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Topic: Our Moving Experience  (Read 1575 times)

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Our Moving Experience
« on: October 31, 2010, 11:20:52 PM »
Background: moving two dogs from Denver to UK. One dog (Morgan) is very very nervous, even to the point of being suspicious of his own leash. I spent two months painstakingly working on getting Morgan to go into his crate. I ran out of time to work on leaving him in the crate, in fact he never had the door closed on him while in there.

The flight was scheduled to leave at 8:15pm (British Airways BA218 direct flight to Heathrow). We arrived at the cargo facility at 4:20pm and handed over the paperwork while the dogs stayed in the car. The cargo facility was really just a warehouse with forklift trucks, packages and an X-ray machine. Pretty dirty and noisy.

After checking the paperwork I had to carry the crates into the warehouse and assemble them, including putting on the live animal stickers, etc. Next we brought the dogs next to the crates so they could check they were big enough. They didn't put the dogs inside, just compared them side-by-side.

Then the crates were weighed and I had to put both my dogs on the scale at the same time (not inside the crates). Finally we waited for the total cost, which was $2,650 for everything including transportation, DEFRA, security fees, etc. Note that the total weight of my dogs was 105lb.

At this point it was around 5:10pm and I decided to walk them around the nearby buildings to get rid of some energy. I did this until 5:45pm at which point I gave them herbal Happy Traveler pills for relaxation (not sedation!). The final step was to take them back into the warehouse and put them in the crates and close the door. I did this myself, not the cargo employees. I left the leashes with the crates just in case they were needed. We then returned the rental car and checked in for our flight.

A few random things to note: if the flight is delayed or canceled we get our dogs back for the night. If we were not flying with them then they use a pet company to pick them up and house them for the night. They are taken to the plane at the last minute in a pickup truck, and they stay in the crates from the moment I put them in there myself until Heathrow, if everything stays on schedule. British Airways flies one to four pets out of Denver nearly every day of the week, so it is routine for the staff.

The flight was uneventful except for a lot of rolling and a very hard landing at Heathrow at which point I was sure my dogs had just died of fright.

The plane landed at 12pm and it was torture getting through immigration and getting a rental car (note: A Ford Galaxy from Hertz can carry 10 bags plus the disassembled crates just fine). By the time we arrived at the Animal Reception Center it was 2pm. We gave our last name and we were told that our dogs were fine.

It wasn't until 2:45pm that we received our paperwork back and then about 5 minutes later our dogs (on leashes and not in the crates). We opted to get the crates back. Our dogs were perfectly fine. No indication of any problems or even tiredness although they slept a lot later on.

A notice on the wall said that clearance for pets from outside the E.U. can take up to four hours.

We stayed in the Oakwood Guest House in West Drayton for the rest of the day and night to allow our dogs to recover before driving to Yorkshire. This is an affordable B&B that accepts dogs at no extra cost and is very close to Heathrow.

Note that one of our dogs had a Home Again chip (10 characters). We thought about renting a scanner but decided to risk it after reading somewhere that the Animal Reception Center has about 15 different types of scanners. Well we made the right decision because there were no problems with reading his Home Again chip. Along with our paperwork we received a DEFRA certificate stating the dog's details and chip numbers and the fact that they were approved to enter the UK.

I hope this helps reassure future travelers with their dogs. We were incredibly stressed because one of our dogs is so nervous. We even panicked at one point and tried to book on the QM2 instead (but failed). However it all turned out fine.


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Re: Our Moving Experience
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2010, 07:52:02 AM »
Glad to hear you and the dogs made it just fine! :)
Moved to London February 5, 2010


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Re: Our Moving Experience
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2010, 09:49:10 AM »
Glad it went well!  :D

Just as a reference to people flying their pets out of Newark. The animal reception area isn't anything like what you described at Denver. It was a desk on the ground floor of the airport with a large area in the back where they had pets in crates. It wasn't the cargo facility of the airport.


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Re: Our Moving Experience
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2010, 10:13:50 AM »
I'm glad you and dogs landed safely!  :)
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Re: Our Moving Experience
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2010, 08:34:17 AM »
Thank you so much for your information!

I am planning on moving to the UK from Atlanta, GA in a couple of years and will be bringing my black lab/boxer mix with me.  She just turned a year old last week, so by the time we move she will be close to 3 years old.  She is very sweet and nothing bothers her too much.  Seeing that you made the move with a nervous dog makes me hopeful that mine will do fine.  It just makes me nervous since she will not be right beside me during the flight....but I am sure that all pet owners feel the same as me!

Again, thanx for the wonderful information!  I am glad the move went well!

"All I gotta tell you is my name, rank, and favorite cereal.  And that's all you're gettin'!" ~Bill Engvall, Delta Farce

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Re: Our Moving Experience
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2011, 06:49:28 PM »
Ah, I just posted a question in another thread about my incredibly nervous dog!  This definitely helped.  Thanks for sharing!


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Re: Our Moving Experience
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2011, 12:59:09 AM »
Thank you so much for posting this. We're about to move with our dog from Denver to Yorkshire too! Well, from Rollinsville, which is in the mountains 45 minutes from Boulder. We're between Nederland and Black Hawk if you've ever been up this way. It was such a relief to read how well BA and the Animal Reception Center cared for your dogs. Thank you for posting such detail.


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Re: Our Moving Experience
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2011, 04:30:21 PM »
Hello there.  I'm from the Boulder area originally and moved with my dog in 2009. I took my British husband up to Rollins Pass last spring to show off the Mountains and he was gobsmacked by all the space.  That area is one of my fav places in Colorado.  You wont get anything like that over here, thats for sure :)

Just a little hint re: pet travel - the staff in Denver let my friend check my dog in around noon and take her back home (she lived in Thornton near-ish the airport) until 7:00pm (just before they would board her on the flight) so my VERY nervous doggie wouldnt have to sit in the cargo facility.  If you have a friend/family who may be able to hang out with your dog while you are checking in for your flights and waiting in the airport, it may be worth it to see if they extend this kindness to your dog as well.


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Re: Our Moving Experience
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2011, 09:45:25 PM »
Mirrajay, thanks for the info about getting someone to take our dog home while we wait for flight time. What a great idea. We will probably be flying out of Dallas after visiting my family, so I'll have to see if I can do the same thing there.

Yes, I will miss these huge skies! I nearly cry every time I drive to pick up my daughter from school. There are high spots along the way where the view is breathtaking: massive blue sky bordered by jagged, snowy peaks ... especially on those ice cold days right after a snow ... you know what I'm talking about if you grew up in Boulder. I fear I'll never see blue sky again, and then I tell myself to stop being so melodramatic. England is beautiful in its own special way, and it has a color too: GREEN!  :) And I can't wait to show DD lambing season, sheep dog trials, castles, abbeys, the sea, and so on.


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