International Pet Travel Story

International Pet Travel Story

When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go… That day – I remember it well, the family started packing up the house and the removal van arrived. I didn’t know whether to run away and hide, or whether to jump into the back of the truck with all the furniture. This was one very worried dog. Were they going to leave me behind, to become another stray in the streets? Was I to be given away to unwilling neighbors? Or was I to be sent to the dog pound, together with a donation in an envelope? My future seemed very bleak and I was so sad.

So I sat down, lifted my back leg and did what all dogs do – had a jolly good scratch behind my ear. This switched my memory cells on and I recalled all the good times with my human family: as a puppy, growing up with the children; becoming a watch dog; terrorising the gardener; howling at the moon; having my annual vaccinations; going to my very best kennel for my December holidays. My humans had looked after me so well till now: but was this to be the needle that brought about the long, long sleep? Was that a tear that fell on my foot? Sigh.

That was when I heard the cheeky little hooter: peep-peep. Rushing to one window, I looked out and saw a bright yellow van parked in the driveway. On it was written – in Royal Blue nogal – the name Petwings-Pet Transpawtation, with a number 0861-30-31-32: (whatever that stood for!)

Then in came this friendly man, and I took to him immediately. He and ma had a chat, some papers were signed and exchanged and my pillow and blankie were brought out and put in my specially made traveling kennel. It had a United Nations approved I.P.P.C. stamp on it, a huge water bowl filled with well water and a picture window at one end: not the least bit claustrophobic. As I hopped in, I felt like a first class dog, especially when the air conditioning was switched on in my yellow pet taxi. Sigh. That was pet traspawtation at the luxury level. Oh doggie glee – I was going with the family: my fears were unfounded.

After a short ride we arrived – guess where? – at my favourite holiday resort! Yes, Keringa Kennels, near Johannesburg International Airport. But this time I was to stay in the in-transit section, especially for jet-setting pets. There I was checked over by their own resident vet, brushed and exercised and even had my toe-nails clipped.

This place is an international way-station and I chatted to pets being transported all over the world. At any time of any day, there are an estimated 12,000 pets flying in aero planes. I barked at one neighbor who was being transported to Canada, to another being transported to Dubai and a cat to England. I felt that I was in the safest and most experienced hands possible.

After a jolly decent meal and a good night’s sleep, early next morning I was transported in the luxury yellow van to the airport where the whine of jet engines really thrilled me. Now that’s why they call themselves Petwings Pet Transpawtation: I was about to become a flying dog. Through cargo check-in, out the apron where there were other pets in their pet transport kennels, and into hold number five of the Jumbo Jet.

This is the door just in front of the Jumbo’s tail plane, which is the special hold for pets. It is pressurised, air-conditioned and heated to 18 degrees C, similar to the human’s cabin. But you know what? On take-off the lights are switched off, so naturally we just go to sleep for the whole journey. Did you know that amongst the gauges and instruments in front of the pilot in the cockpit, are some that monitor the pet compartment? Very Neat!

It’s amazing how time flies when you’re flying-asleep. Very soon my elephant – (read Jumbo) – was landing and we were carefully carried by a nifty transport vehicle to a clearing area. Here my documents were checked, approved as being thoroughly completed, and stamped for entry into my new country.

This time it was a lady who collected me from the airport – still in my transport kennel with my toy bear and my blanket. Off we went in a yellow vehicle, zipping through the traffic, until we pulled up at a very smart housing estate: and do you know what? There were Mom and Dad and the children to welcome me. Oh what a reunion it was. Barks and screams of delight all round.

Later, in a quiet moment, I slowly scratched my other ear and thought what a lucky dog I was. Thank you Petwings: it’s amazing what experience and professionalism can achieve.