Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Moving to Belgium Part II: All About Pets

Our pets are a worry : 2 cats and a black lab. Sigh. I have the option of sending for them later but...well, they are like kids to us and I would worry but the thought of a possible long kennel stay over there is a worry too.
PETS: Bring them with you. Yes, it causes anxiety and it might be that you can't bring them because of your location (too hot/cold). If you can, bring them with you. Fly direct though. We drove to Atlanta and I know people who have driven to DC or to NY just to keep their pets with them and to do the journey in one leg.

Lots of Americans have their pets over here, so don't be insecure about finding a place that allows pets. Belgian landlords are much more accepting of pets than American landlords. Even if the Belgian landlord doesn’t mark the “pet’s allowed” box on the housing listing, I was told to ask because most will take pets.

FLYING OVER: I read a lot about pets, carriers and such and you should too. There are certain rules that will make or break your trip depending on the airline. Things such as having air vents all around your dog hard carriers will matter. I called the airline repeatedly to make sure of every last detail and honestly the pet thing was the most stressful element of the trip. They're so helpless and I worried so much. It DOES all work out.

Our dog is an 85 pound Golden Retriever and he cost $550 on Delta Airlines to go in their climate controlled cargo hold. The cost varies by airline, though. His carrier cost $94.99 at Petsmart.

PETS HEALTH: You need a health certificate from your local base vet (free with orders). I've heard they are the safest bet because they are well versed in the proper certificates for each of the different countries the military are sent. There are other health requirements in regards to the usual immunizations.

Here in Belgium, I do not have to treat my pets for fleas or heartworm! Big savings moneywise and my itchy dog is itchy no more (flea allergy).

PETS/TEMPORARY LODGING: We were able to keep the dog in our room at the old Hotel Masieres. There is a brand new hotel now for incoming personnel that opened last month. They have seven pet approved rooms for a charge of $3 per pet per room and a $30 cleaning charge for each pet when you leave.

There is also a newly expanded kennel about 2 blocks from the hotel and the charge there is $15/day for a dog. That includes dry dog food. I just had my dog there and he seemed pretty happy afterwards, so I think it's a good place. They also board cats, I hear. All I can say is reserve as early as you can. Since you're PCSing you should get priority.

FENCES FOR PETS: I actually didn't seen any houses with fences. It's not the Belgian style at least out in the boonies where I am. They either are open spaces or have a courtyard (mostly city houses).

CATS: I brought a collapsible canvas litter box (so happy I had it, GOD!) in my luggage and some litter or have your sponsor buy and bring you small bag when they pick you up. I also brought a small amount of pet food. You will most likely arrive in Belgium in the early morning and be EXHAUSTED and just want to crash. You are not going to want to make a trip to the commissary to get pet supplies.

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