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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am sorry that I have not been around the past 6 months. I have been on the road a lot and have not had much time to myself. I have missed the forum though and with a few days before I get back to work I figured I would drop you all a note and let you know how things are going.

With my posting in Japan coming to an end in the summer and one son already back home in Switzerland at university my wife and I figured that it would be easier on everyone if we moved in stages rather than a "big-bang" effect. We decided that she would move back to Switzerland in October along with our three hounds and our cockatoo. Given that the only direct flights are with Swiss International Airlines, it was pretty much a no-brainer which flight we would be taking. We contacted the airline and they were really helpful in arranging this transfer. As you can imagine, with bird flu raging in Asia, it wasn't the dogs that the authorities were concerned about but, with some (well actually a great deal) help from my Japanese assistant, we were able to overcome all the administrative hurdles and the last-minute curveballs that the authorities threw at us.

With the movers in the house removing half our furniture we decided that it would be unsettling for the dogs and boarded them at the kennels near the airport where they had spent 10 days in the summer. The dogs had been happy there and were not upset to be going back. As it was off-season they were also given a lot of attention. An added advantage was that the kennels are run by the Quarantine Service who would also be responsible for the veterinary check on the day of departure. The kennels agreed to meet us with the dogs at the Quarantine Office before we checked-in.

Check-in was facilitated greatly by the airline as we had a counter to ourselves! They provided someone to watch our (numerous) bags while we were at quarantine and someone to assist with getting the dogs and cockatoo there and back. Quiet it was not! The veterinary check was a bit of a joke. The vet had a look, said that they didn't look as overweight as most Bassets do and signed the papers. Back to the check-in and sorting out all the baggage and paying for the transport of the animals (ouch!!). I won't tell you how much it was in total but work it out for yourselves at around $60 per Kg. The cashier said we must really love our animals...she was thinking that we were nuts!

Once on board we enquired whether the animals had been loaded and 5 minutes later the Captain himself came back to say that our pets were on board and went on to explain the conditions in the hold. His explanation really helped put our minds at ease. We found it particularly thoughtful that he actually took time just before departure (when they get kind of busy up front) to come back and talk to us personally. We had arranged for someone to meet us with a large van and also for some assistance with baggage. When we got through passport control and into baggage reclaim we saw with great relief that all our bags had been loaded on one large baggage cart and the animals on another. We went to customs who checked the paperwork and who commented on the fact that paperwork out of Japan was always immaculate. He charged us a small administration charge and sent us on our way. I guess the earlier hassles by the Japanese had been well worthwhile.

Once out of the airport building we let the dogs out of their sky-kennels to stretch and have some water. Surprisingly they weren't all that thirsty. The cages were not too wet or smelly either. The pooch pad had done a good job absorbing anything that had been "done". Considering they had been in the kennels for almost 13 hours we were really surprised. We were also surprised to note that there was not one single scuff mark on any of the pet carriers. They really must have been handled with great care and attention.

Once home the dogs got to check out the new place without the obstacle of any furniture. That was due to arrive the following morning. As we now have a closed yard, this was not a problem. Our house backs on to a forest and there were many new and unknown country smells for the dogs to check out. You don't get to smell too many deer, rabbits and foxes in the middle of Yokohama!! The first night my wife and I were supposed to sleep on airbeds, but the fact is that nobody slept. With 8 hours time difference all our animals body clocks were out of sync. They were ready to play at 3am. At 11am the next morning our cockatoo was shouting "night night time...see you in the morning". Luckily, this only lasted a few days!!

The dogs have now been over there since the beginning of November and it was great to get back to see them over Christmas. I am sure that you can all imagine how much I miss that Hound Welcome when I get home from work in the evening! I certainly don't get that kind of attention from my younger son!! But there are several things that we have noticed:
  1. The dogs appear much healthier. Yes, they are still picking stuff up from the ground, but they are not puking nearly as much
  2. The walks around where we live are stupendous. Great forests with not a car in sight. There are "poop" bins located at strategic locations with a free supply of poop bags. You are expected to pick up after pooch and dispose of the offending articles properly. Most people do.
  3. Hana no longer barks at black dogs. Maybe the fact that they are mostly massive Bernese Mountain Dogs has something to do with it or maybe she hasn't picked up the local dialect yet!! In any case, she is a lot calmer and is not interested in the door bell anymore.
  4. Abby, who was never interested in the front door, now positions herself behind the glass see-through panel and barks at the postman. She is only saying hello...but he is terrified and moves on quickly.
  5. Everyone is sleeping longer. Whereas in Japan the dogs were up at 5:30am, things have changed for the better in Switzerland. Cassie is up at 6:30, goes out and make a beeline straight back to bed. Abby and Hana rise at about 8:30 and wander into the kitchen to tell my wife it's time for breakfast. This is a definite improvement!! It must be the mountain air.

    Anyway, that's a long post and I hope that I haven't bored you when all I wanted to say was "everyone's fine". International air travel with pets can be intimidating, but it shouldn't stop us from taking our dear 4-legged (or 2-winged) proteges with us. Unfortunately there are all too many people who do give up too easily and use the bureaucracy as an excuse to try and "dump" their pets (and I use the word after much thought having experienced it first-hand too often for my liking). If anyone here ever needs some pointers or has some questions in this respect, please do ask. My wife and I are only too happy to help others in the same situation. I know that we got a lot of help from many quarters and it makes a ton of difference.

    God bless and a Happy New Year to all of you and your hounds!
    Mike

    Daddy to Abby, Hana and Cassie (and of course Tsuki the cockatoo)
 

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What an interesting account--thanks for updating us. I know how much planning goes into flying my dogs within the country; I can just imagine the challenges of flying them internationally. Your new location sounds great. Post pictures when you get a chance. :)
 

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Mike, I really enjoyed reading that. Sounds like you were all very organized, which certainly helped things go smoothly. I can just imagine how much the hounds are enjoying the new smells.... :rolleyes:

Sandy
 

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Wow, those are some well traveled and well loved dogs (and bird)! Loved reading your story and would love to see some pictures of your hounds "out and about" in their new surroundings!
 

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"At 11am the next morning our cockatoo was shouting "night night time...see you in the morning". Luckily, this only lasted a few days!!"
:lol: ! :lol: !

I loved reading this- thanks for posting!
 

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I'm glad you wrote and your experiences with moving sounded very pleasant and not as bad as it could have been! It was enjoyable to read your description.

I'm glad everyone is all settled and enjoying your new surroundings. I think that we should move to Switzerland because Ruby wakes us up between 5-6 a.m. forever and it would be nice if we all could sleep a bit more. :rubydoo

Please send new pics of your hounds again.

Take care,
Janice and little Ruby ("moo!")
 

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That was very interesting, Mike. I really enjoyed reading it.

I know the rules for moving pets internationally vary wildly depending on the destination country, but I was surprised there wasn't a quarantine period. I'm glad for all of you that there wasn't!

Echoing most other folks, Pictures, please! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That was very interesting, Mike. I really enjoyed reading it.

I know the rules for moving pets internationally vary wildly depending on the destination country, but I was surprised there wasn't a quarantine period. I'm glad for all of you that there wasn't![/b]
Very fortunately, Japan is free of urban rabies. Most European countries relax the quarantine regulations for dogs from Japan if the rabies shots are up to date. Under certain circumstances even the UK!

I will be back in Switzerland in February and see if I can get some pictures of the dogs in their local surroundings. Walking the three of them, I doubt my wife has a hand free to do so in the meantime :)

Glad you all enjoyed the post

Mike
 

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Fabulous account. I may be taking Francis to France with me next fall so it'll be interesting to see how we fare.
Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This is one photo I have with me in Japan.
A couple of months before we left we started getting the dogs used to sleeping in their travel kennels. As you can see, Hana made herself quite at home!

 

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That was an interesting story. I can't imagine traveling with 3 hounds such long distances. Your preperation I bet made things easier on you and your hounds.
 

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I'm glad your re-locating experience went so well. It sounds like good preparations and organizational skills are the key to a successful move.

Just a quick question... I'm curious about how the Japanese people reacted to your Bassets? I could be wrong, but I'd be willing to bet that they are not common in Japan.

Terry
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Just a quick question... I'm curious about how the Japanese people reacted to your Bassets? I could be wrong, but I'd be willing to bet that they are not common in Japan.
Terry[/b]
Terry,

funnily enough we saw a lot more Bassets in Japan than we have in Switzerland. In fact we haven't seen any in Switzerland since we moved there. Round where we lived in Japan there were about three other Bassets. Unfortunately they were all grossly overweight (as was Hana when we rescued her). Still, there are several Basset clubs in Japan and many people recognise them correctly thanks to the Hush Puppy ads.

Here's the website for one of the breeders in the Tokyo area:

Clydesdale Bassets Japan
 

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Terry,

funnily enough we saw a lot more Bassets in Japan than we have in Switzerland. In fact we haven't seen any in Switzerland since we moved there. Round where we lived in Japan there were about three other Bassets. Unfortunately they were all grossly overweight (as was Hana when we rescued her). Still, there are several Basset clubs in Japan and many people recognise them correctly thanks to the Hush Puppy ads.

Here's the website for one of the breeders in the Tokyo area:

Clydesdale Bassets Japan[/b]
I stand corrected. :rolleyes: I guess Bassets are known and loved the world over. I don't really know why I thought they'd be a novelty over there. Perhaps because the Japanese people seem so NEAT and Bassets are anything but, what with slobbery mouths, hound-dog smells, shedding, and generally messy habits. Moe has made a dirty and seemingly permanent Moe-shaped spot that defies cleaning on my pale green wing chair. :eek: He has defeated my best efforts to discourage him from using it and even when I gave up and covered it up with an old sheet he just nudged it off before laying down. :rolleyes: I simply cannot picture a Basset in what I imagine to be a tidy Japanese home. :blink:
 

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What a wonderful story, Mike. I'm so glad the move and travels went so well for the hounds. Sounds like you planned ahead and were very organized. We can't wait to see more pictures of the travelers and their new home.
 

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I loved reading your story! Fortunately, you were able to afford the expense of taking them back to Switzerland. I would imagine that some folks end up giving up their beloved dogs when they are forced to move and can't afford to move them too :( . Your houndies are sure lucky! Bird too! When will you be moving back yourself? Must be lonely without your babies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I loved reading your story! Fortunately, you were able to afford the expense of taking them back to Switzerland. I would imagine that some folks end up giving up their beloved dogs when they are forced to move and can't afford to move them too :( . Your houndies are sure lucky! Bird too! When will you be moving back yourself? Must be lonely without your babies.[/b]
We were unlucky is as much as taking a flight with a stop in Frankfurt would have cost us 50% less for the pets, but we weren't allowed a transit stop with the cockatoo (avian flu!) and we just didn't want to do that to our hounds. However, the price of moving pets is considerably cheaper again between Japan and the US. Some of the excuses one hears here for dumping pets are really pathetic, but then that is probably an issue all over...

I do miss our dogs but luckily I get to go home fairly often and experience that great welcome at the door. Cassie gets so excited she loses her bark and just squeaks!!

Here's another photo I found from the day we moved into the new place. You would have thought the dogs would have hated the sky-kennels after the flight, but on the day the movers were bringing our stuff we put the kennels outside to give them somewhere snug. This is Cassie (front) and Abbie taking a break from fooling around in the yard....

 
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