First Stage of the journey.  Heathrow to Los Angeles

Getting Ready For A 12000 Mile Journey

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Moving to New Zealand is not a decision taken lightly.  Even more difficult was whether to bring a much loved pet.  Aside of the expense, the trauma to an animal of a 12000 mile journey also had to be taken into consideration.  New Zealand's import regulations for pets are complex and stringent. Due to recent relaxing of European legislation with regard to pet travel in Europe, the UK is no longer classified as Rabies Free but instead as Rabies controlled as far as New Zealand is concerned.  This means that 10 days quarantine in New Zealand is now a requirement.

Poppy has, in the past, travelled to France by means of her European Pet Passport.  These requirements are not adequate for travel to New Zealand.  Amongst additional requirements are Kennel Cough Vaccinations, various blood tests and more stringent rabies antibodies tests.  For Europe an antibody test is undertaken after the first vaccination and then not required again as long as boosters are given and recorded within each 3 year anniversary.  New Zealand insist on a vaccination booster for rabies within 12 months of travel whatever the antibody test result.  The result required is a reading of 0.5.  Poppy's was in excess of 70.  She still required an additional vaccination.  There are many other rules, regulations and required permits. Costs will include your exporter, the quarantine kennels, your import permit, all vet and test laboratory fees, and unless you have a full residency visa, Goods Service Tax  will be payable  for import on the value of the dog PLUS all air freight charges.  Although these costs may make it tempting to attempt the process on your own I can categorically advise against it.  Without the advice received from Ryslip I firmly believe Poppy would still be in the UK!

A word here in praise of Ryslip themselves.  Liz Cartlege is well known in the dog world. One of the UKs top judges, she has judged the most prestigious event Best In Show at Crufts and has, for many years owned Lancashire Heelers.  Ryslip were highly recommended by their previous clients and my first conversations with Liz and Helen put my mind at ease.  They certainly lived up to expectations.

Having sorted out the UK end I also had to make a booking with an import and quarantine facility in New Zealand.  There are only 2 authorised facilities on North Island.  I visited Pet Haven.  Forty miles north of Auckland Airport.  The facility was extremely well presented. kennels clean and roomy.  Music playing quietly in the background gave it a homely feel and the walls were lined with thank-you pictures from previous clients.

Despite all the preparations and reassurances I have to admit that I was very anxious during Poppy's long flights.  A 12 hour flight from Heathrow to Los Angeles and another 12 hours from LA to Auckland.  Ryslip only use Air New Zealand for transport as that means there is only one stopover for the animal.  Other airlines usually involve at least 2 stops.