Feature Story - Always With You

In sickness and in health, in good and bad times, responsible pet ownership is a lifetime commitment. Two dog owners who are planning to leave Hong Kong share their stories with us.

Adam & Bailey

Adam, from Australia, adopted Bailey from the SPCA when he was just 8 weeks old. Time flies and Bailey is going to turn eight very soon! After living for several years on Lamma Island, Adam said almost everyone on the island knows Bailey! “He can sense people’s emotions, and is always so affectionate towards everyone he meets. People on this island are really going to miss him!”

Adam shared that moving to Belgium was like adopting Bailey – another moment of serendipity! In early 2019, a job opportunity in Belgium arose but Adam firmly told his employer, “If Bailey can’t come, I can’t take the job!” When Adam decided to leave Hong Kong, many people offered to take Bailey, including Adam’s dad who runs a farm in Australia. But Adam, firmly rejected all these kind offers – never for a minute thinking that Bailey would hinder his professional advancement or personal development, “no matter where I may go in the future, Bailey will always be by my side.”

Moving to another country with an animal may sound like a daunting process, but Adam disagrees! “I checked the requirements for dogs entering Belgium and it was relatively straightforward. All I have to do is take Bailey to a veterinary surgeon for the required vaccinations and necessary paperwork to submit to AFCD for endorsement. I also needed to contact several airlines to compare their transport procedures and costs.

“I did all of this by myself!” The flight Adam chose stopped over in Germany before arriving in Brussels. Adam found that the first flight was a larger aircraft while the second one was much smaller, so he had to pay careful attention to the size of the crate. “A small plane has a smaller cargo door and if the crate is too large, it will not be able to get through. I needed to choose a crate that Bailey would be able to rest in comfortably whilst not being too big.”

Bailey will need to be inside the crate for nearly 20 hours, so to ensure that Bailey is able to endure the journey, Adam started crate training him six weeks prior to the travel date. Adam put his own clothes in the crate to give Bailey a sense of comfort and security and taught Bailey to eat, drink and sleep inside. “Bailey is so smart that he quickly learned!”

At the time of publication, Adam and Bailey will have already started their new lives together in Belgium. We interviewed Adam the day before their flight, and throughout the whole interview, Adam kept stressing that taking Bailey was no trouble at all. “Don’t assume that relocation with pets is problematic. Your pets are a part of your family, and all they want is to be with you.” Adam really meant it. He even squeezed himself into the crate in order to help Bailey feel comfortable in the box. Bringing your pet with you when you leave Hong Kong is not difficult at all. His actions speaks louder than any words.

 

Impossible Is Possible

Dr. Cynthia Smillie is relocating to France with two seven year old mongrels and a 12-year old greyhound. “There are procedures in place which necessitates paperwork requiring some time which I just didn’t have, so I chose to seek help from a pet export agency.”

Dr. Cynthia has relocated several times in the past. She reluctantly entrusted her two dogs to friends 40 years ago when she left Africa, “back then pet emigration was quite difficult.” Unfortunately, her friends also left Africa, and the two dogs were again rehomed. “The dogs repeatedly withstood changes in owners, surroundings and routines causing them a lot of stress.” Dr. Cynthia said she still feels very emotional when she thinks about them, and the fact that she had no idea how the dogs coped with the changes.

Since then, when Dr. Cynthia needs to move, she does all she can to ensure that her pets come with her. About ten years ago, Dr. Cynthia and her husband moved to France with nine dogs, later on they returned to Hong Kong with three canines! Now, as her husband has retired, they are leaving Hong Kong once again with three dogs. “Emigrating with your pet dogs is absolutely doable,” says Dr Cynthia.

Dr. Cynthia stressed that it is important to use a pet export company with experience and knowledge of transporting animals and one which truly cares about them. “For animals, the transition is not hard, and they can adapt to a new environment and climate easily. One just needs time and patience to prepare the pet to travel in a crate comfortably which includes eating, drinking and sleeping alone. This should be done as soon as possible.”

 

Epilogue

A pet is a family member, and this is a lifelong relationship. Adam and Dr. Cynthia have shared with us the love they have for their pets and the fact that they could not imagine a life without them. If there are any relocation plans in your future, please ALWAYS include your pets!