The first thing my kids asked me when we were discussing our upcoming move was where Delilah was going to be. Delilah is our dog, and she’s been part of our family for over six years now. At the time they asked, my kids were seven and eight and hadn’t remembered our previous move, which was almost five years before.
Delilah has now moved with us three times in the six years she’s been with us, and we have gotten it down to a science. But all of these moves have been within the continental United States, and we’ve driven at least one car each time. So, it’s been pretty easy. Some of our friends have had to spend quite a bit of money to move their pets. Others have made the difficult decision to rehome them or leave them with friends for an overseas duty station.
I haven’t flown with my dog yet, so I asked some friends about their experiences moving their pets by air. The two things they all mentioned were that the military does not reimburse the cost to fly your pets and that the temperature at the airports you’re flying into/out of has to be within a certain range for the pets to fly cargo. Both of these things can make flying with pets complicated!
The time I was moving home from Germany, another military family was on the same flight. Their dog was flying with them, in cargo, and had to have a special type of crate. There are also vaccinations that are required, blood tests, and paperwork from the vet. Again, make sure you are getting the right information for your particular pet and specific duty station.
Driving with pets is the easiest way to transport them. I’ll admit, I have no experience trying to move a fish, a reptile, birds, or a horse across the country, but I know that all of those are going to be easier in a car or trailer than in an airplane!
The basic needs of animals are the same as humans. They need food, water, rest stops, and fresh air. Stopping with animals requires a little more pre-planning, as you can’t always find a pet-friendly area for them to walk around in, and you certainly can’t leave them in the car when it’s too warm or too hot out. I like to do a drive-through restaurant and then stop at a park or rest stop where the dog (and kids) can run around.
Let me be the first to say that official information regarding quarantines and the specific countries needs to be triple checked. It’s not that I don’t trust the information in the levy brief. It’s more like a “trust but verify” situation. This is one of those times where you shouldn’t rely on Facebook groups and other’s experiences. Talk to the vet, talk to your gaining unit, and don’t take any chances.
Several organizations help military families, and their pets stay united throughout moves. Some of them help you find a new home for your pet, some a temporary, and some have been known to help with funding for flying pets to a new location.
We know your pets are part of your family, and you want the very best for them. Take some time to pre-plan the move for them to ensure they are comfortable an safe. Happy moving!Read comments