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Goodbye Mr Chips

Britanny gite owners John and Mary Jack have
a cautionary tale for all visiting pet owners

You’ve chosen your lovely holiday accommodation, the
ferry’s booked and you are counting down the days to
your well earned rest. Last minute checks….passports, ferry
tickets, clothes, swimsuits, some vital foodstuffs, the dogs’ passports and the car has had her final check.
All is in order – nothing can go wrong now.

You arrive at your holiday home and everything is just as you hoped. Sun, sea, sand and lots of good food washed down with the red stuff. Surely this is the best holiday ever. Must remember to get the dogs treated at the vets within five days of leaving for home and get stocked up with all sorts of things to take back. Arrive at the vets and DISASTER. There appears to be no microchip in one of the dogs despite the pet passport indicating the presence of a micro-chip. The holiday has now turned into a nightmare. What can you do now?

This actually happened to seasoned travellers who were staying at La Grande Maison, our gite in Britanny in the summer of 2015. They had seen our advert on Paws Abroad and decided to stay with us for a fortnight. We have been welcoming all sorts of pets and their owners for more than 10 years and we have had dogs, cats and even a parrot stay with us.

Large gardens, lots of lovely walks all around and experienced owners on hand to help and advise.  All went well until the dogs visited our chosen vet for the pre-travel checks and treatment. Incredibly one of the dogs did not appear to be microchipped. Two scanners were produced but neither was able to detect a chip. So we arranged with a second vet to do the scan. They even X-rayed the dog but there was nothing. They said the dog would not be allowed to enter the UK and would have to go into quarantine, which was confirmed by the UK authorities (DEFRA). The only option was to put another chip into the dog but he would have to be re-vaccinated against rabies and this meant a further three weeks in France.

Well, this little dog had a few issues; gorgeous though he is, he is not the calmest of fellows, especially among strangers, so the idea of quarantine kennels was pretty scary. We did what seemed natural, offered to look after the little guy until he could go home to the UK some three weeks later. Having dogs of our own, we knew only too well how the owners were feeling. Interestingly we had guests arriving with four dogs to add to the challenge of the situation, but it was all fine.

So, three weeks pass for the extended holiday-making dog but sadly his owners back in England have commitments and it’s tricky to get back to fetch him, so one of us took a ‘pet friendly’ crossing with Brittany Ferries (the dog staying in the cabin, accompanied all the time) and then a drive in England to meet his lovely owners, who were only too pleased to cover the costs for the trip.  Everyone was happy and no real stress for the dog, we think the owners were far more worried than he was!

The moral of the story is, please do check before you leave the UK that your dogs’ microchips are in place safely, as well as ensuring they are in good health. Subsequent investigations by the dog’s owners show that this is not an isolated incident.

Make sure that your holiday destination is one that really does welcome dogs and that the property owners can recommend and book vet appointments for you. A good holiday home should be a genuine home from home. 
To read more about La Grande Maison visit their advert.