Back to the journey to France (and apologies it has taken so long to get back to this), and one of the main challenges that we had to consider was getting our pets out of the UK and into France.
This presented a few challenges, and also required some decisions to be made. When we decided to make the move to France, we had a cat, a dog and an extremely large Black Moor goldfish. We made an educated guess that the fish wouldn’t be able to accompany us, and as a leaving present granted him to my brother and sister-in-law for their pond. The fish has since trebled in size, eaten everything within the pond and destroyed the lining on at least one occasion. So yeah…sorry about that guys.
The most difficult decision we had to make, and one we didn’t take lightly, was our pet cat, Lexington. Lex was part of a litter, given to us by my brother and sister-in-law (those guys again) in 2015, so we have had him since being a kitten. He is an almighty beast, and an outdoor cat (although he loved a fussing). As we have mentioned in previous blogs, we were downsizing from a house to a flat and thus he would not be able to go outdoors. Unfortunately this put us in a situation where we had to make a decision whether he could come with us or not. When we adopted Lex, we made a decision, because animals are for life. But it’s not just about our life, it’s also about the animals life. In our opinion, his quality of life would have suffered in a move to a flat where he could not leave to do his business or go hunting. Therefore, we found some friends who love cats and asked if they would be willing to adopt him. Luckily they said yes, so we rehomed Lex before we moved away. Lex is comfortable and happy with 4 other kitty friends and able to enjoy himself.
So that led us to our little Chihuhua. We adopted Fuji, our little guy, in January 2017. Again when we adopted him, moving to France wasn’t even a pipe dream. In our opinion, his quality of life wouldn’t be altered as he only ever left the house with us, and under supervision. Plus, with us being home based (I am a home based worker, my wife was leaving her job) we didn’t believe it would be detrimental to him, in fact we thought it would be a life enhancer to move and spend more time with us.
The first thing we had to do was of course, get authority from the landlord first before proceeding. We broached any conversation with potential landlords by letting them know in the first communication (whether a conversation or an email) that we had a small dog.
Once we secured a place where we could take Fuji, we had to work out how to get him to France.
For any dog, cat (or randomly, ferret) being transported, you NEED a pet passport. Now this isn’t as daunting as it sounds, and is in fact a record of rabies injections. Don’t worry, you don’t need to get your little furry pals to sit still in a photo booth and then worry if they were smiling too much. The key thing to know is that not every veterinarian in the UK is able to issue pet passports, so you will need to ring around to find out. We had to ring around, and found a vet not too far away that issued them.
We had to take Fuji in along with ID and vaccination records. He had to have a pre-injection, and then a week or so later, a second injection.
The next thing that we had to consider was how we were going to transport Fuji into France. Luckily, the French adore their little dogs, and Air France’s pet policy allows you take a dog on board, and, if small enough, in the cabin with you, as long as we have appropriate transport. Air France recommend their own bag, which we duly purchased. (And now Fuji uses it when he needs to escape the clutches of a handsy toddler for a ten minute snooze). Luckily we were able to get him into the cabin with us, and if I recall, there was a small fee of circa £40 to ensure he travelled with us.
Knowing that our trip was going to be a few hours, with an early start, I asked the vet if, in case of anxiety, I would be able to get any medication. Luckily, he is crate trained, but I didn’t want to chance it. The vet prescribed us some drops that you put onto the dogs gums, but luckily we didn’t need to use them.
As we had an early flight out of Manchester airport, we had to find a hotel near the airport the day prior to travel. So we had to take Fuji with us. We found a hotel near the airport called the Etrop Grange that had pet rooms, and again there was a £15 surcharge on top, but well worth it to have peace of mind that we are all together as a family. It also meant I could take him for a walk the morning of the flight and get rid of all my anxiety of leaving my home country. It allowed me to de-stress a little.
Getting him onto the flight was easy. He was checked by airport officials (obviously, he didn’t go through the x-ray machine) and there was a check of all documentation before checking in. Fuji, and the cabin bag, fit snugly into the space under the seat in front of us.
When we landed in Paris, and had to change, Fuji was again checked for all documentation as we were arriving into the country. The lady who checked him over fell in love with him and wanted to keep him. She excused the dampness of the pet passport (which along with regular passports had had an unfortunate baby milk accident during the flight, but that is a separate story) and waved us on our way. We got onto our second flight to Montpellier without issues and when we arrived, I took Fuji out for a walk and he pee’d against a tree outside the airport for what must have been 5 minutes. He showed no signs of anxiety, and as always just happy to be out and enjoying the new sights and sounds.
It was a relatively stress free experience getting the dog into France, and I think it’s safe to say, he’s enjoying himself now.