This wasn’t what I’d imagined my first contribution to the Blog would be … ‘The challenges of being a Vegetarian, married to a pork loving carnivore in rural Spain’ was more of what I had in mind. Instead my first contribution is to showcase how despite my best efforts, I still managed to get our dogs locked up in quarantine when we landed in the UK.
Well that didn’t quite go to plan, did it …
Yep. Despite over a year of research, conversations, study, preparation and effort I managed to miss something apparently so crucial that DEFRA could not let our dogs into the country.Instead they were pretty much confiscated (by nice people!) at The Animal Reception Centre at Heathrow (affectionately referred to as the ‘ARC’) and I was reduced to a sobbing mess.
They couldn’t stay at the ARC, but luckily we found a Quarantine Kennels just South of Bristol, 16 miles from my Mum. I say ‘luckily’ as there are only a handful in the whole of the UK. They’re kept separate from the other dogs, think a prison for animals but with caring affectionate staff and daily visiting rights and you’ll get the idea.
At time of writing they’ll have been there for 4 weeks of a 4 month sentence. It used to be 6. We’ve visited regularly over the past month, but not so often as to create a routine. Sounds harsh but it would be impossible both logistically and financially to stay in the UK the whole time. And now that Easyjet fly Malaga to Bristol I can visit every 3-4 weeks.
They’re tropical island dogs, but they are doing just fine, they’ve adjusted to the routine and environment. have outdoor space, shelter, warmth, fresh water & food and MOST importantly, each other. They LOVE their carer, Hannah and so far are not displaying any signs of stress.
I however, didn’t adjust quite so well, not having planned nor considered even for one second that this could happen and I was not mentally prepared in any way shape or form for this rather awesome plot twist!
I think in hindsight that seeing my boys safely through this transition equalled getting myself through the transition too.
We’d planned the move for so long, and whilst I was embracing our future plan of being in Spain, I really didn’t know exactly how to go. I was looking forward to going, but not looking forward to leaving.
Now, although I don’t like it, I have at least (last?) accepted it. It got all rather melodramatic for a while.
So I won’t go into any great detail on how it went wrong, but essentially it’s a paperwork issue. They were already up to date with their rabies vaccinations so got them microchipped before then having blood taken for the titer test (rabies antibody levels). Results came back, all was well. Thought nothing more of it. Boxes ticked, so to speak.
However even though already immune, the dogs should have been re-vaccinated after microchipping, even if it wasn’t due (which it wasn’t for the boys). Simple as that, though not clear on any of the literature, and not picked up by anyone during the process, just (rather unfortunately) by DEFRA upon arrival!
So we’re in Spain, arrived yesterday, I know they’re safe, and whilst I absolutely would prefer the boys were with us they can’t be, not until the end of March. So until then we’ll focus on fixing up our home and getting the biggest, deepest, fluffiest and warmest rug in front of the fire ready for when the furkids come home.