…to post more …. Ehm…!! And I really wanted to take you all on the road to how we went about plannig our summer holidays and leave the island without a car, but with a dog. This was pretty much our main point of focus over the past months. Let me say this much: you’ve got to be a good researcher and/or be persistent or both – or have money, which – as we all know – solves a lot of problems. Micro is not going to travel as far as one of his girlfriends, Grace this summer (well, he only has two girlfriends, probably in case one is not at the dog park… ) otherwise he loves a (tennis) ball best of all. Anyway, Grace will spend her summer with her family in the States (can a dog have a frequent flyer pass?), and Micro is coming with us to Spain – and since we can’t disguise him as our hairy cousin Fred to take him into the Eurostar (no animals allowed), we needed some other options.
First of all avoid under all circumstances (unless you want to pay a lot of money) renting a car and leaving the UK with it. Because of driving on the other side of the road, the breakdown cover cost will turn your hair white. So leave the island and rent a car on the other side:
Solution (1) There is one ferry that takes dogs in kennels on the boat, so you don’t need a car: LD line ferries Newhaven to Dieppe or Portsmouth to Le Havre.This is, if you want the South of France, Spain or Portugal, like we do.
Solution (2) for those who want The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland or some other country in that part of the world, you can go from Harwich to Hoek van Holland, Amsterdam or Rotterdam.
Solution (3) You can pay a cab in Folkstone to drive you (and your furry friend) onto the train and through the channel tunnel.
Solution (4) There are numerous agencies (no, really lots and lots of them) that take your pet and drive it to its destination all over Europe. But unless you’re moving and selling your car, what’s the point? Travelling together is much more fun (hopefully).
This website is an absolutely amazing resource in case you want to know more. I’ve also done a lot of reading on the German side of the dogforum – why is the UK side not nearly as active? – to find out what sorts of things we need to buy/ask the vet before we go. Thankfully, people at the dog place have been amazing with tips and tricks on what to do and what to buy and what to avoid. If you leave me a comment or question, I’ll let you know what we thought would be useful to have for Micro.
And after carefully listing all the options/solutions and costs … we went for solution (5) and signed the contract on a car lease. Micro has since learned that he is the owner of a small car that takes him to fun places like Richmond Park or (probably even better) Wimbledon Common, where he had a play date with two other dogs. It does make you feel like arranging play dates for little kids, though… :-) We also had to learn that our landlord carefully withheld the information that this flat wasn’t going to get a parking permit (so that you can park the car on the street, without paying a fortune or not at all in some areas), even though we asked the agency about that when we moved it. This confronted us with a complete new set of problems, and (in my case) sleepless nights. It gives you that nice special feeling of stupidity, when you go up to the person at the counter in the council office asking for a parking permit and they tell you that you live in a no-car-flat… which should technically be in the contract you signed. But this being the island and not Germany, where we would certainly have called the Mieterschutzbund the same day, you’re left to fend for yourself. After the mouse infestation in January, more than 2 months of building works, letting people go into our flat without giving us the tiniest notice before, accusing our dog of soiling the communal hallway, which he has not done ( and which, btw I’m the only one to clean, not only regularly, but at all) - for the first time in my life I did understand tenants that trash a place. It shouldn’t be like that. Anyway, you live and learn. Now we can sit back and figure out which way we will be driving down to Spain, so that we can stop for little doggie and some walks on the way. We have a lovely walk through a pine wood in Spain and I’ve also found that there is a dog beach (squeeek!) super close by. Although we can only take him in the morning or evenings so he will not burn his little paws.
Now you know what we’ve been up to over the past weeks. Hope your weeks were more full of ups rather than downs.