10 February 2012

Expattadogs - Working with a pet shipper

I mentioned in my first post that we have two dogs that have accompanied us from Texas to the UK.  Out of everything involved in our move, getting the dogs into the UK was definitely one of my greatest sources of stress and concern.  The UK is rabies-free and very serious about staying that way.  Therefore, they have strict rules regarding the importing of pets (Defra pet travel scheme).  The rules have been changed and have become slightly less strict as of Jan. 2012, but there is still a lot involved in the process.

Initially, we debated whether or not to use a pet shipper.  Our relocation package didn't cover pet shipping costs, so we would be paying out of pocket.  After researching the process and googling as much as I could about it, I decided we should work with a pro, just to be on the safe side.  We knew it wouldn't be cheap, but we decided it was worth it for the peace of mind.  I looked at a lot of IPATA member pet shippers online and tried to get in touch with several of the Texas-based pet shippers.  I was surprised how many didn't ever even respond to my initial e-mails/calls.  One local shipper started working with us, and then, much to my dismay, disappeared off the face of the planet.  At that point, I considered going with one of the big name companies, but their cost estimate was through the roof ($5,000! - for service, transportation, and cargo fees only).  I kept searching for other options.

I luckily ended up finding Puppy Travel through my internet searches.  This pet shipper is based in Utah and has a nice website and responded promptly to my e-mails.  After communicating with Barbara via e-mail and talking with her on the phone, I felt confident that we had found the right shipper.  We worked with her throughout the whole process and the dogs made it to the UK without a hitch.  I won't say it was stress-free or that I didn't shed a couple of tears along the way, but I know that it would have been a thousand times worse if we hadn't used a shipper.

In future posts, I hope to detail exactly what was involved in the process of getting our dogs from the US to the UK.  But for now, I just want to say that working with a pet shipper who was trustworthy, professional, and charged a reasonable fee, definitely eased some of my stress and was worth every penny.

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