How We Moved Samson (the dog) Abroad

If you’re anything like me, your dog is family just as much as your partner or your human child. Wherever I go, Samson comes too! There was no question about the fact that my fur baby would be moving to Scotland with me. The only question was how would I get him from Australia to Scotland safely and un-traumatised?

Check out @samsongetsaround on Instagram for more on Samson’s world!

Choosing A Company

We started researching companies that fly dogs internationally. Let me tell you, there are loads of them! We asked endless questions and tried to get a feeling for the personality behind each company. Communication is everything for us. When we don’t get an email back within a day, either with an answer, or at least acknowledgement that the person on the other end will find answer, we start to get anxious. After all, Samson is family and if we couldn’t trust them to respond with a basic query how would they respond if something went wrong? We needed to be confident that someone was on the other end all of the time.

The second contender for our business simply took too long to reply, I’m talking days at a time for basic queries. We decided to forgo ‘they who must not be named’ and determined Jet Pets was the right fit for this journey. The agent we worked with was professional and seemed to genuinely care about Samson’s trip. Not like it was their job but in a way that made us feel comfortable putting Samson into their hands for his flight over the big blue. I should mention that Jet Pets were also the most expensive option by a few hundred dollars. We opted to save money on our movers to cover the cost to ensure Samson had the best journey possible – and that we didn’t stress the whole time!

Preparing Samson For The Journey

Samson was crate trained as a puppy so this is one thing we didn’t need to worry about planning. He prefers to sleep in his crate at night and trots away happily when you say ‘night night’ to him. If your pup isn’t crate trained and your thinking about flying, I would certainly recommend starting well in advance! This will not only make the preparation easier as the time comes to fly but also make sure pup doesn’t get to anxious with yet another change.

To make sure Samson was as ‘at-home’ as possible we bought a few duplicate toys that we knew he loved. We let him play with each one for a couple of hours so it would have his slobber all over it then put them away to take to the new house. We also made sure that he was eating a food that we could also get in Scotland. This way he would arrive to familiar scents, toys, and food. The 3 loves of his life!

Samson needed to have all of his vaccinations up-to-date as well as his flea and tick treatments which was very routine. The only thing outstanding was his rabies injection. This isn’t standard in Australia so we arranged for the injection 3 weeks prior to Samson’s departure. He took it like a champ! There is no quarantine upon arrival into Scotland which we couldn’t be happier about!

Saying Goodbye

Jet Pets came to collect Samson from home on the morning of his flight. They arrived in a van with a couple of other pets they had already picked up. The lady came in to meet Samson and say hello for a couple of minutes. I walked them to the van and Samson was very happy to jump right in! Samson was just stoked to have treats and lots of attention! He didn’t mind getting into the new crate and I didn’t hear a peep when the door shut behind him. The lady told me that this wasn’t the crate Samson would travel in however, it was exactly the same. This crate lived in her van and Samson would get a brand new one with his details on it once he arrived to the airport. After he had his final vet check he would be introduced to his own crate and prepared to fly. I gave the lady Samson’s paperwork, a spare toy and a blanket to keep him company. There were many tears as I waved them goodbye at the end of the drive way!

That afternoon he would have a final vet check at the airport before boarding his flight! The airlines keep pets off the plane and in a comfortable place until the very last moment. This way if there are any delays they aren’t stuck sitting in their crates any longer than absolutely necessary. Jet Pets emailed us to advise that Samson looked happy and healthy, and that his flight was away exactly as planned.

The Flying Experience

Samson had two legs to his trip. The first would take him to Dubai, UAE for a stopover and then he would carry on to Scotland. Dubai airport has a pet transit area so Samson got off the plane for a run around, a big lunch (or dinner?) and a wee break. Just as he was last on in Perth he would be first off in Dubai. Straight out of the temperature controlled, lit, sound-barriered cargo into the air-conditioned pet area for his layover. Now, Dubai airport and the airlines can only fly pets if it is in the puppy’s best interest. This means that if it is too hot in Dubai they won’t be able to stopover which means they won’t be allowed to fly. Whilst this can be very inconvenient timing a move overseas it worked out ok for us which was very fortunate!

Another great thing is that Samson being a border collie, means that he is by nature quite a clean and tidy doggo. Border Collies generally won’t toilet (foul, poo, excrete) in their own bed. Samson arrived to Dubai clean and again in Glasgow! He had chewed a big chunk of his water bowl spilling it everywhere but, he didn’t soil himself. Because the travel companies provide absorbent mats Samson wasn’t sitting in a puddle the whole way which we were thankful for. Each airport have facilities to give a bath and change any bedding if pets do have an ‘accident’. It’s comforting to know that your beloved pooch won’t be flying in filth the whole journey. Or a puddle like Samson would have been. The airports also have vets on-site to give a quick check for each animal stopping through. If your fur baby had any trouble on the first flight someone is there to sort them out for the next leg of their journey.

Samson arrives in Glasgow

Once Samson landed into Glasgow he hung out with the lady in reception until my partner could complete the paperwork. He just had to prove that he was Samson’s human and that we actually had a permit to bring him into the UK. This didn’t take long at all and Samson was free to go! He was more clingy than usual on his the first day after landing. This wasn’t a surprise as he was only just over a year old and hadn’t spent a night away from us since we got him. After a wee while he warmed to the new house and once he found his toy collection he never looked back.

After just a couple of days Samson was comfortable being home on his own again. We started with really short trips just to the corner store or out for coffee and built up to multiple hours at a time. Samson was used to be left alone in Australia but we didn’t want him to get anxious in the new space after such a long journey. A helpful tip for people moving doggies into new homes, feed your dog a little bit of each meal in each room of your house so they learn that the house is theirs and it’s safe. This helps them to relax and get comfortable really easily! Worked an absolute treat for Samson.

Have you flown your pets abroad? Share your stories below! Also, if you’re seeking any advice about your upcoming trip I’m happy to help however I can!

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