New friend alert! PetRelocation.com (this is what happens when you hang out too much on Twitter!)
If you have ever left the US or Canada to go to Europe with a pet, it's worse than trying to get your own paperwork in order. The rules aren't particularly clear, the airlines are some help but not particularly enthusiastic, and you have that awful feeling as you look out the window on the plane whether they will turn your family pet away at the other end because you overlooked some nuance.
In my prior life many moons ago (pre-kids, pre-MBA, pre-Embrace), I worked at a large life and health insurance company in Toronto, Canada. At the time, I was an actuarial student and lucky enough to get an internal job posting to Dublin, Ireland, which I jumped at. There was just one problem - what to do with my cat Simon?
At the time, there was a 6-month quarantine period for cats and dogs (to prevent rabies reaching the British Isles) and so if you took your pet across the pond, he or she had to wait at the border for half a year before rejoining you. When faced with such a long time in some sort of government pet facility (I'm afraid that however nice it is, my imagination really went wild on that one), I balked at the option and luckily some relatives took Simon into their home while I was abroad.
Now the rules have changed (it's a bit round about but you bring your pet into the UK under the new Pet Travel Scheme and then take it into Ireland) but I must say, if I was to ship a pet abroad while working for another company, I'd hire professional pet shippers.
Since I didn't look at the option all those years ago, I didn't really know much about pet shippers until I was on Twitter (@laurabennett) and bumped into Pet Relocation over there. We got talking and now PetRelocation is one of our most interesting affilate sites.
Since becoming acquainted with PetRelocation.com, I wondered what it would be like if I was moving to Ireland today: how would I do it; how much would it cost; what would be involved? Over at their website, I was quite surprised to find a ready list of most countries you might ever want to move to (and some you might not) and detailed requirements of what you need to do to get from here to there. Here's the page for Ireland.
Now why would a pet shipping company give you all the information so you could do it yourself? Because now you can see how involved the process can be. If you want to do it yourself, you can, but if you find it a little bit daunting (and it's not something you want to mess up either), you can get help from someone who knows what they are doing.
Anyway, it's a great place to start if you are researching moving your pet. Pet Relocation is a nifty example of how a small but focused company can get the job done well.
Shipping within the US starts at $1,000 and overseas starts at $2,500 so it's not cheap but it sure does take the worry out of shipping your loved ones to your new home. I've just put a quote in for my "move" to Ireland so I'll let you know how much that turns out to be.
P.S. If you are moving, you can get a 10% discount off PetRelocation's services over at the Embrace Pet Community in the services section.