Moving abroad with or without your pet?

“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened” – Anatole France

A couple of years ago, I decided that I wanted to live the dream and have an international career. It was a project dear to my heart hidden in a little corner of my mind like forever. But at that time I was living in Paris with my 10 years old cat and his name was Paulo.

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Paulo and myself sitting on the window of our Parisian flat

He was the most adorable cat you could ever have imagined, always purring, asking for cuddles, giving love. Paulo was neither the bravest cat nore the most agile one… First, he was scared to death when hearing somebody sneezing! Secondly jumping from the floor to the table or walking on the bed frame seemed to be too challenging: actually he fell a few times BUT he had a big ego and hated when I would laugh at him that’s when I learnt to do my Poker face (thank you Lady Gaga).  But he was my cat and I loved him unconditionally no matter what. So it was obvious that Paulo would be part of my adventures should I move someday overseas. I started to enquire about how it worked, what kind of vaccination would I need, paperwork to deal with, pet carrier to choose…  it seemed complicated and expensive but a pet is part of your family so you’re ready to face these kind of problems! Unfortunately Paulo was diagnosed with kidney cancer and passed away shortly after this heart breaking news. So I never got the chance to bring my cat with me abroad. But as a pet lover I can totally put myself in your shoes. So what is going to follow now, is not my own experience but stories from friends who live overseas with or without their pets.

First you need to know that the decision is not that easy… Moving abroad is a lot of logistic and stress (for you and your animal) so some people decide it is a too big an issue and they prefer not to bring their little companion. They choose instead to give their dog or cat to a friend or a relative. It seems “easier” on a logistic point of view but actually it is not… because I have seen these same people crying and missing their pet a LOT!

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I want Mr Whiskas back!

I mean when you adopt your animal at the first place it is because you want to love it forever! Remember the first day your pet arrived in your home, how happy you were, how much you cared about your dog or your cat! So having the feeling of abandoning your little companion to make both of your life easier can be hard to cope with! So think about it twice… if you decide to leave your dog/cat behind you, make sure it is in good hands with people you trust and who will be able to keep you posted and be ok to handle the situation if you change your mind and want your animal back. Because you can think at the first place it is going to be ok and then realize you are too sad and too depressed… Keep in mind that when you will move overseas you will have no friends at the beginning and you will miss your country, your family, your old life a lot! So the absence of your cat/dog could be the straw that broke the camel’s back, better to have a plan B just in case!

On the contrary, I know other people who can not possibly imagine their life abroad without their pet. My friend Nasim (from Iran) has a lovely dog named Judy that she loves very much. When she decided to move to Australia, her dog was part of the plan!

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Judy in her previous home in Iran

But it is not easy either because when you move with your pet to Australia, laws are very strict and you have a very long delay to respect and it can be extended depending on your dogs’ results, current health etc… http://www.agriculture.gov.au/cats-dogs . You have to live with the guilt of putting your animal through all these confusing experiences (leaving its home, its family and its routine for a while, long stressful trip, noisy shelters, cold cages, multiple tests, long time no see, strangers)… like I said there are no ideal solutions.

Furthermore, Nasim’s dog could not do its quarantine in Iran and had to be sent to Canada in a shelter for the whole duration and it is been a long time now… It is hard because the duration was extended many times and Nasim is missing Judy a lot and wondering how her dog feels about this situation… she has not seen Judy for 8 months! But a few days ago, Nasim received a good news: Australia is ready to welcome Judy now, all paperworks have been approved and she will see her dog very soon! The next step now is to find a good pet doctor in the neighborhood, nice parks for dogs and most important a welcoming home! Bear in mind that many landlords don’t accept animals so it is important when you move abroad with your pet to find a place where it is allowed and mentioned in the leasing contract!

Whatever you decide, focus on your pets’ interests, find the “best” solution for both sides and try not to feel guilty about the situation (it won’t help anyway). Good luck ❤

“Tant que vous n’avez pas aimé un animal, une partie de votre âme sera toujours sans éclat, endormie.” Anatole France

6 thoughts on “Moving abroad with or without your pet?”

  1. Nice post, Virginie! I’m at home with my dog right now, and the simple thought of parting with her (like poor Nasim) makes me shiver! Also, that quote by Anatole France is just too true! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A pet is such a wonderful companion… bringing joy and love to your home! Being apart from each other is heart breaking and leaving it behind seems nearly impossible. Some countries have strict policy if you want to import your pet… Nasim and her dog Judy are going through all these difficult and painful experiences… but soon they will be reunited again and everything will be back to normal ❤ I bet when they are going to see each other again, there will be some tears of joy!

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  3. Ohh…I don’t think I can separate from my dog if moving aboard. But at the same time it would be cruel if he has to suffered months of quarantine.. It is so confusing!
    Glad to hear that Judy is accepted in Australia after long process..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree it is confusing… because in this situation whatever you decide it is going to be difficult for different reasons… leaving your pet in your home country will break your heart (and his/hers) and bringing it with you will mean going through a lot of obstacles and painful experiences while being apart for a long time… this is the reason why I wanted to write this article because I wanted to show that moving abroad is not all fun and glitter… there are sacrifices especially when you are the happy owner of a pet!

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