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

Hia flies in from Korea; and Dexter and Lucy head to France for the summer

Beautiful little Hia (short for Hyena) had a long journey from Korea to the UK. She left Korea at 08.00am and arrived in Paris 11 hours later. On the flight she sat next to her human mum, and was as good as gold. Animalcouriers collected Hia in Paris and drove her to Calais, where we boarded the Eurotunnel, courier S ensuring plenty of pampering along the way for this little girl. On arrival in the UK it was a short hop to Hia’s new home in Surrey to be reunited with her family. It’s all very exciting as a new baby is due in just a few months.

A few days later courier S was back on the road with Border Collie brother and sister Dexter and Lucy. These very frequent travellers are heading from their home in London to their summer home in Avignon. A perfect pair of angels, these two dogs are completely at ease with the routine of travelling. They know when to lie back and enjoy the ride, when to smile at customs, and when to rush around and make the most of our comfort breaks.

Hia shows us her beautiful profile

Hia shows us her beautiful profile

Lovely Lucy enjoys the fresh air

Lovely Lucy enjoys the fresh air

Dashing Dexter enjoys a rest on the grass

Dashing Dexter enjoys a rest on the grass

Lucy and Dexter were so excited when they arrived, that after a cursory lick of the hand to say goodbye, they went tearing off to reaquaint themselves with the sights and smells of their Provencal home

Lucy and Dexter were so excited when they arrived, that after a cursory lick of the hand to say goodbye, they went tearing off to reaquaint themselves with the sights and smells of their Provencal home

A classic Provence scene — a lavender-lined driveway

A classic Provence scene — a lavender-lined driveway

And where you find lavender, you often find sunflowers, too

And where you find lavender, you often find sunflowers, too

Heading to France with Bibi, Digger, Kizzy and Icarus

While couriers J and M continue their journey through Italy towards Greece, courier S crossed to France via Eurotunnel yesterday lunchtime.

Travelling with Animalcouriers from Exeter are Labrador trio Bibi, Digger and Kizzy. This mother, son and daughter are off to start a fantastic new life with their owners in Normandy. They’re a bouncy bunch but, in true Labrador style, food and a fair bit of sleep are their favourite things!

Crete-born Icarus has been living in the beautiful English city of Bath for a few months, and now he and his owner are heading back to their Cretan paradise. Animalcouriers drove them to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport for their flight to Athens, where they’ll catch a connecting flight to Crete — all in all, a journey of precisely 24 hours.

On leaving Paris, Courier S and the three Labs headed towards the Chantilly area with its wonderful woodlands and royal parks, where we had delightful after-dinner walks and spent the night.

Labrador family Bibi with son Digger and daughter Kizzy

Labrador family Bibi with son Digger and daughter Kizzy

Icarus on board with Animalcouriers

Icarus on board with Animalcouriers

Mum Bibi dines in peace al fresco, away from the ravenous kids!

Mum Bibi dines in peace al fresco, away from the ravenous kids!

Kizzy chilling out on her woodland walk

Kizzy chilling out on her woodland walk

Digger is keen to enter the 'longest tongue' award

Digger is keen to enter the ‘longest tongue’ award

Icarus reckons he can beat any dog hands (paws?) down in that competition!

Icarus reckons he can beat any dog hands (paws?) down in that competition!

Melissa, Stella, Dimos, Carmel and Zorba fly from Athens to Paris

This morning Animalcouriers were up bright and early to collect five dogs at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport who’ve undertaken their own odyssey to reach their new homes in the UK.

Kiki, Martha and the rest of the Filozoikos team were up just as early, getting the dogs ready for their flight. As usual, every dog was sporting his or her own personal ‘good luck’ collar and bow, lovingly made by Martha.

A stately procession of dogs in travel boxes, accompanied by Nell and Alex

A stately procession of dogs in travel boxes, accompanied by Nell and Alex

All the travel boxes were on the large side, so we worked a shuttle between the arrivals hall upstairs and the carpark downstairs.

All the travel boxes were on the large side, so we worked a shuttle between the arrivals hall upstairs and the carpark downstairs.

All the dogs were secure on leads and ready to jump out as their travel boxes were opened

All the dogs were secure on leads and ready to jump out as their travel boxes were opened

Were were pleased to see Melissa again, having met her in Athens just a few weeks ago. She seemed to 'know' the Animalcouriers van and hopped right in

Were were pleased to see Melissa again, having met her in Athens just a few weeks ago. She seemed to ‘know’ the Animalcouriers van and hopped right in

Melissa is a real softie, kept rolling over for tummy tickles from courier R when he bent down to talk to her

Melissa is a real softie, kept rolling over for tummy tickles from courier R when he bent down to talk to her

Stella is the biggest and most glamorous dog on the trip. She was all ready for a Paris shopping spree — new handbag, shoes, gloves, the lot!

Stella is the biggest and most glamorous dog on the trip. She was all ready for a Paris shopping spree — new handbag, shoes, gloves, the lot!

Carmel arrived in style, very lively (hence the blurry photo!). Nell says they could hear her barking while they were waiting to get off the plane — woof, woof, where's my red carpet? We had one ready outside the terminal, natch!

Carmel arrived in style. Nell says they could hear her barking while they were waiting to get off the plane — woof, woof, where’s my red carpet? We had one ready outside the terminal, natch!

Everyone had been a bit worried about Dimos travelling, but his behaviour was exemplary — one cool dude, as though flying was something he did every day

Everyone had been a bit worried about Dimos travelling, but his behaviour was exemplary — one cool dude, as though flying was something he did every day

Dimos sets off for a short walk and a nose around

Dimos sets off for a short walk and a nose around

Zorba the Greek — now Zorba the Brit — comes back from a short walk with Nell and Alex

Zorba the Greek — now Zorba the Brit — comes back from a short walk with Nell and Alex

Nell pops Zorba into his compartment in our van — in he went, good as gold

Nell pops Zorba into his compartment in our van — in he went, good as gold