I come from a family with two major loves: animals and France. Half of my younger years of leisure were spent with numerous creatures. The other half was spent leaving them all behind on countless trips to our house over in western France…
On our returns to Blighty I remember the joy of our various stinking, hoarse and ecstatic dogs when we would go to pick them up from the kennels.
Some of them seemed to love their own mini holiday, some definitely less so. One was banned from all the kennels within a 50-mile radius. One made it into the local paper by running away and ending up in the supermarket. And one used to spend the first few days back at home repeatedly running laps around the garden, and would refuse to come in until all memories of our happy travels without him had faded.
Pet passports and microchips
When pet passports first appeared in the early 2000s, I was pretty excited. Never mind having to now share the back of the car with panting pooches as well as two squabbling sisters.
Sometimes the processes involved were a bit cumbersome. Once, for instance, the five of us had to share a hotel room in Caen with a Rottweiler, terrier and Labrador, because we hadn’t taken them to the vets for their tapeworm treatment in the right 24-to 120-hour window.
But none of that mattered, because now we could take our happy menagerie with us!
It’s even easier now (just a rabies jab at least 21 days before travel, and no more blood tests required for EU dogs). In fact, the last time I travelled with my Scottish terrier Hugo he didn’t even have to get out of the car to get checked. They just handed us the microchip scanner to use ourselves.
Which is good, because Hugo is quite the drama king. He hates the vets, he’s not that keen on canine or human strangers, and he really detests kennels. But put him in a car and onto the Channel Tunnel or ferry and he’s a different dog. Incredibly calm. And I guess that’s because he’s with me. When I can’t take him away with me on my travels, he goes to stay with my mum or I get a dogsitter friend to come and keep him company.
And from our poll a couple of weeks ago, I know that Hugo isn’t the only dog who hates being left behind. Of those voters who own a dog, 60% said that their dog suffered stress when they’ve left them behind to go on holiday. What about yours?
When you’re booking your latest trip abroad do you paws for thought for your beloved pet? Do you take them with you? And if not, what do you do with them?
[UPDATE 6 APRIL] From today all dogs in the UK are legally required to be microchipped. Compulsory microchipping has been introduced to help reduce the number of stray and missing dogs. Each microchip is linked to a central database containing the registered owner’s details. However, the old-fashioned collar and tag may not be entirely redundant yet. While compulsory microchipping has come into force, compulsory scanning of the microchip has not. Should your pooch go astray, it may be a while before it’s microchip is scanned. So an old-fashioned collar and tag may be a bit quicker at reuniting you both.