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

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!

A family of 22 cats and two birds relocate from France to the UK

Animalcouriers travelled to the Lauzun area in the Lot-et-Garonne to make a very special collection: Mal and Mike’s 22 cats, one Rosy Lovebird and one Cockatiel.

Mal and Mike are relocating to Lincolnshire after living and in France for many years, where they ran a gîte business. They’ve loved every minute of it, but now it’s time to go back to the UK, where family draws them. They’ll miss their lovely local friends, though, several of whom stepped in to help today.

The cats have joined the household over the years, and now that it’s time to leave, not a single one is being left behind.

With so many pets travelling, we couldn’t afford any mistakes or issues with their paperwork. So preparations began several months ago when our good friend Dr Diana James, a British vet in France, did a home visit to meet the cats, microchip them, give them their rabies vaccinations, and organise their passports.

As it’s a big group of pets, we have a Traces certificate for them. Following a health check on Monday, Mal took all the paperwork to the departmental office in Agen, where the certificate was issued.

Given the difficult situation in Calais at the moment, we don’t want to risk getting caught up and delayed. So we’ve chosen to drive to St Malo and take the Condor crossing to Jersey, and from there take the ferry to Poole. The other advantage is that we will be met by the Jersey government vet who will clear the cats for entry into the UK. (This is a Traces requirement.) That will mean there’s no need for a house visit when they reach the mainland.

The cats all have wonderful names. To help us keep track of who's who, Mal sat up all night preparing beautiful hand-made labels for each cat, with photos and a special little notes about each one.

The cats all have wonderful names. To help us keep track of who’s who, Mal sat up all night preparing beautiful hand-made labels for each cat, with photos and a special little notes about each one.

More splendid labels

More splendid labels

Mal and Carina bring us Mozart and Beethoven

Mal and Carina bring us Mozart and Beethoven

Mozart

Mozart

Beethoven

Beethoven

Henry VIII

Henry VIII

Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I

Suzzie

Suzzie

Brandy

Brandy

Soda

Soda

Fleur

Fleur

Donny

Donny

Buster

Buster

Trumpet

Trumpet

Ginger

Ginger

Lou Lou

Lou Lou

Tia Maria

Tia Maria

Muffy and Twizzle

Muffy and Twizzle

Aka

Aka

Elton John

Elton John

Foxy

Foxy

Mischief and Henrietta

Mischief and Henrietta

Jezabelle

Jezabelle

Vanessa with the two birds

Vanessa with the two birds

A very special jug to fill the birds' water bowls!

A very special jug to fill the birds’ water bowls!

Fred the Cockatiel

Fred the Cockatiel

Mal saying goodbye to Rosy Lovebird

Mal saying goodbye to Rosy Lovebird

Everyone settled in for the journey

Everyone settled in for the journey

It took a good couple of hours to get everyone on board. Meet the top team — L to R: Vanessa, who put us up last night, Mal, and Carina. It was a very emotional time for Mal, who is already missing them all and worrying about them.

It took a good couple of hours to get everyone on board. Meet the top team — L to R: Vanessa, who put us up last night, Mal, and Carina. It was a very emotional time for Mal, who is already missing them all and worrying about them.

We leave the UK with three cats; and start our trip back from Greece with 11 dogs, 11 cats, a Macaw and a Chinchilla on board

Couriers M and Mike recently set off on what will be our biggest-ever trip from Greece back to the UK. Luckily we have two vans, each with air conditioning, electrical airflow and comfy compartments for all the pets travelling with us.

A few pets travelled out with us from the UK. Gorgeous Gaia and Lulu, a pair of cats who are almost impossible to tell apart, are moving with Eric to Italy. We dropped them at a cattery in Verona for Eric to collect on his arrival.

Gaia gives us a wink

Gaia gives us a wink

Lulu has a fine 'milk moustache'

Lulu has a fine ‘milk moustache’

Black-and white cat Gizmo is relocating to Skiathos, the island where ‘Mamma Mia’ was shot. Because owner Diana and family won’t get there until after we’ve dropped off Gizmo, we managed to find a very hospitable vet in Volos on the Greek mainland to look after Gizmo. As soon as Diana reaches Greece, she’ll hop onto the Seacat to fetch Gizmo. She told us she’d never had a night apart from Gizmo, so we can only imagine how much they are missing each other.

Wide-eyed Gizmo

Wide-eyed Gizmo

Courier J flew to Athens to join us for the journey back to the UK. The first passenger to get on board in Greece was Tardu, a 16-year-old blue-and-gold macaw. This colourful bird belonged to Chryssa’s dad, who sadly passed away recently. Unfortunately, Chryssa can’t take Tardu on herself, but has found a wonderful new home for her dad’s beloved companion with Nikos and Linda in Scotland. Animalcouriers already know Nikos and Linda, as we’ve transported a number of dogs they’ve adopted from the Filozoikos Shelter in Athens. Such a small world!

We hear that Tardu, who is missing a wing, is more like a dog than a parrot, and likes to walk around on the floor. He settled into his travel compartment very quickly and started preening — a good sign that he is relaxed and happy. We’ve made him a playground with all his toys, his steps to climb up and down, and a cat carrier to perch on and watch all the comings and goings.

Tardu was driven to our hotel to meet us. We reckon he probably did a spot of back-seat driving!

Tardu was driven to our hotel to meet us. We reckon he probably did a spot of back-seat driving!

Tardu making the move from car to van

Tardu making the move from car to van

Tardu settles in nicely

Tardu settles in nicely

Tardu enjoying a piece of breakfast banana

Tardu enjoying a piece of breakfast banana

Phil and Vivian have been living on the island of Samos for the past eight years, where they were volunteers for Greek Cat Rescue and also cared for a number of cats around their home. They’re now on their way back to the West Country, and are taking five cats with them — Bumper, Captain Flint, Jalfraizi, Oscar and Jacob.

Handsome ginger tabby Jalfraizi. He's been very unwell and everyone was concerned about him, but the good news is that he's fit to travel. He has a compartment to himself and antibiotics to keep him going.

Handsome ginger tabby Jalfraizi. He’s been very unwell and everyone was concerned about him, but the good news is that he’s fit to travel. He has a compartment to himself and antibiotics to keep him going.

Captain Flint — so called because he likes to sit on your shoulder like a parrot

Captain Flint — so called because he likes to sit on your shoulder like a parrot

A winsome look from Oscar

A winsome look from Oscar

Although Bumper has only one eye, he doesn't miss a trick

Although Bumper has only one eye, he doesn’t miss a trick

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Phil and Vivian and their cats arrived with Akis in his pet taxi — a great service for people and their pets. We saw Akis again the next day with Petra, Scruff and Alfie.

Akis arrives in his pet taxi with Scruff, Petra and Alfie

Akis arrives in his pet taxi with Scruff, Petra and Alfie

When Kat from Birmingham went on holiday to Lesvos, she was adopted by a tortoiseshell cat called Petra. Kat decided to take Petra to the UK, so Rebecca of Lesvos Dog and Cat Adoptions helped out. Petra was initially fostered by one of the group’s volunteers, then Deb (owner of Scruff) offered to take Petra under her wing. Petra and Scruff were then looked after by Christine for about a week, as Deb had to return to the UK.

Gorgeous Petra — such a sweet and calm little girl

Gorgeous Petra — such a sweet and calm little girl

Playful Scruff

Playful Scruff

Alfie belongs to Tom and Laura, who adopted him while on holiday in Lesvos. Once again, Rebecca of Lesvos Dog and Cat Adoptions helped out, collecting Alfie from his foster mum, sorting his passport, arranging a travel box and popping him onto a late-night flight. And Christine stepped in again, collecting him at Athens airport and putting him in Akis’s taxi with Scruff and Petra.

Alfie, when Tom and Laura first found him

Alfie, when Tom and Laura first found him

Alfie with Laura

Alfie with Laura

Tiffany, her husband and children have moved to the Manchester area, and now Lucky and Kitten are joining them. The children were devastated when they heard that the family couldn’t afford to fly the cats to England. But then they found our website and learned about the more affordable option of a road trip. So they got in touch and we agreed a price, and a very happy family is looking forward to welcoming their beloved pets to the UK.

Pretty Kitten and stunning jet-black Lucky

Pretty Kitten and stunning jet-black Lucky

When Lesley left Crete we transported two of her dogs for her to Northumberland. Now it’s time for the other two to follow on. At Piraeus Port we met Joe with Tasha and Corby, a very friendly pair of dogs.

Jo with Lesley's dogs, Tasha and Corby

Jo with Lesley’s dogs, Tasha and Corby

Labrador Aris arrived with an enormous grin on his face and a very waggy tail, willing to be friends with everyone. Ioannis (John) and his family have already relocated to the UK and are really missing Aris. Not long now til everyone’s back together.

The very friendly Aris

The very friendly Aris

Rex and Ringo, a pair of German Shepherd Dogs, are travelling with us to stay at a kennels in Calais for a little while. They’ll then hop on board when we pass by on our next trip to Portugal, towards the end of next month. The dogs were originally adopted from the Filozoikos Shelter, but when their owners moved to Portugal, they couldn’t afford to take the dogs immediately. So Filozoikos, being very responsible, stepped in and offered to look after the dogs until they could start their journey.

Martha, courier M, courier Mike and Kiki with Rex and Ringo

Martha, courier M, courier Mike and Kiki with Rex and Ringo

A closer look at handsome Rex…

A closer look at handsome Rex…

…and the equally handsome Ringo

…and the equally handsome Ringo

Lovely little Zouzou arrived looking a bit worried, so we spent a bit of time chatting and making a fuss of her, which helped to calm her down. Her owner Maria has already relocated to England and Zouzou, who’s been in the care of a relative, is the last member of the family to travel.

Super-cute Zouzou

Super-cute Zouzou

English Setter Boo belongs to George and Flora, who’ve relocated to Edinburgh from Athens. Now Boo, who has been staying with George’s parents in Athens, is off to join them. Boo is completely deaf, but apparently understands everything you say to her. Flora and George say they miss her very much, so it will be happy time when they are reunited.

Lovely Boo, who is on her way to Scotland

Lovely Boo, who is on her way to Scotland

Cordelia, an old friend of ours, brought us three cats whose owners have moved back from Athens to Ireland. Little Paw and Michael belong to Paula; and Dexter is owned by Linda. We’re expecting some Irish folk singing (or perhaps dancing) from this trio en route!

Cordelia (R) and friend bring us cats belonging to Paula and Linda

Cordelia (R) and friend bring us cats belonging to Paula and Linda

Snowy white Michael

Snowy white Michael

Tuxedo cat Little Paw

Tuxedo cat Little Paw

These two chums got settled in quickly

These two chums got settled in quickly

Diego is a Griffon cross whose owner Dora has moved to Tunbridge Wells. Diego has been staying with a relative and is now ready to travel to join her.

Another fluffy white dog — Diego

Another fluffy white dog — Diego

We met Angeliki and her son with Max the dog at Igoumenitsa. They had travelled from Corfu on the local ferry to catch us just as we were leaving Greece.

Angeliki and her son with Max

Angeliki and her son with Max

 

Max shows us his fine profile

Max shows us his fine profile

Chinchilla Ollie is one of our smallest and most frequent travellers — this is his third trip with us. Owner Napoleana has now had a baby so their family gets bigger. Nela the dog is flying with the family via Paris Charles De Gaulle, but that isn’t an option for Ollie, so he’s on the road with Animalcouriers.

Cute Chinchilla Ollie, who's quite familiar with the routine of our trips

Cute Chinchilla Ollie, who’s quite familiar with the routine of our trips

Here's a road sign you don't see every day!

Here’s a road sign you don’t see every day!

Man versus food — man (Courier Mike) won this time (well, he managed all the ribs, anyway!)

Man versus food — man (Courier Mike) won this time (well, he managed all the ribs, anyway!)

Last night in Guadalajara (the one in Spain)

Animalcouriers spent last night in Guadalajara, our last stop in Spain before crossing the border into France today.

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We had a call from Eliza asking if we could collect her cat Margot from Madrid. As you can see, she’s a very pretty tabby.

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Handsome Siamese cat Evon is also on board. He’s been chatting away to us this morning, telling us how much he’s looking forward to catching up with Sara.

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Nikita with the sun behind her, but not as beautiful as she is!

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Nikita is very sociable and loves playing games when we’re out for a walk. She has a great doggy sense of humour!

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Her favourite game consists of leaping up into the air, twisting around, then landing gently on all four paws.

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Jake tends to maintain a very sober expression on his face, but if you check at the back end, his tail’s always wagging

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Jake strikes us a quite a conservative sort of chap, so we were rather surprised to notice he’s sporting pink nail varnish! He clammed up when we asked him if there was anything he wanted to tell us. We suspect the answer lies in the fact that there are teenage girls in his family!

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Jake is determined not to give anything away

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Lexi and Leo leaping up as they catch sight of each other — this is what most of our walks with them are like!

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Caught in a rare moment of stillness. They’re a gorgeous pair of Labs.

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Leo putting on a cute look as he sits

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Can’t hold it for too long though!

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Lexi wonders if the ‘training’ is going to be hard work

Jenny’s family of 39 are heading to the UK

Jenny has been living in France with seven cats and 32 small dogs. For family reasons, she’s relocating to Lancashire in the UK, and was faced with the problem of how to move all her cats and dogs.

Jenny contacted Animalcouriers and together we worked out a plan to get them all to the UK. There are plenty of characters among the group who’re keeping couriers S and L very amused.

One of the seven cats

One of the seven cats

How to make one's presence felt!

How to make one’s presence felt!

Quite a cutie

Quite a cutie

These two look like they could make some mischief!

These two look like they could make some mischief!

Just love this face

Just love this face

A ball of fluff

What a smile!

Keeping an eye on what's going on

Keeping an eye on what’s going on

Two balls of fluff

Two balls of fluff

 

Reunions for Bonbon, India, Isy, Willy, Lily and Noa

Coton de Tulear Bonbon (formerly known as Hellboy), Cocker Spaniel India, French Bulldog Isy, cats Willie and Lily, and our smallest passenger Noa, were all reunited with their owners yesterday.

Kisses and cuddles for Bonbon from an overjoyed Natasha

Kisses and cuddles for Bonbon from an overjoyed Natasha

Joyful smiles and huge hugs for India

Joyful smiles and huge hugs for India

It was hard to tell who was the more overwhelmed when Isy was reunited with her owner after a two-month separation

It was hard to tell who was the more overwhelmed when Isy was reunited with her owner after a two-month separation

Willie made it home in time for tea and within minutes was tucking into his favourite food. To help him get used to his new neighbourhood without too many risks, his owners have bought a lead and harness for him and will be taking him 'walkies'.

Willie made it home in time for tea and within minutes was tucking into his favourite food. To help him get used to his new neighbourhood without too many risks, his owners have bought a lead and harness for him and will be taking him ‘walkies’.

Lily was so happy to be home she purred her little heart out…

Lily was so happy to be home she purred her little heart out…

…and even though it was very late, everyone wanted a photo!

…and even though it was very late, everyone wanted a photo!

Noa's owner cried with joy at having Noa back — brought a tear to courier S's eye too

Noa’s owner cried with joy at having Noa back — brought a tear to courier S’s eye too

24-hour stopover in Italy for the goats

On their long journey from the UK to Greece, the Anglo Nubian goats have to have to 24-hour stopover at a control post near Torgiano in Italy.

When we arrived last night, we were met by a young chap who was proud to test his very good English on us.

He showed us to a barn that was divided up into pens. We had to explain that we needed to divide them up into one, three and six to a pen. Using English, Spanish and hand signals, we managed to explain that the six girls were inseparable and that one boy sees himself as top goat and would fight with the other three.

This morning we were pleased to find them all well and happy and ready for breakfast. Everyone at the control post is very caring. The vet is due later to check the goats and sign and stamp our paperwork.

Travels with a terrapin

Logo the terrapin is on his way from London to Barcelona in Spain with Animalcouriers.

We were given extremely clear, illustrated instructions on how to care for him. Wonderful!

Logo

Feeding time

Safety first

Preferred environment

Siesta time