Fred and Betty swap Zurich for Chiswick

While courier J flew to Athens to meet Milou and Buddy, courier M drove to Switzerland to collect Yana and Stefano’s beloved (big) dogs.

Fred is a Dogue de Bordeaux and Betty Boop is a Great Dane. Both are very friendly and love people, as courier M discovered when he received a rapturous greeting!

The dogs originally moved with their owners from Italy to Switzerland, and now work is taking them to the UK.

Betty has a fine head

Betty has a fine head

Fred has wonderful wrinkles

Fred has wonderful wrinkles

Betty enjoys a walk…

Betty enjoys a walk…

…as does Fred

…as does Fred

Fred considering a 'longest tongue' bid

Fred considering a ‘longest tongue’ bid

Ziggy, Honey, Raj and Islay join our trip to the UK

When couriers M and Mike turned up for their ferry crossing from Italy to Greece, strike action meant a 24-hour delay. To avoid passing that delay on to all our passengers, courier Mike turned back to start collecting UK-bound pets in Italy and France.

Gorgeous Ziggy and her owners have been apart for 10 months. Now it's time for them to be reunited, as Ziggy follows her owners from Rome to South Wales.

Gorgeous Ziggy and her owners have been apart for 10 months. Now it’s time for them to be reunited, as Ziggy follows her owners from Rome to South Wales.

Sweet Honey is relocating from Monte San Savino to Nottinghamshire. Honey was an abandoned puppy in a car park — until Julia turned up. When Julia opened her car door, clever Honey jumped straight in! That was 10 years ago, and now she and Julia are exchanging Italy for the English countryside.

Sweet Honey is relocating from Monte San Savino to Nottinghamshire. Honey was an abandoned puppy in a car park — until Julia turned up. When Julia opened her car door, clever Honey jumped straight in! That was 10 years ago, and now she and Julia are exchanging Italy for the English countryside.

Raj is a gracious older lady, who is travelling from Sabaudia to be reunited with her owner in London.

Raj is a gracious older lady, who is travelling from Sabaudia to be reunited with her owner in London.

Lovely Islay is moving from Grasse in France, and will be catching up with her owners next week in Sussex. Here she is checking out her accommodation for the journey.

Lovely Islay is moving from Grasse in France, and will be catching up with her owners next week in Sussex. Here she is checking out her accommodation for the journey.

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

Leaving the UK with eight cats, six dogs — and a pair of geese!

Two Animalcouriers vans left Portsmouth this afternoon, heading to France. We were a bit disappointed we had to take a daytime ferry, but what with the holiday season being in full swing, and the conditions at Calais being so difficult, the overnight sailings from Portsmouth are all booked up weeks ahead. So we felt fortunate to get a crossing, and relieved that we didn’t have to brave Calais.

On board we have a fantastic set of passengers who are on their way to rejoin their families all over France and Spain.

Glamorous cat Jules was delivered to us by Fraser and his daughter. The family has relocated to France, and we expect to catch up with them tomorrow in Nantes, where they will be very pleased to be reunited with Jules.

Bull Terrier Ianto is travelling with Vienna the cat and brother-and-sister geese Stephen and Kirsty. Courier Joe was a little surprised on arriving to collect them to discover his role included catching the geese first! An hour later, with Stephen and Kirsty secure in a carrier, everyone was on their way. These four well loved pets are all off to join Sam and her family in the Creuse region in central France. It’s the first time Brittany Ferries has been asked to transport pet geese. It was a bit touch and go at first but, in the end, the special permission we needed was granted.

Waterdog Boris has been a regular passenger over the past few years, as he splits his time between London and the Cahors region of France. He’s starting to show a few white whiskers around his muzzle now, but is as exuberant a character as ever.

Feline chums Conan and Gypsy have also travelled with us before — we transported them from Barcelona to the UK a little over a year ago, and now they’re on their way back to Barcelona. Owner Victor has gone on ahead and is very much looking forward to their arrival. Conan and Gypsy were due to stay at a cattery for three weeks until the start of this trip. But when we checked their documents, we discovered their inoculations had run out. Fortunately courier R had space for them in his study. They kept him great company, practising Spanish with him and Googling tortilla recipes on his computer.

Cute Border Collie pup Killibrae Kit is also on board. She’s off to live in Palma, Majorca, with Xanthe, who’s planning to fly into Barcelona where we’ll meet up and hand Kit over. Xanthe and Kit will then travel the rest of the way to Palma together.

Jackadoodle Bailey’s journey started in the Scottish Highlands and will take him all the way to Javea in Spain. He told us he’ll miss Aviemore and the ski season, but is looking forward to enjoying the sun, sea and sand. He’ll spend a day at Casa Antigua kennels and cattery in Denia until Simon and the rest of the family arrive.

Lulu, Fifi and Dave, a fine trio of cats, are travelling with us from Wolverhampton. They’re on their way to join Linda and family who’ve relocated to Alhaurin in the Malaga area of Spain.

Gorgeous Beagle Beau hails from Peebles in Scotland and is on her way to Marbella to join Moe. Beau and Moe travel back and forth between their two homes, so we won’t be surprised to see them again soon!

Character cat Wispa belongs to Philip and family. They’ve moved from Sheffield to Albufeira and now Wispa is on the way to join them in their new home.

Glamorous Golden Retriever Lula is travelling from London to the Haute Savoie region of France in one of our smaller vans with courier H. Not only does her owner Jane not want to be parted from her for a moment longer than necessary; it also saves the rest of us a detour eastward and so avoids compromising the length of the journey for the other pets we have on board.

Jules is a real stunner with a beautiful colour coat

Jules is a real stunner with a beautiful colour coat

Vienna takes to travelling like a pro

Vienna takes to travelling like a pro

Ianto making out he's a bit shy about having his photo taken

Ianto making out he’s a bit shy about having his photo taken

Stephen and Kirsty are a very bonded pair

Stephen and Kirsty are a very bonded pair

Boris the Waterdog — sorry it's not a great photo, we'll try again soon!

Boris the Waterdog — sorry it’s not a great photo, we’ll try again soon!

Fluffball Conan and black-and-white Gypsy — we did enjoy having these two to stay

Fluffball Conan and black-and-white Gypsy — we did enjoy having these two to stay

Lovely young Border Collie Killibrae Kit — who could resist those puppy dog eyes!

Lovely young Border Collie Killibrae Kit — who could resist those puppy dog eyes!

A winsome look from Jackadoodle Bailey

A winsome look from Jackadoodle Bailey

Black beauty Fifi, travelling with…

Black beauty Fifi, travelling with…

…gorgeous floofy Lulu and

…gorgeous floofy Lulu and

… handsome Dave — here he is telling courier J all about what Fifi and Lulu get up to

… handsome Dave — here he is telling courier J all about what Fifi and Lulu get up to

Ooh, that moment when you just have to have a chin rub!

Ooh, that moment when you just have to have a chin rub!

Beau is an exceptionally pretty Beagle

Beau is an exceptionally pretty Beagle

Wispa is a very charming character cat

Wispa is a very charming character cat

Lovely Lula who'll soon be reunited with Jane

Lovely Lula who’ll soon be reunited with Jane

Collecting Nacho, Jack Sparrow, Charlie, Carmella and Zeva in Italy

The ferry from the Greek port of Igoumenitsa to Italy arrived late, and our favourite hotel in Ancona was already fully booked. We had to work quite hard to find an alternative that offered secure parking and somewhere to walk the dogs. After a couple of false starts, we lucked out with La Cantina di Ale, which ticked all the boxes. At this hotel and pizzeria, the pizzas were wonderful —thin and light with delicious toppings, and such a huge diameter that they have to order special plates to fit!

The next morning we headed to Pescara to collect Nacho, who belongs to Dana and Bruce. They’ve already moved to Scotland, where a tartan welcome mat is doubtless being laid out., So we had a rendezvous with Dana’s sister Laura at the Pescara Ikea to collect Nacho.

From there it was a short hop to Vasto to collect Guisy’s three cats, Jack Sparrow, Charlie and Carmella. Guisy is relocating to London and, of course, her beloved cats are going too. Her Dad and her brother-in-law, Federico, came to see them off.

Our next stop was Genoa to meet up with Zeva, a beautiful Bracco Italiano puppy, bred by Maurice, who was very moved at parting with her. Zeva is off to live in Morpeth with Alex, who’s been waiting more than two months for Zeva to join her.

We were hoping to reach Calais tonight but the holiday traffic in Italy means the roads are choked and everything’s moving very slowly. So we think tomorrow is a more realistic ambition!

Awards on the walls of the Cantina di Ale's breakfast room. And in the kitchen, photos of chefs past and present and all their families. A super place where simplicity and good food prevail.

Awards on the walls of the Cantina di Ale’s breakfast room. And in the kitchen, photos of chefs past and present and all their families. A super place where simplicity and good food prevail.

Our hotel was on the outskirts of Recanati, about which the guides usually say 'Recanati is art, history, culture, music, faith and nature.' This is Palazzo Bello, the summer home of one of Italy's most famous poets, Giacomo Leopardi.

Our hotel was on the outskirts of Recanati, about which the guides usually say ‘Recanati is art, history, culture, music, faith and nature.’ This is Palazzo Bello, the summer home of one of Italy’s most famous poets, Giacomo Leopardi.

A plaque showing the opening stanza of Leopardi's best known work, Zibaldone, which reads, 'Palazzo Bello, a dog's bark in the night, comes from the farmhouse, with the passing traveller... ' Very apt as the farmhouse is now the Cantina di Ale!

A plaque showing the opening stanza of Leopardi’s best known work, Zibaldone, which reads, ‘Palazzo Bello, a dog’s bark in the night, comes from the farmhouse, with the passing traveller… ‘ Very apt as the farmhouse is now the Cantina di Ale!

 

The poor old palazzo really is crumbling away, but provided us with a lovely breezy hill-top walking spot for the dogs. Just as well, as it was already 92F at 7.30am!

The poor old palazzo really is crumbling away, but provided us with a lovely breezy hill-top walking spot for the dogs. Just as well, as it was already 92F at 7.30am!

Amazing what you can get at Ikea these days! Laura and her friend bring us Dana's cat Nacho.

Amazing what you can get at Ikea these days! Laura and her friend bring us Dana’s cat Nacho.

A closer look at friendly Nacho who loves a cuddle

A closer look at friendly Nacho who loves a cuddle

Jack Sparrow and Charlie are great mates

Jack Sparrow and Charlie are great mates

Jack Sparrow has amazing markings around his eyes

Jack Sparrow has amazing markings around his eyes

Handsome ginger-and-white Charlie

Handsome ginger-and-white Charlie

Carmella looking very snuggly in her bed

Carmella looking very snuggly in her bed

Maurice saying goodbye to puppy Zeva

Maurice saying goodbye to puppy Zeva

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Lovely Lino shows us his fine profile

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Hector always seems to have a smile on his face

Sammy is also a smiley fellow

Sammy is also a smiley fellow

Neo very eager for his walk…

Neo very eager for his walk…

…and relaxing in a spot in the shade

…and relaxing in a spot in the shade

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Randall enjoying the fresh air

A winsome look from cute kitty Willow

A winsome look from cute kitty Willow

We think Gulliver is well named — very alert, always exploring his bedroom, and doubtless ready to research his next trip!

We think Gulliver is well named — very alert, always exploring his bedroom, and doubtless ready to research his next trip!

Zavia is gaining in confidence and happy to have a little chat. We love the ginger detail on her head and nose!

Zavia is gaining in confidence and happy to have a little chat. We love the ginger detail on her head and nose!

Pretty hot out on our walk — Lino was glad to get back for a cool drink of water

Pretty hot out on our walk — Lino was glad to get back for a cool drink of water

Billie is very lively and finds it hard to stand still

Billie is very lively and finds it hard to stand still

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Judi is also a live wire. Here she is in the beautiful shady gardens of the Palazzo Bello

Demetris has 'cute' down to a T

Demetris has ‘cute’ down to a T

Channel hopping with Jimmie, Millie, Ellis, Dooby, Lluvia and Mikey

While couriers J and M completed their return trip from Portugal to the UK, courier Mike was kept busy with a number of short hops across the channel.

Meryl’s cats Jimmie and Millie were due to join an earlier trip from the UK to France, but a problem with their passports meant their travel was delayed. They stayed at a cattery while their owners went on ahead. Once the passports were sorted, Courier Mike collected them from East Sussex and drove them to their new home in the Lot.

Amanda contacted Animalcouriers as she was struggling to get herself and her Persian cat Ellis home to London. She was flying with Air France flight from Canada to Paris, but needed help to make the final leg of the trip to the UK. Courier Mike collected them when they touched down in the early morning at Charles de Gaulle, and drove them to London via Eurotunnel. Amanda wrote to say:

“Thanks for all your help. It’s been a long day, but Mike was fantastic. I spoke with a lot of couriers and what stood out for me about you guys was your communication — it made me feel confident.”

Anna and her three dogs, Dooby, Lluvia and Mikey, flew from Chile to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport — quite a daunting undertaking. There’s the paperwork to sort, getting to the departure airport, checking the dogs in, then arriving tired and jet-lagged to start the entry process into the EU.

Courier Mike met them at the airport and together with Anna got the dogs and their travel boxes, plus luggage, on board. Then it was a nail-biting time at Eurotunnel as the paperwork from Chile was checked. Fortunately all was well, and Anna and her three hounds are now home in Margate. Anna wrote to say:

“I want to thank you and your amazing team for your wonderful service. Courier Mike was waiting at the airport for me, a sight for sore eyes! I have nothing but praise for him — helpful, courteous, knowledgeable about the whole process, reassuring, excellent with the dogs and an all-round star! He delivered us all safe and sound and made the last leg of a tedious and worrying journey an absolute pleasure! The dogs are all happily settled in our new home and are peacefully sleeping right now.”

Meryl and her husband oversee Jimmie and Millie's arrival

Meryl and her husband oversee Jimmie and Millie’s arrival

Out pops one cat…

Out pops one cat…

…and the next, both ready to start exploring their new environment

…and the next, both ready to start exploring their new environment

Amanda at home with Ellis in London

Amanda at home with Ellis in London

Anna's dogs stretch their legs in France after flying in from Chile

Anna’s dogs stretch their legs in France after flying in from Chile

Anna at home in Margate with (L to R) Lluvia, Mikey and Dooby

Anna at home in Margate with (L to R) Lluvia, Mikey and Dooby

Heading to France and Spain with Pluto, Scrumpy, Sirius, Throttle, Mr Bojangles, Byron, Baby, Poppy, Billie, Belle, PJ and Arfa

Animalcouriers set off from the UK with pets on board who are heading to France and Spain. In addition to Belle and PJ, collected in Scotland a couple of days ago, we were joined by a fabulous cast of characters.

Basset Hound Pluto from London is on his way to Madrid to rejoin his family who’ve moved back to Spain. He’s a very determined chap, and very strong. You don’t so much take him for a walk as simply try to steer him in the general direction you want him to go!

Marvellously monikered feline trio Scrumpy, Sirius and Throttle are relocating with their owners from Surrey to the south of France. They’ve been boarding at a cattery owned by Caroline, a niece of the cats’ owners. She was rather sad to see them go as she’s known all of them since they were kittens.

Smart tuxedo cat Mr Bojangles was brought to us from Northern Ireland by his owner. We’re taking him the rest of the way to the Malaga area of Spain, where he and his family are relocating.

Handsome grey cat Byron hails from London and making the journey to the Spanish capital, Madrid. Quite a vocal fellow, he’s also a very friendly puss.

Cute ginger tabby cat Baby got on board in London and is heading to Barcelona in northern Spain; while long-haired stunner Poppy is travelling with us all the way to Gibraltar.

Little Jack Russell Billie was brought to us from the Isle of Wight by Lee. Lee’s been looking after Billie on behalf of his parents, while they relocated to central France. Now Billie’s off to join them.

And finally, we were pleased to see Arfa again — this much loved Staffie is one of our ‘frequent flyers’. He’s off to spend some quality time with his grandparents in Spain.

Pluto deciding to sit down for a bit

Pluto deciding to sit down for a bit

Scrumpy gets a goodbye hug from Caroline

Scrumpy gets a goodbye hug from Caroline

Throttle gets comfy for the journey

Throttle gets comfy for the journey

Sirius is keener to know what's going on all around

Sirius is keener to know what’s going on all around

Mr Bojangles, who's heading to Malaga

Mr Bojangles, who’s heading to Malaga

Chatty Byron — you could get lost in those green eyes!

Chatty Byron — you could get lost in those green eyes!

The very charming Barcelona-bound Baby

The very charming Barcelona-bound Baby

Beautiful long-haired Poppy

Beautiful long-haired Poppy

Jack Russell Billie gets a reassuring cuddle from Lee

Jack Russell Billie gets a reassuring cuddle from Lee

Splendid Arfa, who needs no introduction!

Splendid Arfa, who needs no introduction!

Belle, seen here, and all the other dogs, got a walk in the evening sun in Portsmouth before we boarded the ferry

Belle, seen here, and all the other dogs, got a walk in the evening sun in Portsmouth before we boarded the ferry

PJ tries out for the 'longest tongue' competition

PJ tries out for the ‘longest tongue’ competition

Our first reunion on this trip — Billie back in the arms of her very happy owners

Our first reunion on this trip — Billie back in the arms of her very happy owners

Meet Dexter and Lucy who are on their way to London

Brother and sister Border Collies Dexter and Lucy are taking travel in their stride. Just seven months old, they’re very confident passengers and seem to be enjoying their adventure.

Animalcouriers collected them from their beautiful country villa near Avignon in the south of France, and are transporting them to their London address. These two darlings are set to become ‘frequent flyers’ as they split their time between their two homes, enjoying a very different lifestyle in each.

Lovely Lucy not too approving of the increasing wind and rain as we travel northwards

Lovely Lucy not too approving of the increasing wind and rain as we travel northwards

Dear Dexter's not too keen on the change of weather either — what happened to the blue skies and sunshine?

Dear Dexter’s not too keen on the change of weather either — what happened to the blue skies and sunshine?

Both dogs are kitted out with their favourite beds and blankets…

Both dogs are kitted out with their favourite beds and blankets…

…just perfect for chilling out on the road

…just perfect for chilling out on the road

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

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