Collecting UK-bound pets in Portugal and Spain: Rafa, Meiow Meiow, Ziollo and Q

Having reunited all the pets who travelled with us from the UK with their owners, Animalcouriers turned around and set off on the UK-bound leg of the trip.

The first passenger to get on board was Rafa, who’s been living near Faro in Portugal with his owner Rosemary. Now it’s time for them both to go back to the UK. Rafa is going on ahead, and will stay with friends in Cornwall until Rosemary arrives.

In Spain we met up with Meiow Meiow and Ziollo just outside the cement works at Manilva. Owner Sue has gone on ahead to the UK and is excitedly waiting for them in Hove. They’ve been in the care of Kirstie and Mark, who told us they will very much miss their walks with Ziollo.

In Nueva Andalucia we called in on Margot to collect her suave black-and-white puss Q — so named because her son is a big fan of that character from James Bond. Q and Margot are relocating to Cheltenham in Surrey — and will perhaps ultimately move to the Netherlands, which is where Margot comes from.

Rosemary with her handsome hound Rafa

Rosemary with her handsome hound Rafa

Rafa all ready for the off

Rafa all ready for the off

Anyone who lives near to, or travels in and out of, Faro airport will be familiar with these fabulous figures peering up at the sky from the roundabout. Called 'The Plane Watchers', these roughly hewn stone sculptures are by Teresa Paulino. They make us smile every time we see them.

Anyone who lives near to, or travels in and out of, Faro airport will be familiar with these fabulous figures peering up at the sky from the roundabout. Called ‘The Plane Watchers’, these roughly hewn stone sculptures are by Teresa Paulino. They make us smile every time we see them.

Fortification at the Spanish town of Ayamonte, built to cover the river separating Spain and Portugal

Fortification at the Spanish town of Ayamonte, built to cover the river separating Spain and Portugal

View of the top of the 15th century San Salvador church tower in Ayamonte

View of the top of the 15th century San Salvador church tower in Ayamonte

Giant asparagus anyone? This succulent throws up a 10m high flower stalk!

Giant asparagus anyone? This succulent throws up a 10m high flower stalk!

Rafa spotted some sheep on his morning walk and seemed keen to do some shepherding… but realised he wasn't really sure how to go about it!

Rafa spotted some sheep on his morning walk and seemed keen to do some shepherding… but realised he wasn’t really sure how to go about it!

Mark with Meiow Meiow and Ziollo

Mark with Meiow Meiow and Ziollo

Kirstie and Mark, who've been taking care of Sue's pets since she left for the UK

Kirstie and Mark, who’ve been taking care of Sue’s pets since she left for the UK

Kirstie says goodbye to Meiow Meiow

Kirstie says goodbye to Meiow Meiow

Ziollo is a real smiler

 

Margot with Q outside their apartment block

Margot with Q outside their apartment block

The name's Q…

The name’s Q…

Along the way we've been enjoying all sorts of beautiful spring flowers, many of which are completely unfamiliar to us. We'd really love to know what this one is — any ideas?

Along the way we’ve been enjoying all sorts of beautiful spring flowers, many of which are completely unfamiliar to us. We’d really love to know what this one is — any ideas?

Courier M had a field day, here are some of his finds… (click on a photo to enter the slideshow)

This marvellous painting appears on wall at the entrance to a tunnel north of Malaga. There are two more at the other end.

This marvellous painting appears on wall at the entrance to a tunnel north of Malaga. There are two more at the other end.

A French reunion for Scrumpy, Sirius and Throttle

This feline trio reached their new South of France home yesterday, where they were warmly greeted by their owners, John and Janet.

A special room has been set up for the cats to start their acclimatisation to their new environment. Next, they’ll have the run of the house, and finally, once they’re fully settled in, the great outdoors will be theirs to explore.

And what a lovely outdoors it is. The family has moved to a beautiful valley near Marseille where John and Janet plan to turn a lifelong hobby into a business — running gites alongside an astronomy centre. They chose this spot as the skies tend to be very clear, while the valley sides block out light pollution from nearby towns.

Animalcouriers are now on our way to Spain, where our first stop will be to reunite Baby with her owner in Barcelona, before heading to Madrid to deliver Byron and Pluto, and then continuing further south.

Big hugs on arrival for Sirius

Big hugs on arrival for Sirius

Scrumpy getting to know her new environment

Scrumpy getting to know her new environment

Looks like Throttle can hardly wait to start exploring outside

Looks like Throttle can hardly wait to start exploring outside

Sweet Baby, who'll reach her Barcelona home today

Sweet Baby, who’ll reach her Barcelona home today

Lovely Poppy is really coming out of her shell

Lovely Poppy is really coming out of her shell

Mr Bojangles loves a chat and a fuss…

Mr Bojangles loves a chat and a fuss…

…as does Byron — a very insistent paw!

…as does Byron — a very insistent paw!

PJ and Belle enjoying a walk by the vineyard

PJ and Belle enjoying a walk by the vineyard

Pluto shows off his magnificent ears

Pluto shows off his magnificent ears

Arfa gets to grips with an especially chewy blade of grass…

Arfa gets to grips with an especially chewy blade of grass…

…and tries out for 'longest tongue' — you need to try a bit harder, Arfa!

…and tries out for ‘longest tongue’ — you need to try a bit harder, Arfa!

Collections in Scotland: PJ and Belle heading to Spain; and Teko and Lola relocating to Surrey and South Wales

Animalcouriers delivered the six cats from Cyprus — Aslan, Boo, Pepper, Scat, Mia and Kara — to their temporary cattery in the Durham area, then continued north into Scotland. We reunited personal protection dog Omar with his family in South Lanarkshire, and delivered young Dolly to her ecstatic new owners at their picturesque home in Fife.

The first passengers to join us on the journey back down south were PJ and Belle. These two lovely characters will be travelling all the way to Spain with us to join their owners, Lesley and David, on the Mijas Costa. PJ and Belle met us in the delightful village of Echt, near Aberdeen, where Lesley and David used to run the shop and post office before leaving for Spain. The dogs were escorted by their granny Anne and family friend Linda. Both ladies fancied hitching a lift towards the warmer climes themselves, but unfortunately we’ll be a bit full on our continental trip!

Before leaving Scotland we also called in to Livingstone at the request of Corgi Rescue to collect Teko and Lola. Unfortunately a change in personal circumstances means their owner can no longer take care of them, so asked Corgi Rescue to help find suitable new Corgi-friendly homes for them. Teko is heading to Surrey and Lola’s new home is in South Wales.

Dolly received a super-warm welcome and quickly started to settle in

Dolly received a super-warm welcome and quickly started to settle in

Dolly meeting resident cat Lucky

Dolly meeting resident cat Lucky

PJ with Anne (L), Belle with Linda (R)

 

A closer look at Belle in a lovely ray of Scottish sunshine

A closer look at Belle in a lovely ray of Scottish sunshine

PJ shows us his cute button nose

PJ shows us his cute button nose

Teko (L) and tricolour Lola (R)

Teko (L) and tricolour Lola (R)

Wide sunny skies as we cross the Firth of Forth — the unseasonably warm weather is giving Belle and PJ a chance to acclimatise, ready for Spain!

Wide sunny skies as we cross the Firth of Forth — the unseasonably warm weather is giving Belle and PJ a chance to acclimatise, ready for Spain!

No, not Dutch tulips — Scottish daffodils!

No, not Dutch tulips — Scottish daffodils!

Six cats relocate from North Cyprus, and two German Shepherds head to Scotland

Aslan, Boo, Pepper, Scat, Mia and Kara flew in from North Cyprus to London Heathrow. This family of six cats are now on their way to Durham, in the north of England, with Animalcouriers. They’ll stay at a cattery for a few days until their owners arrive to collect them.

Also on board is Omar, a handsome German Shepherd Dog from South Lanarkshire. Trained as a personal protection dog for his owner and her family. Following a refresher course with K9 Protector near Bath, this beautifully behaved boy is now on his way home to Scotland.

German Shepherd puppy Dolly is also travelling with us to Scotland. This delightful five-month-old is on her way from Surrey to her new home in Fife. She’s finding the whole journey business a bit puzzling, but a romp and a cuddle soon put her mind at rest.

Gorgeous ginger lion Aslan

Gorgeous ginger lion Aslan

Pretty tortie Boo

Pretty tortie Boo

Lovely ginger-and-white Pepper

Lovely ginger-and-white Pepper

Handsome black-and-white Scat

Handsome black-and-white Scat

Snuggly black-and-white Mia

Snuggly black-and-white Mia

Slinky black Kara

Slinky black Kara

Handsome Omar relaxing in the evening sun

Handsome Omar relaxing in the evening sun

Here's Dolly enjoying playtime in courier M's garden and getting used to a lead for the first time. She'll doubtless have courier M trained in no time!

Here’s Dolly enjoying playtime in courier M’s garden and getting used to a lead for the first time. She’ll doubtless have courier M trained in no time!

Close-up on young pup Dolly

Close-up on young pup Dolly

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

Sophia, Chiara and Georgia travel with us from the UK to France

Animalcouriers set off from the UK with three tabby cats on board, Sophia, Chiara and Georgia. They belong to Roger and his family, who have moved from a very rural location in Kent to an equally rural location near Montcuq in France.

All three cats are quite senior ladies, around 18 years young, so Roger asked us to transport them on a dedicated journey so that they wouldn’t be disturbed by any other pets.

We’re glad to report that all three took to travelling like pros and arrived in great spirits.

Roger with Sophia, Chiara and Georgia at their new home in France

Roger with Sophia, Chiara and Georgia at their new home in France

Displaying typical cat behaviour, instinctively wary of new events and surroundings, this tabby trio stalked around the room, orienting themselves and assessing for danger at the same time

Displaying typical cat behaviour, instinctively wary of new events and surroundings, this tabby trio stalked around the room, orienting themselves and assessing for danger at the same time

Roger and family had gone on ahead with their dogs and were waiting to welcome the cats and help them to settle in with familiar scents and sounds. Looks like the pets have a lovely rural area to romp in.

Roger and family had gone on ahead with their dogs and were waiting to welcome the cats and help them to settle in with familiar scents and sounds. Looks like the pets have a lovely rural area to romp in.

UK reunions for Bunch, Boxoh, Bilia and Dusty

Animalcouriers reunited the irrepressible Bunch with his owner, Lorenzo, in Winchester. They’d been apart for two months, so were understandably very pleased to see each other! There was an equally rapturous welcome for Boxoh and Bilia from their owners Lila and her family, at their new home in Basingstoke.

Meanwhile, Lisa called in at our Surrey base to collect Dusty. This lovely puss has been a complete star, seeming to enjoy the attentions of two resident pet-loving youngsters.

Pug Bunch, obeying Lorenzo's instruction to look at the camera

Pug Bunch, obeying Lorenzo’s instruction to look at the camera

The inseparable Bilia and Boxoh with Lila

The inseparable Bilia and Boxoh with Lila

The kids reluctantly allow Dusty to go home with Lisa

The kids reluctantly allow Dusty to go home with Lisa

At Animalcouriers we like to start training them while they're young… here's courier D's youngest helping to clean one of our vans

At Animalcouriers we like to start training them while they’re young… here’s courier D’s youngest helping to clean one of our vans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wonderfully bright poppies

Wonderfully bright poppies

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Daisies are hard to beat for that spring-time feeling

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

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

Mimosa (we think)

Mimosa (we think)

Traffic jam in the mountains

Traffic jam in the mountains

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

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

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

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

Ancient-looking paintings inside

Ancient-looking paintings inside

Some paintings were made directly on the stonework

Some paintings were made directly on the stonework

Graffiti at the church's entranceway

Graffiti at the church’s entranceway

Eugenia's friend arrives with Pouca

Eugenia’s friend arrives with Pouca

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Handsome black-and-white Blair

Handsome black-and-white Blair

Gorgeous Russian Blue Putin

Gorgeous Russian Blue Putin

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

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

A colourful sight that brightens up a somewhat grey day

A colourful sight that brightens up a somewhat grey day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Proof that in Switzerland Easter eggs actually grow on trees

Proof that in Switzerland Easter eggs actually grow on trees

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

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

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

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