Monday, August 18, 2014

So You Wanna Bring your Pet

As you pack your belongings for Spain, you look over to Peaches/Rover/Cujo and remember the huge list of things you have to do to prepare your pet for a trans-Atlantic journey: shots, papers, microchip, proper cage...

My cat survived the journey over here, but dealing with having a pet while living in Spain has been... interesting. If I'd known how things would turn out, I would have done things differently.

When you bring a pet to Spain there are unprecedented, added costs: veterinarian visits, the equipment to meet international and pet guidelines, and especially the airline ticket to and from Spain. I used British Airways because it seemed to have a great reputation for transporting pets. Plus in Heathrow, he was held for 24 hours (in the animal hospital's facilities) while vets took a look at him. Great care, but expensive to pay.

Once in Spain, you always have to consider the pet when finding accommodation. It's difficult for me to share a flat because I don't know how roomates would handle adjusting their lives to having a pet: keeping the windows slightly shut so he's not tempted to jump out, cleaning the furniture because of his hair, and being awoken to his meows of hunger at 7 a.m. are some of the things I experience. I live alone, and as a consequence I pay more for rent than many candidates in my program.

On another note, there's a huge temptation to travel while in Spain. Cheap prices abound! But when it's time to go, it's bothersome to get someone to watch your pet. I've been lucky this year because my upstairs neighbour is a gem, but I worry about next year when I move to a new city.

During the week, besides working, you'll also be out making new friends and trying out new places in your new town. My cat sees me enough because I'm a bit of a homebody, but when I am home I'm usually working on something so I'm not actually spending time with him. He just chills alongside me.

My advice: work hard to find your pet a good home in your own country. I only asked one friend,who wasn't interested. I should have put the word out more. I love my cat and he's adjusted to my new life, but if I could turn back time I would've tried harder for him to stay in Canada, so that we'd both be comfortable.

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