By Jennifer McDermott
Like many of us, moving to New York City was a long-held dream of mine. However, while financial, visa or romantic barriers can stop up others from taking the plunge, for me it was an 18 pound furball named Frank. This is how I moved my dog to New York City from Sydney.
My 7-year-old pug and I had been together since he was just a pup. We had been through break ups, job changes, sickness and surgeries together. We had also moved many times in his short life, albeit all domestic shifts. So the decision to move my little mate from our home in Sydney to a land far away wasn’t one I took lightly. My research on Google uncovered as many nightmares as success stories, especially amongst the brachial breeds (the technical term given to squishy faced pups).
Ultimately, it was a consult with Frank’s lifelong vet that allowed me to give the decision the green light. Frank’s life has not been blighted with the breathing problems that afflict many of his puggy peers. He is a healthy weight and doesn’t suffer from anxiety linked to loud noises that might’ve made the trip particularly traumatic.
I chose to go through a pet transport agency to move Frank. They did everything from booking his flights to arranging his specialist vaccinations. They provided me with a travel crate pre-flight training and I knew that at the end of each leg he would be met by compassionate animal professionals who would make him as comfortable as possible leading up to our reunion in New York.
The process from the time you book your pet’s travel until they can actually depart is approximately two weeks. There are no quarantine requirements beyond travel documentation proving health status, so I was able to pick Frank up straight from his flight.
Finding a pet friendly apartment was surprisingly easy. I paid a $100 pet processing fee to my new building and had to supply a photo and personality profile of Frank, not that dissimilar to a dating profile. We live within a few blocks of multiple dog runs, and he is very popular with the other neighborhood hounds.
Frank has had a couple of medical requirements since arriving. Now pushing 8 years old, he is an older dog and had some joint troubles. He’s also required vaccination boosters, and the removal of an infected nail; something that had never plagued him at home but those New York footpaths can be tricky. I now wash his paws after every walk to ensure no nasties have lodged their way in. Vets are very expensive here and you will want to shop around to find one that makes you feel comfortable. I now have an excellent vet that is a few blocks further away than I would’ve preferred, but they do a great job and help keep visits (and costs) to a minimum.
I am hopefully here in New York, or broader US, to stay long term. Getting your pet here is one thing, but entirely another if planning to go back home. If you are only here for the short term, or your dog is older and might not handle the flight, I wouldn’t risk it. Quarantine is a minimum 10 days on return to Australia, (longer if there are any issues which increase the biosecurity risk) which is a lot for an animal to take straight after that huge flight. As for the expense, it’s about three times the amount on the way home.
I wrote about my research into costs of relocating a pet overseas (I paid $3,400) for finder.com, where I am now Communications Manager.
While it was a financially and emotionally exhaustive process to move Frank here, I very likely wouldn’t have moved if I had to be without him. He’s taken to New York life with aplomb, and I’m doing my very best to assimilate as well as him.
Photo credits: Jennifer McDermott
Written by Jennifer McDermott. First published in 2017 and edited to reflect updated quarantine periods for pets in Australia.