to the port.

Our ferry was due to leave at 23.30. It eventually turned up at 05.00, and we were finally moving by 05.45. It’s a long crossing to Italy, so the engineers put up with courier J’s demands to see the dogs and cats, so she could check they were cool and keep them fed and watered. There’s a new airflow system in our van that works off an ancillary battery which lasts 26 hours, which is the length of the crossing.

When we reached Ancona, we headed to one of our favourite hotels, A3PAssi, owned by Antonella and her father Antonio. It’s an agricultural hotel (agriturismo) with private parking, endless olive groves, and lovely lanes for dog-walking.

We arrived so late the restaurant and hotel were shut, but a tray of bread and cold cuts, yogurt, apricot tart, and a bottle of house wine had been left out for us. What’s more, the car park and lane lights were on, there was water in the standpipe, and a key in the door. An amazing welcome despite no-one being around!

From over 11,000 olive trees of different varieties, the family produces a range of award-winning oils. Antonio maintains that the quality of the oil is down to the processes they use from the growing, to the picking, pressing and processing, through to bottling.

Their restaurant, La Tavola, offers traditional local cuisine made from fresh, top quality, organic ingredients, cooked with a lot of passion and a pinch of creativity.

We sampled (and bought) bottles of Antonio’s World No 1 Ascolana oil, a rare and valuable oil that has a strong fruity flavour with a hint of tomato leaves. Antonio gave us instructions on how to gently heat and consume this wonderful elixir.

A crate of A3Passi's award-winning olives

A crate of A3Passi’s award-winning olives

A closer look at the fruit

Olives waiting in line for the extraction process

Olives waiting in line for the extraction process

Organic produce from the farm, just crying out to be sampled

Organic produce from the farm, just crying out to be sampled

 As we went back and forth with the dogs, our paths crossed with farm trailers coming and going at what is a very busy harvest time

As we went back and forth with the dogs, our paths crossed with farm trailers coming and going at what is a very busy harvest time

Some olives are left to ripen further, and will be bottled with garlic and herbs

Some olives are left to ripen further, and will be bottled with garlic and herbs

Banks of bright chrysanthemums are interspersed with the crops

Banks of bright chrysanthemums are interspersed with the crops

Antonio always comes over to say hello — here he is checking that we'd enjoyed last night's picnic supper

Antonio always comes over to say hello — here he is checking that we’d enjoyed last night’s picnic supper

The lanes around the farm and the lush grassy slopes around the olive trees are a perfect environment for excellent dog walks.

Diego

Diego

Souki

Souki

Niko

Niko

Berti

Berti

Maya

Maya

Lucy

Lucy

Sugar

Sugar

Jacq

Jacq

Dexter

Dexter

Phantom, so-called because of her masked face

Phantom, so-called because of her masked face

Arizona, who's always ready to play

Arizona, who’s always ready to play

Lily enjoying watching all the comings and goings

Lily enjoying watching all the comings and goings

Gismo looking very demure

Gismo looking very demure

Two pups

Two pups

Two more pups

Two more pups

The puppies are travelling in pairs, in side-by-side compartments. They need cleaning out at least twice a day, so we pop all four in together while we do one compartment, then repeat the process for the second compartment. Here they are all having a big drink together.

The puppies are travelling in pairs, in side-by-side compartments. They need cleaning out at least twice a day, so we pop all four in together while we do one compartment, then repeat the process for the second compartment. Here they are all having a big drink together.

Safely back from Lesvos, and meeting more UK-bound passengers in Athens

Courier J and her seven charges from Lesvos arrived safely in Piraeus Port where they were met by Akis, who runs a pet taxi service. Akis has become a firm friend of ours, and happily obliges all our requests, however outlandish they may seem! True to form, he was a complete hero and disembarked all the dogs into his taxi. He had already met up with Aphrodite and her Rottweiler, Maya, who’d arrived at the port on the morning ferry from Crete.

Because of a general strike in Greece, there were no ferries for 24 hours. So the eight dogs went to stay with Christine for a couple of nights. She has kennels on the outskirts of Athens, Chris’s Animal Hotel, and has helped us out before.

Courier M arrived from Italy, having also been delayed by the strike, and drove over from Patras port to meet up with the rest of our passengers who are winging their way from various islands and other parts of the Greece. Because of the delay, we decided that courier Mike should turn back and start collecting our Italian passengers.

Martina’s Jack Russell Terrier, Jack, arrived from Poros on the high-speed hydrofoil, where he was met by Akis and whisked over to us. A lot of rapid activity for a little chap, but he’s been very stoical about it all!

Another Martina, from PetSociety  kennels, brought us lovely Lab Sugar, who’s been staying at the kennels for a little while. Owner Anastasia went on ahead to London and is very excited that Sugar can now join her.

It wouldn’t be a proper Greek trip if we didn’t meet up with Cordelia. She’s been looking after Tony’s cat, Arizona, until we could transport her to the UK. Cordelia and her husband brought Arizona to us at the port.

Sophia has moved to Nottingham and now her cat Gismo is joining her. Sophia’s parents Toula and Zisis, along with their French Bulldog, Zoe, brought Gismo to join the trip. Toula wondered if we needed any help on the journey — she was keen to hop on board and travel with us so she could visit Sophia!

Maria has relocated to Scotland for work reasons, and left her dogs Diego and Souki in the temporary care of her cousin Anastasia. Now it’s time for this sweet brother and sister to rejoin Maria.

Sonia, Ellena and Sophia from local cat welfare charity Nine Lives Greece brought us Carol’s cats Carrie and Olive. The charity, which does brilliant work with stray cats in Athens, is holding a fund-raising bazaar today. They hope to raise around €2,000, but admit that will probably only meet one vet bill.

John and Jacqui are returning to the UK from Athens. Their cat Lilly is naturally going to join them at their home in London.

We met Niko under the massive Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge near Patras. He’s such a cool hound, he has his own Facebook page! Niko came to Anne as a stray puppy about two years ago. Anne has a stables on the hillside overlooking the bridge, where she gives riding lessons to people with and without disabilities, and organises hacking and other activities. Plenty of stray and rescued dogs and cats find a home here. Recently, Elizabeth from Livingstone met Niko and completely fell in love with him. Anne very wisely allowed Elizabeth to adopt Niko, knowing he’s going to a super home, and that she’ll have room for another local stray.

Akis took control of disembarking the seven dogs from Lesvos. Here he is collecting the puppies, telling them to be good for him.

Akis took control of disembarking the seven dogs from Lesvos. Here he is collecting the puppies, telling them to be good for him.

Lovely Maya in a photo sent by Aphrodite. "Just thought you'd better know that sometimes I talk too much and I can't get my tongue to fit back in my mouth..."

Lovely Maya in a photo sent by Aphrodite. “Just thought you’d better know that sometimes I talk too much and I can’t get my tongue to fit back in my mouth…”

Maya in her bedroom in our van — her tongue still hanging out!

Maya in her bedroom in our van — her tongue still hanging out!

Handsome Jack from Poros

Handsome Jack from Poros

Anastasia's dog Sugar, with Martina, at whose kennels Sugar has been staying

Anastasia’s dog Sugar, with Martina, at whose kennels Sugar has been staying

Cordelia and Paul brought us gifts — and Tony's cat Arizona!

Cordelia and Paul brought us gifts — and Tony’s cat Arizona!

Arizona is a rather striking looking tortie puss

Arizona is a rather striking looking tortie puss

Toula and Zisis with their dog Zoe — in the cat box is Gismo, who belongs to their daughter Sophia

Toula and Zisis with their dog Zoe — in the cat box is Gismo, who belongs to their daughter Sophia

Lovely fluffy Gismo

Lovely fluffy Gismo

Souki and Diego with Anastasia and her mum

Souki and Diego with Anastasia and her mum

Glamorous Souki and Diego settle in for the trip

Glamorous Souki and Diego settle in for the trip

Sophia, Ellena and Sonia, volunteers from Nine Lives Greece, brought us Carrie and Olive, who belong to Carol

Sophia, Ellena and Sonia, volunteers from Nine Lives Greece, brought us Carrie and Olive, who belong to Carol

One of Carol's cats

One of Carol’s cats

John and Jacqui with their cat Lilly

John and Jacqui with their cat Lilly

Lilly is a rather gorgeous creature

Lilly is a rather gorgeous creature

Fuzzy hound Niko

Fuzzy hound Niko

Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge

Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge

Anne (L) and Panagiota (R) arranged for Niko to travel to join new owner Elizabeth in Scotland

Anne (L) and Panagiota (R) arranged for Niko to travel to join new owner Elizabeth in Scotland

Lucy from Lesvos is a calm and friendly girl

Lucy from Lesvos is a calm and friendly girl

Dexter always has an eager look on his face

Dexter always has an eager look on his face

Berti is taking the journey in his stride

Berti is taking the journey in his stride

The Lesvos pups look like they're in a police line-up!

The Lesvos pups look like they’re in a police line-up!

Setting off for Greece, and delivering Rosalina and Nox in Italy on the way

Animalcouriers has set off on what may be the most complex trip we’ve ever undertaken from a logistical point of view. This is just the start…

Couriers M and Mike left the UK on Sunday with Rosalina and Nox on board, bound for Italy. These two very beautiful and regal cats belong to Francesca. After working in London for a few years, she’s returned to her native Italy, and we had the pleasure of transporting her beloved pets.

Gorgeous Rosalina

Gorgeous Rosalina

Moustachioed Nox

Moustachioed Nox

Francesca delighted to be reunited with her cats

Francesca delighted to be reunited with her cats

The lovely landscape where Francesca and her cats will be living

The lovely landscape where Francesca and her cats will be living

An Italian village cemetery filled with flowers to mark All Saints' Day, which is taken very seriously in continental Europe (Hallowe'en being a very recent import)

An Italian village cemetery filled with flowers to mark All Saints’ Day, which is taken very seriously in continental Europe (Hallowe’en being a very recent import)

While couriers M and Mike wend their way by road towards the Greek capital, Athens, courier J flew to the same destination. Her hold luggage consisted of a big box containing seven slip leads, lots of newspaper, plenty of dog biscuits, and several bicycle chains and padlocks. Not some weird and wonderful bondage equipment, but everything she needed to escort seven dogs from Lesvos back to the mainland by boat!

Last night courier J met up with lovely Christos from Hellas Ferries, an Athenian travel agent. He regards Animalcouriers as personal friends, and the warmth and passion he shows us are what make Greek people very special to us. Christos organised courier J onto a Hellenic Seaways boat at Piraeus port for the crossing to Lesvos and back. They enjoyed a drink on the boat, swapping life stories, before it was time to set off.

Today courier J met Rebecca from Lesvos Stray Dogs and Cat Adoptions. In between looking after stray dogs and cats, Rebecca’s been on the beaches helping migrants from the water as their little boats reach the shore — just one element of a massive humanitarian aid operation that’s underway.

Rebecca handed over the seven dogs who are travelling to homes and owners the UK:

  • Bella, Zeus, Hercules and Bear are four puppies whose journey to Cambridgeshire has been sponsored by Wendy — all four have homes with friends and a vet
  • Another puppy, Berti, for Wild at Heart
  • Ian’s dog, Dexter, a holiday romance — Rebecca arranged a foster home for Dexter while he waited for us, as he just missed our last trip. We know Ian is very excited about Dexter’s imminent arrival, after quite some time apart.
  • Lucy, the dog we blogged about earlier in the week, who’ll be fostered by Wendy on arrival before moving to her forever home
Mike, a member of the ferry crew, kindly lending a hand at the onboard kennels. All the crew were really helpful, and let courier J prepare the cages on the outbound trip so they would be ready to house the dogs on the way back to Piraeus.

Mike, a member of the ferry crew, kindly lending a hand at the onboard kennels. All the crew were really helpful, and let courier J prepare the cages on the outbound trip so they would be ready to house the dogs on the way back to Piraeus.

The cages all kitted out

The cages all kitted out

Keys to the padlocks, for security

Keys to the padlocks, for security

The route to Lesvos took us past the spot where our van was impounded on arrival from Turkey a few years ago — what memories!

The route to Lesvos took us past the spot where our van was impounded on arrival from Turkey a few years ago — what memories!

One of the many homeless dogs on Lesvos…

One of the many homeless dogs on Lesvos…

…and a microcosm of the homeless people who've arrived there

…and a microcosm of the homeless people who’ve arrived there

Impounded boats on Lesvos

Impounded boats on Lesvos

The dogs settling in for the ferry crossing

The dogs settling in for the ferry crossing

Rebecca saying goodbye

Rebecca saying goodbye

A heap of wriggly puppies

A heap of wriggly puppies

There's always one, isn't there?!

There’s always one, isn’t there?!

Super cute Dexter

Super cute Dexter

Lucy accepted a treat so graciously and nibbled it so gently, she should have been offered a napkin!

Lucy accepted a treat so graciously and nibbled it so gently, she should have been offered a napkin!

Berti makes an early bid for longest (and waggiest) tongue

Berti makes an early bid for longest (and waggiest) tongue

Can you offer lovely Lucy a new UK home?

Lucy, a lovely dog rescued by Lesvos Stray Dog and Cat Adoptions, was booked to travel with us to her new home in the UK later this month.

Unfortunately, her new home has fallen through. Lucy won’t be able to join our trip unless she has an alternative new home to go to.

Rebecca from the charity tells us how she found Lucy, and what she’s like.

“I saw her on the streets for some weeks. When I first called her she came running. She jumped into my car as soon as I opened the door, and laid down on the back seat. I took her to my office where she ate and slept for a few hours.

I drove her to stay at a kennels, where she gets on with everyone and all the other dogs. She’s clever and so easy going, she’s allowed in the kennel owner’s house. She gets on with everyone and all the other dogs.

I have lots of cats at the office and she just ignored them all. She’s very obedient — just aristocratic. The kennel owner and I would keep her if we could. For the kennel owner to say that, after seeing so many dogs, really says something. We want a home for her indoors with a family, where she’ll be loved and cared for as a gracious pet.”

If you can offer Lucy a new home, please write to: lesvosstraydogcatadoptions@gmail.com

Lucy in the car

Lucy in the car

Playing with a friend

Playing with a friend

Walking on the lead

Walking on the lead

A very relaxed Lucy

A very relaxed Lucy

UK reunions for Mal’s cats and birds; and Gill’s dogs, cats and rabbits

If you keep up with the Animalcouriers blog, you’ll know that couriers J and M recently collected Mal and Mike’s 22 cats and two birds from their previous home in the Lot-et-Garonne in France. Now they’ve reached their new home in Lincolnshire.

When we arrived, the lovely new cattery was still under construction! By about 5.00pm it was pretty much ready, so courier M started helping Mal move her cats into their new home.

Disaster struck, however, when two of the feistier felines discovered that a small part of the cattery roof wasn’t secure — Brandy managed to squeeze through the gap and made a run for it before he could be grabbed. He’s still at large, but Mal is very experienced at catching cats. She’s set up cat traps, let her neighbours know to be on the lookout, and is carrying out regular patrols. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed.

Courier M helped out with emergency repairs, but moving the rest of the cats was put off until this morning, once proper repairs had been made.

Mal greets her cats on their arrival

Mal greets her cats on their arrival

The cattery in all its glory

The cattery in all its glory

Mal making sure all the bedrooms are shipshape

Mal making sure all the bedrooms are shipshape

Tucking in to some yummy nosh

Tucking in to some yummy nosh

Relaxing on a fleecy blanket

Relaxing on a fleecy blanket

Posing against an autumnal backdrop

Posing against an autumnal backdrop

Courier Mike was also on the road, delivering Gill’s family of pets who travelled with him from Normandy, to their new home in Dorchester. It was a great homecoming for dogs Rosie Pomme, Dolly and Gracie Mai. The two rabbits, along with the four cats — Ginger, Madge, Suzanne and Minou — took it all a bit more calmly!

 

Little Gracie Mai — a blur of fur!

Little Gracie Mai — a blur of fur!

Burmese Mountain Dog Dolly heads straight in through the gate

Burmese Mountain Dog Dolly heads straight in through the gate

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Very excited German Shepherd dog Rosie Pomme bounds towards Gill