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!

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

Cat and dog reunions as our Italian trip reaches the UK

When we reached Dover, Donna was at the port waiting to be reunited with Heidi and Bob, who went completely crazy when they saw her.

Once back at our Surrey base, Jacky’s new owner arrived to collect her — a fantastic first meeting with both parties completely delighted.

Then it was Uma’s turn. This 15-year-old puss, whose journey started in Switzerland, was collected by her owner’s mum who’ll be taking care of Uma until she moves to Dublin with Jo.

Meanwhile, Whippet Mucha was back in his owner’s arms after just a couple of days apart.

Young Jacky tries out for the 'longest tongue' competition

Young Jacky tries out for the ‘longest tongue’ competition

Nina shows off her purr-fect looks

Nina shows off her purr-fect looks

Ubasti reckons having poorly leg means she deserves more treats

Ubasti reckons having poorly leg means she deserves more treats

Cooper looking his handsome best in the dappled sunlight on our last evening walk on French soil

Cooper looking his handsome best in the dappled sunlight on our last evening walk on French soil

He truly is a gentle giant!

He truly is a gentle giant!

Donna was thrilled to welcome Heidi and Bob at Dover. The yellow sleeve belongs to the port's animal health inspector who was there to witness the arrival of these two very happy dogs.

Donna was thrilled to welcome Heidi and Bob at Dover. The yellow sleeve belongs to the port’s animal health inspector who was there to witness the arrival of these two very happy dogs.

Jacky with her new owner

Jacky with her new owner

Uma being collected by Jo's mum

Uma being collected by Jo’s mum

Mucha getting a big hug

Mucha getting a big hug

Our European trip is underway at last, with Arfa, Guiseppe, Cookies, Chipie, Pod, Shadow, Emie and Eluka

The latest Animalcouriers trip to Europe finally got started last night, after a stop-start sort of a day. We reached Dover to find that P&O had made a considered decision to stop taking pets on their freight route. That left us feeling somewhat panicky until we had a chat with them at their Dover office, from which we came away feeling pleased and relieved to know that P&O still consider Animalcouriers an account partner, and that we could therefore get on board with our precious cargo.

Travelling with us are some wonderful dogs and cats including Staffie Arfa, who’s heading back to Spain with us. He originally travelled on one of our UK-bound trips last summer, and was a hot and stressed lad when we collected him. We had to call in at a garage and hose him down with cold water, as he was over-ventilating from anxiety. He soon cooled down and chilled out, and was right as rain and best mates with us by the time we delivered him to Matt in Kent.

Handsome Daxie Guiseppe belongs to Linda and Alejandro. They are off to live and work in Murcia in Spain, and Guiseppe is travelling with us to join them. He’s very well behaved, enjoys his walks, and loves a nap. Linda was a bit worried about him but we feel there is no need!

Very bonded pair Cookies and Chipie are travelling with us to France, as their owners are leaving Brighton and returning to Florensac in the Languedoc region. Grandmère will be meeting us to take these two cuties home.

On the cat front we have gorgeous tabby cat Pod, who arrived a day or so before we left. He’s off to join his family who are moving to the Gers region of France. While they get their new home ready, Pod will be staying with Jennifer at the Chatil de Lomagne cattery in the Garonne.

Little black Shadow, who belongs to Antonio, is also on board. Antonio is off to live in Seville in Spain, and Shadow is going on ahead to join Antonio’s girlfriend Victoria.

Lovely feline duo Emie and Eluka are heading to the Grenoble area of France. We are working with our partners Airpets to provide them with a road trip. Emie and Eluka were originally due to travel last month, but it was discovered on the handing-in day at Airpets that their rabies vaccinations had expired, so it’s been a three-week wait until they could be on their way.

Owing to the delay in crossing the Channel, we only made it as far as Cambrai (in Nord Pas de Calais) last night, so today will be quite a long one.

Arfa arrives with Matt's son Hayley — Arfa making an early bid for 'longest tongue)

Arfa arrives with Matt’s son Harley — Arfa making an early bid for ‘longest tongue)

Arfa gets greeted by resident dogs Billywhizz and Pugsley on his arrival

Arfa gets greeted by resident dogs Billywhizz and Pugsley on his arrival

Guiseppe arrives with Linda and Alejandro — lots of goodbye cuddles

Guiseppe arrives with Linda and Alejandro — lots of goodbye cuddles

Gentle Giant Pod…

Gentle Giant Pod…

…homeboarded with us for a couple of nights on the run-up to our trip

…homeboarded with us for a couple of nights on the run-up to our trip

Pod all settled in for the journey

Pod all settled in for the journey

Sweet Bichon Chipie with best pal Cookies, who's clearly heard about the longest tongue competition. Keep practising, Cookies!

Sweet Bichon Chipie with best pal Cookies, who’s clearly heard about the longest tongue competition. Keep practising, Cookies!

Shadow is a well named beautiful little black cat

Shadow is a well named beautiful little black cat

Emie has beautiful blue eyes

Emie has beautiful blue eyes

Eluka (here) and Emie (above) are a very relaxed pair of travellers

Eluka (here) and Emie (above) are a very relaxed pair of travellers

Arfa takes an early morning stroll on French soil

Arfa takes an early morning stroll on French soil

Guiseppe enjoys a good snuffle about…

Guiseppe enjoys a good snuffle about…

…then settles down for a nap while we do chores — alright for some!

…then settles down for a nap while we do chores — alright for some!

Minnie, Daisy, Rafiki and Mushy swap Glasgow for Geneva

It was an early morning wake-up call in Glasgow for this family of four dogs. They’re travelling with Animalcouriers to Geneva in Switzerland, where their owners are eagerly awaiting their arrival. They’ve been staying with relatives for a year and a half, so we expect it will be a very happy and excited reunion.

They’re a well travelled quartet, having lived in England, Vietnam and Scotland, and are proving to be good company on the journey — Courier S has nicknamed them the Brady Bunch! Tonight it’s a stopover in the Dover area of England before catching the Eurotunnel in the morning.

Mushy

Mushy

Rafiki

Rafiki

Daisy

Daisy

Minnie

Minnie

Safe arrival in Dover, and the first happy reunions

Animalcouriers crossed from Calais to Dover last night and the first reunions took place today: Eleni, Wendy and Eugenio.

Eleni from the Filozoikos shelter in Athens meets her new family — Chris, Jodie and Ruby

Eleni from the Filozoikos shelter in Athens meets her new family — Chris, Jodie and Ruby

Wendy from Italy gives her mum a very enthusiastic greeting

Wendy from Italy gives her mum a very enthusiastic greeting

Eugenio from Italian Setter Rescue meets his new family. He was found wandering the streets back in 2009 and has been looking for a new home ever since. He is a friendly and well behaved dog — for which a lot of credit must go to Flavia and her colleagues at the shelter.

Eugenio from Italian Setter Rescue meets his new family. He was found wandering the streets back in 2009 and has been looking for a new home ever since. He is a friendly and well behaved dog — for which a lot of credit must go to Flavia and her colleagues at the shelter.

Eugenio meets Merlin, another Setter who is part of his new family

Eugenio meets Merlin, another Setter who is part of his new family

Cathy sorts out Eugenio's harness

Cathy sorts out Eugenio’s harness

We also heard from a very excited Tracey and Martin who have adopted Kenny from Greece. He will have a short stay with our homeboarder, Lyn, next week. Kenny has four doggy sisters waiting to meet him! This is Skye, German Shepherd mum…

We also heard from a very excited Tracey and Martin who have adopted Kenny from Greece. He will have a short stay with our homeboarder, Lyn, next week. Kenny has four doggy sisters waiting to meet him! This is Skye, German Shepherd mum…

…with baby Chiquita, 20 weeks…

…with baby Chiquita, 20 weeks…

…and Whippet sisters, Athena (R) and Breeze (R).

…and Whippet sisters, Athena (R) and Breeze (R).