Taking pets to Spain

05/22/2015 15:11

Friday, 22nd May, 2015

The weather continues to be pleasantly balmy rather than baking hot. I went to the Chinese 'Merca' shop in Arboleas this morning: these stores are wonderful (like being a child in a sweet shop!), packed with everything you need, and stuff you don't, for really low prices. I usually go in looking for a small item like a cheese grater, found for only 1euro, to be tempted by a host of other bargains! The basket invariably gets swapped or a trolley! It makes one realise the enormous mark-up on items back in Britain.

Leaving the UK without my precious Ragdoll cat, Gabriel, was unthinkable: most pet owners will empathise with this. I had taken him to France by car a year earlier: it was an horrendous experience. In anticipation of his distress (he always howled, even on short journeys to the vet in Denbigh), I had asked the vet if there was a safe tranquilliser. There was. Phew! A relief, or so I thought. 

You need to plan at least 3 months ahead for taking a pet abroad. The vet will supply everything: microchip, injections, passport as well as a complete health check. Tranquillisers? I had used these tablets on the long trip (15 hours) to the Limousin: Gabe had indeed been sedated but he was clearly unwell on the journey and nearly didn't survive. Other cats and dogs may respond better but each owner must weigh up the pros and cons. 

 I looked for an alternate way to get Gabe to Spain. Initially, I wanted him in the cabin with me but none of the airlines to Alicante provided this option. In the hold was the only option. The thought of taking a wailing Gabe to Manchester by car; getting him checked in; being aware of his distress in the hold; then collecting him after landing and travelling again by car to La Marina.......was TOO MUCH! It was going to be sufficiently stressful leaving home without this added worry.

So, I researched companies who specialise in transporting pets by air. Not cheap but a suitable solution for me and Gabriel. I chose the most expensive as it claims to be run by qualified vets and does a door to door servive. Gabriel was not going to be happy but, I reassured myself, at least he would be with people who understand pets and, importantly, I could concentrate on the fraught and frantic business of emptying my house, packing up and getting myself to Spain.

It all panned out beautifully. Gabriel was colected from my home at 10.30am on Friday, 27th February by a pleasant, professional young lady (I had to be out by midday); he was taken to their cattery near Manchester airport where he was booked to stay Friday, Saturday and Sunday; then he was flown out and delivered to an anxious 'mummy' on Monday afternoon at the property where I was staying temporarily in Spain. Gabriel seemed none the worse for his long journey but was obvously glad to be free again. It was worth every penny!

As I write this, Gabe is stretched out under the fig tree, looking content; nearby is his new friend, Phoebe, a pretty, liitle white ball of fluff I got from PAWS Patas near Mojacar.