News of recent passengers, and Christmas comes early for Mal

Ian, Jackie and Mal have all been in touch recently with updates about their dogs and cats who travelled with Animalcouriers on recent road trips.

But first, here’s a reunion between tortoise Max, who travelled with us from Zurich, and homeboarded with us until Jim and his son James could call in and collect him.

Little Max has a beautiful shell

Little Max has a beautiful shell

A cuddle for Max, to show how much they missed him

A cuddle for Max, to show how much they missed him

Dexter was a holiday romance, adopted by Ian and Pat on the Greek island of Lesvos. Rebecca from Lesvos Stray Dog and Cat Adoptions took care of Dexter until he could travel to the UK.

Life continues to be a hard struggle for Dexter — not! says Ian. Dexter is now part of a three-dog household, living with Nell and Honor.

Life continues to be a hard struggle for Dexter — not! says Ian. Dexter is now part of a three-dog household, living with Nell and Honor.

Dogs Tina and Fizzy, and cats Panda and Chiki, travelled with us from Gandesa in Spain to join Jackie at the new family home in Cumbria. Jackie wrote to say:

“I would like to thank you and your great team for the safe arrival of my family. The gang are settling in beautifully. Tina has claimed the chair, Panda and Chiki the settee, with a limited amount of space for Fizzy at one end and me at the other. Tina and Fizzy also soon established their claim to the bed.”

Tina on the chair

Tina on the chair

Chiki and Panda on the settee

Chiki and Panda on the settee

…leaving just enough room for Fizzy at the end

…leaving just enough room for Fizzy at the end

Tina and Fizzy on the bed

Tina and Fizzy on the bed

And finally, good news from Mal, whose 22 cats and two birds relocated with Animalcouriers from the Lot-et-Garonne in France to Lincolnshire. When we delivered Mal’s pets in early November, the cattery was just being finished off. Unfortunately, a small part of the roof wasn’t completely secure, and Brandy managed to squeeze his way out and made a run for it.

Mal went looking for Brandy in the fields every day, and set a trap in the woods as someone told her they’d seen him there. Finally, a few night ago, Mal heard a loud meow in her garden, and went outside to look. Mal picks up the story:

“I went outside and kept hearing the meowing sound, went around the garden for half an hour, calling Brandy, but thought 100 to 1 against it would actually be him. Then I got a look and it was Brandy! It took another 15 minutes to get near him and grab him. He struggled, but I held on for dear life as I wasn’t losing him again. He was thin and tired but when I put him in the outside run, he still tried to climb up the wire. I got him down, wrapped him in a blanked, then gave him a little food. The next day I wormed him and treated him for fleas before putting him back in with Soda. I’m so happy to have him back. It’s been seven weeks and I feel so much better now he is back.”

Brandy safely home — and here are a few of his 21 feline chums…

Brandy safely home — and here are a few of his 21 feline chums…

All stretched out

All stretched out

Black-and-white babies

Black-and-white babies

Plenty of climbing opportunities

Plenty of climbing opportunities

And that just leaves us to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and all the very best for 2016 — thank you for keeping us such great company on the road!

We’re planning a bit of fun in the new year so please be sure to keep an eye out for our next post…

Collecting Pedro, Flash, Chiqui, Panda, Fizzy, Tina and Romero as we head north through Spain

Animalcouriers spent the night at a delightful farmhouse B&B to the north of Valencia, then headed off to Casa Antigua kennels and cattery to meet two cats, Pedro and Flash. They travelled by ferry from Ibiza to Denia, where Mel from Casa Antigua met them, then put them up for the night.

Our B&B outside Valencia — the citrus fruit season is in full swing in Spain

Our B&B outside Valencia — the citrus fruit season is in full swing in Spain

Darling Pedro is on his way to join his owner in Berkshire

Darling Pedro is on his way to join his owner in Berkshire

Young Flash is well named — no way is he standing still for a second to have his photo taken! He's on his way to Lancashire.

Young Flash is well named — no way is he standing still for a second to have his photo taken! He’s on his way to Lancashire.

Jackie and her family have moved back to Cumbria from Gandesa, and left their four pets — Chiqui, Panda, Tina and Fizzy — in the temporary care of old friends of Animalcouriers, Les and Bill.

Les was away at a Christmas market, so it was left to Bill to demonstrate his dog-wrangling skills

Les was away at a Christmas market, so it was left to Bill to demonstrate his dog-wrangling skills

Gorgeous Chiqui

Gorgeous Chiqui

A faraway look in Panda's eyes

A faraway look in Panda’s eyes

Fizzy (seen here) and Tina decided to take a tour of our van

Fizzy (seen here) and Tina decided to take a tour of our van

Tina quite sure she can signal while Fizzy puts a paw on the pedal

Tina quite sure she can signal while Fizzy puts a paw on the pedal

Fizzy and Tina safely ensconced in their bedroom!

Fizzy and Tina safely ensconced in their bedroom!

Handsome Romero is eight years old and has spent six of those years at the dog pound in Tossa de Mar, near Gerona. The dog pounds in many Spanish towns and cities are always full of dogs who’ve been rounded up off the streets. They’re often in out-of-the-way places, because of the space needed and the noise of the dogs. But that makes rehoming hard, as potential adopters don’t simply pass by. The problem is compounded by the fact that the people running the pounds rarely have the time or resources to run rehoming campaigns.

Romero's luck finally changed when Kate went looking for a dog to adopt and fell for Romero. He's now on his way to join her in Essex.

Romero’s luck finally changed when Kate went looking for a dog to adopt and fell for Romero. He’s now on his way to join her in Essex.

Romero is quite a tall fellow!

Romero is quite a tall fellow!

After collecting Romero we headed over the border into France and spent the night in Narbonne. Our next stop was in Bourges, further north in the Cher, where we woke to a chilly, frosty morning. Bearded dragon Jon Jon is tucked up with extra heat pads!

The fallen leaves looked beautiful in the frost

The fallen leaves looked beautiful in the frost

Fizzy and Tina dashed about, enjoying new smells and the crunchy leaves under their feet

Fizzy and Tina dashed about, enjoying new smells and the crunchy leaves under their feet

Babi wisely stayed cosy in bed

Babi wisely stayed cosy in bed

Pedro fancied a chin tickle…

Pedro fancied a chin tickle…

…as did Panda…

…as did Panda…

…and Floyd

…and Floyd

Panda doing acrobatics

Chiqui doing acrobatics

Lolita is a lovely gentle girl on her walks

Lolita is a lovely gentle girl on her walks

If courier M doesn't hurry up, Romero reckons he'll have to try jumping out!

If courier M doesn’t hurry up, Romero reckons he’ll have to try jumping out!

He's actually very sedate for a big chap

He’s actually very sedate for a big chap

Pretty blonde Rubia patiently waiting her turn

Pretty blonde Rubia patiently waiting her turn

Plenty of festive spirit at the Ibis hotel in Calais, and the usual warm welcome from Greg, who always asks after the pets travelling with us

Plenty of festive spirit at the Ibis hotel in Calais, and the usual warm welcome from Greg, who always asks after the pets travelling with us

 

Babi, Jon Jon, Allen, Floyd and Rubia get on board in Portugal and Spain; and Mia is reunited

Animalcouriers stayed the night in Alcacer do Sal in Portugal, where we were lucky enough to get a bargain rate at the local pousada. Portuguese pousadas are similar to Spain’s paradors and, like the paradors, many are ancient buildings which have been sympathetically restored.

Our accommodation in Alcacer do Sal — a 15th century former monastery

Our accommodation in Alcacer do Sal — a 15th century former monastery

Two characters wondering if there was room in our van!

Two characters wondering if there was room in our van!

A very seasonal image on the side of the chapel

A very seasonal image on the side of the chapel

Santa on his rounds

Santa on his rounds

We collected lovely black cat Babi from Ana’s mum, who’s been looking after Babi since Ana relocated to the UK. Now that Ana has found a home and settled in, it’s time for Babi to join her.

Ana's sweet black cat Babi

Ana’s sweet black cat Babi

In the Algarve we met up with Sam, his neighbour Charlie, and Sam’s bearded dragon Jon Jon. Sam and Jon Jon are heading home to Essex for Christmas, and will then travel back to Portugal in March, in time for the start of the surfing season.

Sam (L) and his neighbour Charlie

Sam (L) and his neighbour Charlie

Handsome Jon Jon is very low maintenance — his favourite foods are worms and rocket

Handsome Jon Jon is very low maintenance — his favourite foods are worms and rocket

We stopped for elevenses and couldn't resist a traditional Portuguese custard tart

We stopped for elevenses and couldn’t resist a traditional Portuguese custard tart

Next stop was to reunite gorgeous cat Mia with Angela and her husband in the Cadiz area.

Mia started meowing with pleasure as soon as she heard familiar voices

Mia started meowing with pleasure as soon as she heard familiar voices

Such a happy reunion

Such a happy reunion

We have double luck on this trip as we now have two black cats on board! In Malaga we met up with Allen who’s travelling with us to Brentwood.

Slinky Allen, getting nicely settled in

Slinky Allen, getting nicely settled in

Gorgeous hound Rubia is travelling to the UK with feline chum Floyd, who is devoted to Rubia.

Floyd would like to have shared a bedroom with Rubia

Floyd would like to have shared a bedroom with Rubia

Rubia enjoying an early walk in the morning sunshine

Rubia enjoying an early walk in the morning sunshine

Even Jon Jon got to enjoy the sun — we left the van door open while dog walking, so that he could feel the warmth on his face

Even Jon Jon got to enjoy the sun — we left the van door open while dog walking, so that he could feel the warmth on his face

We couldn't drive past Nerja without popping in to see Oscar (and John and Margaret). Oscar was so excited, bouncing and running around. We were glad to see him in such good form, as he's just got over a nasty time with a tumour in his paw.

We couldn’t drive past Nerja without popping in to see Oscar (and John and Margaret). Oscar was so excited, bouncing and running around. We were glad to see him in such good form, as he’s just got over a nasty time with a tumour in his paw.

We met New Zealanders Mike and Joy with their lovely young dog Lolita in La Herradura. With family and grandchildren beckoning, they’re heading back to their homeland. Lolita is going to board at partner kennels near us until early February, so that we  can oversee the preliminary tests and treatments required for dogs to enter New Zealand. Mike and Joy are taking advantage of a dog-free time to visit places in Europe they want to see, before they fly off.

Joy, Lolita and Mike on a wonderfully sunny beach near their Spanish home

Joy, Lolita and Mike on a wonderfully sunny beach near their Spanish home

Rubia also enjoyed that sunny beach

Rubia also enjoyed that sunny beach

Reunions in Spain for Cloud, Dory and Kurco, and we enjoy a night on the Camino de Santiago

Animalcouriers spent the night just outside the southern French town of Narbonne, where the dogs enjoyed countryside walks.

Cloud enjoying a morning walk in Narbonne

Cloud enjoying a morning walk in Narbonne

Dory also enjoyed a morning walk alongside a vineyard

Dory also enjoyed a morning walk alongside a vineyard

Misty gets a cuddle from courier M

Misty gets a cuddle from courier M

Here's Kurco with an exceptionally waggy tail!

Here’s Kurco with an exceptionally waggy tail!

After walks and breakfast, we set off for the north-western Spanish city of Santander, to reunite little Westie Cloud with Jose.

A very happy Cloud, with an equally happy Jose

A very happy Cloud, with an equally happy Jose

We then headed to Vigo, where Patrick and Saehee very kindly met us at the airport, which made delivering Dory a much quicker and easier experience for us. Patrick is very interested in this part of Spain and is here to write thrillers. We’re sure he’ll have plenty of stimulating moments as he explores the area.

Saehee and Patrick delighted to have Dory back with them

Saehee and Patrick delighted to have Dory back with them

Special neck nuzzles for Saehee

Special neck nuzzles for Saehee

We spent the night at Allariz in Galicia, where we enjoyed a magnificent view and found ourselves close to the end of the Camino de Santiago — the pilgrimage route from France to the shrine of St James the Great, in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

A castle poking its head out of the mist

A castle poking its head out of the mist

In the distance, the Vilanova bridge, which has carried pilgrims since it was built in the 12th century. We walked a little way along it and discovered a way stone, piles of other stones with icons etched into them, a magnificent flagged pathway and the parish church. No doubt a welcome resting place for tired feet, as pilgrims will have walked 128,930 kms by this point!

In the distance, the Vilanova bridge, which has carried pilgrims since it was built in the 12th century. We walked a little way along it and discovered a way stone, piles of other stones with icons etched into them, a magnificent flagged pathway and the parish church. No doubt a welcome resting place for tired feet, as pilgrims will have walked 128,930 kms by this point!

The Vilanova bridge crosses the Arnoia river, and the parish church is just behind

The Vilanova bridge crosses the Arnoia river, and the parish church is just behind

You can just make out the steps up to the top of the bell tower of the church for whoever has to ring the bell

You can just make out the steps up to the top of the bell tower of the church for whoever has to ring the bell

The pilgrim trail heading down to the river

The pilgrim trail heading down to the river

An elevated food store, designed to protect the contents from rodents feasting on winter supplies

An elevated food store, designed to protect the contents from rodents feasting on winter supplies

All in all, a perfect spot for dog walking — here's courier M with Kurco

All in all, a perfect spot for dog walking — here’s courier M with Kurco

A reminder about clearing up after your dog

A reminder about clearing up after your dog

Today we continued on to Plasencia in Extremadura, a province in western Spain, to deliver Kurco to his grandma. Now it’s full steam ahead to Almada in Portugal.

Kurco and his abuela were over the moon at seeing each other

Kurco and his abuela were over the moon at seeing each other

Heading through France with Rikki, Cloud, Misty, Kurco, Dory, Mia and Tigger

Animalcouriers has set off on a pre-Christmas trip to southern Europe. We left the UK with seven well loved pets on board: four dogs and three cats.

Tabby cat Rikki is a suave fellow from Wales, who's heading to the Carcassonne area in south-west France to join Mark.

Tabby cat Rikki is a suave fellow from Wales, who’s heading to the Carcassonne area in south-west France to join Mark.

Cute Westie Cloud belongs to Aurora and Jose. The whole family is returning from the UK to Santander on the north-west coast of Spain.

Cute Westie Cloud belongs to Aurora and Jose. The whole family is returning from the UK to Santander on the north-west coast of Spain.

Black Cockerpoo Misty was bred in Colchester and has an excited new owner waiting in the Spanish city of Elche. (Sorry about the photo, it's so hard to do justice to black pets against dark backgrounds!)

Black Cockerpoo Misty was bred in Colchester and has an excited new owner waiting in the Spanish city of Elche. (Sorry about the photo, it’s so hard to do justice to black pets against dark backgrounds!)

Courier Mike collected lovely Kurco in Preston and he homeboarded with courier J for a few nights before we set off. Kurco travelled from Spain to the UK with us in December 2012, and now it's time for him, along with his owners Immaculada and Jose, to head back to Plasencia.

Courier Mike collected lovely Kurco in Preston and he homeboarded with courier J for a few nights before we set off. Kurco travelled from Spain to the UK with us in December 2012, and now it’s time for him, along with his owners Immaculada and Jose, to head back to Plasencia.

Fluffy little Dory is travelling from Dorset to join Patrick in Vigo. Patrick, an author, is looking forward to being inspired by Spain.

Fluffy little Dory is travelling from Dorset to join Patrick in Vigo. Patrick, an author, is looking forward to being inspired by Spain.

Mia is travelling from the Dorset area to Chiclana de la Frontera in the province of Cadiz. Here are Angela (and her husband) wishing Mia a good trip — they'll be waiting for her in Spain.

Mia is travelling from the Dorset area to Chiclana de la Frontera in the province of Cadiz. Here are Angela (and her husband) wishing Mia a good trip — they’ll be waiting for her in Spain.

A closer look at gorgeous Mia

A closer look at gorgeous Mia

Like Kurco, handsome ginger tabby Tigger homeboarded with Animalcouriers for a few days, as his owner went on ahead to Alicante. He'll be waiting for Tigger with his favourite nosh, as Tigger isn't too keen on eating while we travel. We're doing our best to tempt him with Spanish sardines, so who knows!

Like Kurco, handsome ginger tabby Tigger homeboarded with Animalcouriers for a few days, as his owner went on ahead to Alicante. He’ll be waiting for Tigger with his favourite nosh, as Tigger isn’t too keen on eating while we travel. We’re doing our best to tempt him with Spanish sardines, so who knows!

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

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

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!