We at “Moving to Valencia”, as well as at least 70% of our expat clients who move to Valencia, love their pets as their family members and the hundreds of miles of distance to their new home in Valencia haven´t stopped them from being together.
We encourage you: do not leave your pet behind. Valencia is pet friendly!
It is time to share some of the bravest stories from our dear clients and friends. Cats and dogs, old and young, have travelled the oceans together with their families.
The stress before moving – who is scared more, Pete or you?
Missy & John (USA)
The most stressful part of our move to Spain was how to get our 10 year old Schnauzer mix, Pete, from the United States to Valencia. The best advice we can give is to know the requirements, be organized, and just relax.
Steps we took for Pete to fly “in the hold of the plane” on Iberia Airlines
1. Check “prohibited breeds” list on airlines’ websites before proceeding.
2. Choose airline that treats dogs as “checked baggage,” not cargo.
3. Look for a direct flight. (You can drive to an airport with direct flights.)
4. Choose your departure month carefully – no animals in the hold if departure and/or arrival airport is over 85 degrees F (some also have a minimum temperature requirement).
5. Reserve your dog’s spot first for the flight you wish to take. After confirmation, buy your own ticket.
Requirements to Enter Spain – Getting the USDA-APHIS Accreditation
Everything required to have your dog enter Spain is on the USDA-APHIS website.
Always check the most recent posting. Timing is everything – contact your vet early to get started. Once the paperwork is completed, you only have a TEN DAY WINDOW to get the APHIS certification (typically in your state capital) and leave the country.
Preparing the Kennel
Again, our best advice is to read and understand all the requirements and be organized. Your dog will be fine.
(Feel free to get in touch with us if you would like Missy´s contact details for more information)
Pick up time
Susan & Jamie (USA)
We entrusted our five pets to American Airlines Cargo in Chicago. Nine hours later our friend Jenny met us in Barcelona. Eager to reunite our family, we picked up a reserved rental van and found the cargo warehouse.
I grabbed the paperwork and strode in to claim my “live-animal shipment” confident we’d be on the road to Valencia in no time. Not so fast. With a line of unhappy truck drivers and one window open, we began the inauspicious beginning of our six-hour long process to clear the customs paperwork.
First, the AFS office that the airline had directed us to was for regular cargo. For live animals we needed to have clearance from the customs veterinarian who was on duty in a different building but it wasn’t too far away. So off we go, with hopes our five pets would be with us in a few minutes. But no.
The USDA APHIS office had incorrectly recorded our dog Lizzie’s two microchips and rabies vaccinations. We waited four hours until the US government office opened and we could get an official email to the effect that Lizzie was indeed immunized.
During the waiting, I did get to water, and feed everyone when I went into the animal holding room with the Spanish veterinarian.
After the vet, we needed a customs release stamp, so off we sped back to old Terminal 2. Where I spent another half hour with a chatty official thinking, “Just stamp the document.”
Just as I’m thinking, “Finished.” There’s the 91€ handling fee and another hour of waiting at loading dock Number 25 before we are finally a reunited family.
(For a complete story you can check Jamie and Susans´ magnificent blog: gentlecycle.net)
How to find a place in Valencia when you have two dogs?
My journey to relocate to Valencia was by far one of the craziest of my travels as I decided to move with my two large and crazy Labrador Retrievers, Juma and Peeyo. Once the decision was made, my approach to finding a place to live was militarized in nature. I planned and strategized as if I were invading a small country, planting my Labrador flag, and making them speak the universal Labrador language of mischief, stubbornness and eating anything in sight. I made a list for this, and a list for that list, and maybe one more list just to be sure. After all, these frustratingly lovable creatures are a part of my family. I knew the kind of lifestyle I wanted to live, and with high energy dogs that meant lots of green space and preferable close to the river (the old Turia riverbed – Ed.).
I acquired an AirBnB for two weeks and hired the best relocation specialist in the cosmos (hint, hint Linda Svilane) who came highly recommended from a friend of friend. I was ready to show Linda that the decision to uproot my life was a sound one. I was prepared, the decision was mine and she was only along for the rollercoaster ride. I arrived in Valencia on a Tuesday late afternoon after an eight-hour flight, three-hour drive from Madrid with three suit cases, two forty-five kg dogs and their twenty-two kg crates. I was ready to look at flats that evening as there was no time to waste. I listed what I thought the dogs and I wanted verse needed. I gathered all pet documentation in both Spanish and English.
I thought about the conversations I would have with potential landlords (after all we were choosing them not the other way around) Although pets were allowed, I wanted to set a level of expectation that we respected their property and it would be taken care of. Most importantly, when I wasn’t chasing flats with Linda, the dogs and I walked, and walked and walked some more around neighborhoods on either side of the river. We wanted to truly get familiar with the sights, sounds and smells of our new home. I wanted Juma and Peeyo to be an integral part of the decision-making process.
Linda and I searched every day and by Friday morning we had found a place and signed the lease the following Monday. The folks at Moving to Valencia knew the area but I know my dogs and myself which made the decision extremely easy when Linda presented options.
New home – Valencia
Chris & Gwen (Ireland and Canada)
We breathed a sigh of relief when we let our pets out of their crates in our new apartment for the first time. After nearly two days of travel, the pets were grateful too. We brought three cats and a dog with us from Canada, all with different ages and personalities.
With such a dramatic change in environment for them, we made specific plans to ease the transition. We placed some favourite blankets and toys in their crates so they would have familiar smells with them, both during the journey and in our new space. We also brought as much of their food as we could and did research ahead of time so we could find food with similar ingredients when we arrived. Big brand pet foods are available everywhere, but if your pet has a specific diet or a local brand, you might need to change it.
We arrived at the beginning of summer, so the change in temperature was a bit shocking for everyone, including the pets. We noticed that their appetites had decreased and they were generally less active. We bought a pet water fountain, which they say helps encourage pets to drink more. It certainly worked for our cats, but each pet might be different. We also placed a few additional bowls of (filtered) water around the apartment and made sure to keep them fresh. For the cats were made sure there were many cozy and cool hiding spots. For the dog we tried to keep his routine, with the majority of walks early in the morning or late at night to avoid the heat. Luckily, all the pets seem to love the sun, and even in the hottest times, they would try to sit on the terrace! Now, after six months of life in Valencia and another change in apartments, everyone feels at home.
Story of Mat and Kat
Haven´t got your own pet yet?
Remember that adopting a cat or dog, or any other pet is the responsibility of taking care of someone alive who will completely depend on you. If you are having even a sliver of doubt of being able to take care of someone for years, getting a pet is probably not for you. Once you get one there is no changing it, no leaving it – just loving, educating, and caring.
Do not buy a pet!
Have you decided to get a new four-legged friend? Please don´t buy, instead visit some shelters (protectoras) in Valencia and find those eyes that will love you unconditionally!
Here you can find some useful links:
www.protectoramodepran.com One of the busiest shelters in Valencia. Currently in December 2018 they have 442 dogs and 252 cats. Everyone is welcome to visit them, take them for a walk, donate some blankets or maybe give a forever home to a friendly paw.
laperritavaliente.org An organization that looks for foster homes for abandoned or mistreated pets. You can see the animals that are up for adoption online, you can choose to be a foster family (familia de acogida) or become a Godfather by supporting them by donating a little amount of money every month.
www.spasav.es Shelter for abandoned dogs. You can adopt, collaborate or visit.
We know that we can´t save them all, but we can do something about that. At “Moving to Valencia” we are passionate animal lovers and any time that it is possible to do something to make it better for them, we always will.
For those of you who are a crazy cat lovers but for some reason are not able to take in any more pets, you can have a snack and a drink with friendly cats while visiting the Cat Café in Valencia city. Check the link to book a table: www.elpassatgedelsgats.com
Do you also want to share your experience of moving your pets to Spain? We will be happy to hear your story in the comment section bellow!