International Pet Travel Story
International Pet Travel Story
When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go…! I remember that day so well. The family had started packing up the house and when the removal van arrived, I didn’t know whether to run away and hide or jump into the back of the truck with all the furniture. I was one very worried dog. Were they going to leave me behind to become another stray in the streets? Was I going to be given away to unwilling neighbours? Maybe I was going to end up at the dog pound with a donation in an envelope? My future seemed very bleak and I was so sad and afraid. 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 favourite kennel for my December holidays. My humans had looked after me so well until now….
Then I heard it: a cheeky little hooter going “peep-peep”. Rushing to a window, I looked out and saw a bright yellow van parked in the driveway. On it was written Petwings-Pet Transpawtation with a contact number 0861-30-31-32. Then in came this friendly man, and I liked him immediately. He and mom had a chat, some papers were signed and exchanged and then my pillow and blankie were put in my specially made traveling kennel. It had a United Nations approved IPPC stamp on it, a full water bowl and a big window at the far end so that I wouldn’t get claustrophobic. As I hopped in, I felt like a first-class dog, especially when the air-conditioning was switched on. This was pet transpawtation at a luxury level. Oh happy me – I was going with the family and my fears were unfounded.
After a short ride we arrived at my favourite holiday resort – Keringa Kennels, near O R Tambo International Airport. This time, however, I wasn’t vacationing there but rather being booked into its in-transit section for jet-setting pets. There I was checked by their consulting vet, brushed (even had my toe nails clipped!) and exercised.
Keringa-Petwings is an international waystation that transports pets all over the world. (Did you know that at any time of any day, there are an estimated 12 000 pets flying in aeroplanes?). I chatted to one neighbour who was on his way to Canada and another one who was moving to Dubai. I also heard via the grapevine that Keringa was sending cats to England, Thailand and France that same week. That made me feel like I was in the safest and most experienced hands possible.
After a delicious meal and a good night’s sleep, one of Keringa’s luxury Pet Taxis took me to the airport where I heard the whine of jet engines in the distance. So that’s why they call themselves Petwings Pet Transpawtation: I was about to become a flying dog! Through cargo check-in, out to the apron with other pets in their pet transport kennels, and then into hold number five which is specially for pets. It is pressurised, air-conditioned and heated to 18 degrees C, similar to the human’s cabin. On take-off the lights are switched off so naturally we just go to sleep for the whole journey. (Did you know that among 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. In no time at all, we landed and were then loaded into a nifty transport vehicle which took us to the 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 – I was still in my transport kennel with my toy bear and my blanket. Off we went, zipping through the traffic until we pulled up at a very smart housing estate and guess what? Mom and Dad and the children were there 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 Keringa-Petwings: it’s amazing what experience and professionalism can achieve.