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Mheynes456

Landed in calgary with 4 dogs

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Mheynes456

So my husband and I finally arrived in calgary on Monday after receiving our pr in August 2017.

We landed with our 4 dogs - we did everything ourselves. I was looking for information while planning all this and I couldn't always find what I was looking for so I  thought I would share our experience.

Booking

So firstly, you can only fly your dogs via excess baggage through klm on the same flight as you if you fly from cape town. If you fly from somewhere else you will need to use an agent and book them as cargo. That is through klm, . Not sure about other airlines. The cost is $200 per dog. So as soon as you have booked your flight, you need to call reservations and ask them to book your dogs. There is a limit of 3 dogs per passenger and a weight limit of 75kg per dog. They also will not allow you to fly them as excess baggage between November and March because of the weather. You should also buy your crates well in advance to get your dogs used to them. We bought them from realpet.co.za an online company that delivers nation wide. 

I would also advise that you ask to pay for the dogs in advance and not at the airport. We waited in for about an hour just to pay for them.

Documents 

So canada does not have quarantine and also do not require a blood titer tests. But you must ensure that they have had their rabies vaccination  within 1 year but at least 30 days before you leave. Then 10 days before you leave, you need to go to your local vet and take the pet export document with you. You get this form from the western cape government website. Just look up state veterinarian.  The vet fills in and stamps the form. You then take the form to the state vets office, we went to the one in milnerton. They also stamp and sign it and print it out on special watermarked paper. We paid R600 for the 4 pages. It is not compulsory that the dogs are microchipped but your airline might require it. Klm didn't as our dogs are not chipped.

 

On the day of flight

We fed our dogs about 3 hours before we left for the airport and gave them water etc. We also took them for an extra long walk just before we left to tire them out a bit. We hired a shuttle Van to pick them up and take them to the airport and we met the van at the airport. We also put water with some calming drops in their bowls and froze them overnight so that they could lick on that throughout the flight. It melted pretty quickly though. We also slept with their blankets for a few days before the flight to get our scent on them so that they would feel more comfortable. 

At the airport

So we met the shuttle at the airport,  quickly put the wheels on their crates as there weren't any trolleys big enough for the crates. Then we rolled them and our luggage to the check in counter. They weighed our bags and each of the dog crates and gave us our bag tags and the crate tags. We then had to go to the ticket counter to pay for them. This took a while as the lady behind the counter didn't really know what she was doing. Once paid, we went back to the check in counter and got our boarding passes. Then we had to go downstairs to the abnormal baggage area which is like a window with a conveyer belt. You have to first take the dogs out of the crates and they scan the crates and then you put the dog back in and put them in the crates through the window and there they go. They don't even check if the crates comply with standards, they didn't  check health certificates or anything like that. We were at the airport 4 hours before departure. We taped a form that you get from the klm website to the crate with all of the dogs details on it. We also taped dog food to the top of their crates just in case there were delays.

On the flight

Once we boarded, we asked the flight attendant to confirm with the captain that the dogs made it onto the plane.  We did this both from cape town snd from Amsterdam. We only had a 1h 40m layover in Amsterdam so this wasn't long enough to walk the dogs.

On arrival in canada

Once off the plane we went straight to passport control office where they checked our landing papers and passports. They were very friendly. We landed at 1:30 pm so the line was a bit long but went quick. He then sent us to counter e for immigration and there was no one else in the queue. Also pretty friendly. They checked our landing papers and passports  stamped and signed them and asked to see the declaration form and the dogs health certificates. By this time we could hear the dogs from the other side of the airport. They were waiting for us by the baggage area. The officer at the immigration didn't ask us to pay for the dogs or to do any inspections either which was surprising. He gave us our papers and told us we can fetch our bags and dogs and exit. We then went to fetch the dogs, put the wheels back on their crates and left the airport. We luckily had someone fetch us from the airport in a dodge grand caravan but we still had to dismantle the crates as they were too big to fit into the car.

We had booked an airbnb prior to leaving who were fine with the 4 dogs but had a condition that the dogs need to be crated when we are not in the house. So this broke our hearts a bit. Also, the place is not fully fenced so we have to take the dogs outside on a leash all the time which is a real mission. We have booked until the 12th may, but we are looking for something else asap so hopefully we can move into a rental next week 

Since Monday we have managed to open our bank accounts, get our SIN numbers, buy cellphones and get a laptop. I have also put down a deposit on a car yesterday. We weren't able to pay for it from our credit card so I will have to wait for my money to clear in my account on Monday and pay by bank draft. We got insurance through statefarm.  We had to pay for the year insurance upfront. We couldn't find many other places that would insure us our sa licence, although I have heard that intact also does it.

So we have been searching for pet friendly places and we have found a couple. It is definitely more difficult but it is doable. We are going to look at a place this evening. Seems quite promising. 

We are very happy to be here and also very glad that we brought our fur kids with. The transition would have been harder without them. So for those considering it, yes it is more stressful and yes it can be a hassle  but it is definitely worth it. They are our family and we made a commitment to them when we brought them home to love them forever. They have also adjusted quickly and seem happy to be here.

So thats all for now. I will update when I can and let you know how our transition is. 

Feel free to ask questions.

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Four Geese

 Mheynes456, this is such a wonderful and moving story and you have made my Friday evening. You hear horror stories of people having their dogs put down or dumped at the SPCA, to be put down, because they couldn’t be bothered to pay for or make arrangements to take them with.  You and your husband will be rewarded in life, for sure.

i am stressing about one dog, a cockapoo, and we will be travelling from the U.K.  I am also worrying about getting a place to rent that will accept pets. But your story has given me hope.

I agree that our furry friends deserve the best no matter what changes in our lives.

Thank you for sharing and wishing you all the best

 

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Piper

I just want to say wonderful information to share!

 

I wish more people brought their animals with. It was one of those non-negotiable items for us and I just don’t understand why others don’t feel the same.

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Mheynes456
Just now, Four Geese said:

 Mheynes456, this is such a wonderful and moving story and you have made my Friday evening. You hear horror stories of people having their dogs put down or dumped at the SPCA, to be put down, because they couldn’t be bothered to pay for or make arrangements to take them with.  You and your husband will be rewarded in life, for sure.

i am stressing about one dog, a cockapoo, and we will be travelling from the U.K.  I am also worrying about getting a place to rent that will accept pets. But your story has given me hope.

I agree that our furry friends deserve the best no matter what changes in our lives.

Thank you for sharing and wishing you all the best

 

We were also stressing a lot,  it's normal. For one dog I can assure you that you won't have a problem finding a rental. All the places we called only jade a problem because we have 4 dogs. They all said if it's only one or two it would be fine. The 4 dogs is a bit of a problem. We eventually managed to speak to a very nice lady who sounded like she we accept the 4 dogs but she is very weary which is understandable. So it's likely that she will have a condition that she will do regular inspections or something like that. One of our dogs is a Jack Russell. So he is a handful of  his own. And barks a lot which is a problem.  But you will be fine with just the one. No problem

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Jules

Yikes, 4 dogs. I hope you find a rental fast. We just sold our home and there's a 3 month gap between closing dates to the new house we bought. So we are currently looking for a rental by May 23rd. We have 1 dog and so far I can see that most rentals are NOT pet friendly. 

:-(

But legally once you are in a rental they can't evict you over a dog even if the contract said no dogs. To evict you over a pet it has to be damaging the property or causing a disturbance to neighbours. If your pets are well behaved the landlord actually can't just evict you. But it is a moral dilemma before you rent. Do you tell them you have a pet when they ask.... once you are in and you are paying rent they can't just evict over a dog. 

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Nelline

Your story sounds so similar to ours - also flew our 3 dogs as excess baggage with KLM. Very easy and straightforward. Rented 3 times and found pet friendly rentals fairly easily. We focused on Kijiji and even aimed for the ones not marked as "pet friendly" - if there wasn't a stipulation in the description that said "absolutely no pets" - I still contacted them.

We are now no longer renting, and have two fairly large dogs and a number of Quail :P

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Mheynes456

We have found pet friendly accommodation too. It took a lot of searching but I must say it wasn't as difficult as I thought. We viewed quite a few houses that were willing to take the 4 dogs. Some of them just requested an extra damage deposit. Hopefully we won't have to rent for too long and will be able to buy soon.

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Nelline

Good job! Happy to hear this. On an aside, we no longer have any quail. :angry: A weasel or mink got into their pen and killed them all. Ate 3, killed the rest because they could. I am NOT amused! Sad moment.

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Jules
On 5/13/2018 at 9:20 PM, Nelline said:

Good job! Happy to hear this. On an aside, we no longer have any quail. :angry: A weasel or mink got into their pen and killed them all. Ate 3, killed the rest because they could. I am NOT amused! Sad moment.

That's not good at all. Didn't even know that weasels and mink would kill and eat quail. 

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Nelline
4 hours ago, Jules said:

That's not good at all. Didn't even know that weasels and mink would kill and eat quail. 

Ate some of them (fair play - predators etc) but killed and left the rest, such a waste.

We will rebuild - fortify the encampment with extra strength wire.

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