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How to Cope with Leaving Pets Behind When Moving Abroad

How To Cope With Leaving Pets Behind When Moving Abroad

My little Dixie girl turned 13 over the weekend. That’s like 91 in dog years. Or is it 91 in people years? I get confused about that. Either way, I can’t believe 13 years have passed so quickly. I can still remember the day we brought her home like it was yesterday. She didn’t particularly care for the ride home, even though we had her wrapped in a fluffy towel and I kept her pressed against my chest for the whole hour’s drive. When we arrived at the house, she proceeded to sleep for three days, emphasis on days. At night she’d lie awake, whimpering for her siblings until I’d put her in bed with me for a snuggle. It got better after she accepted that her new lot in life included a human, rather than canine, family; and we all learned to live with each other’s eccentricities. (I know you’ve heard of humans being allergic to dogs, but in mine and Dixie’s case, it went both ways!)

How To Cope With Leaving Pets Behind When Moving Abroad

Photo from 2001. My 17-year-old self hadn’t yet come to the realization that tanning beds and light under-eye concealer do not complement each other. Yikes.

Dixie was originally my dog, but over the years became our family dog, especially after the passing of our first family dog in 2006. Even though she wasn’t living with me when we got the news we’d be moving abroad, it hurt just the same knowing we’d be leaving her behind.

Then there were our six other pets we’d be leaving behind, those I lovingly referred to as “the girls”, and those that would never have been allowed to move abroad with us because they were, well, poultry.

How To Cope With Leaving Pets Behind When Moving Abroad

Go ahead and laugh, but I was just as attached to my chickens as people are to their cats and dogs. Ours were part of the family. They’d come running when they’d see me come outside, and I’d cuddle each one of them before tucking them into the coop every night. Our chickens were more like little egg-laying puppies than regular chickens, and I could hardly bear the thought of leaving them behind, but in our case we didn’t have a choice.

Depending on what country you’re moving from and where you’re moving to, restrictions and rules about bringing pets abroad will vary – most of the time they’ll need vaccinations and vet checks on both ends of the journey, but there may be an additional quarantine period once they arrive in your new country as well. The first decision you’ll need to make is, is it worth it? Are you staying long enough to warrant the expense? Is your pet strong and healthy enough to handle the journey and/or quarantine? Is the country you’re moving to safe for your pet, and will they have ample living space? When it comes down to it, you need to decide if moving your pet is the right decision for them, not you.

If you do decide that it’s in their best interest not to bring them with you, commit to that decision. Try not to second guess yourself. (I know, easier said than done.) The hardest part of moving abroad for me was saying goodbye to our pets. I hope it doesn’t sound awful to say that – we miss our friends and family, we really do! – but we can stay in contact with them via Skype, FaceTime, and email. When we said goodbye to our pets, we said goodbye, and it hurt, but I learned how to cope with leaving our pets behind and hopefully these tips can help if you’re dealing with the same situation.

How To Cope With Leaving Pets Behind When Moving Abroad

Before You Leave

Ask friends and family if they’d be willing to keep your pet for you while you’re living abroad.
It will make you feel infinitely better if you leave your pets behind in the care of someone you know. When we moved to Singapore in the 90’s, we left our dog with our vet who was also a family friend. Leaving her in such capable hands gave us peace of mind, and we knew he wouldn’t mind returning her to us when we eventually moved back.

If friends and family aren’t able, ask them to spread the word among their friends.
A friend of a friend is still better than a stranger. Sharing a mutual friend with someone who takes your pet in will hopefully help hold them accountable for caring for your pet responsibly while you’re gone, plus make it easier for you to stay in touch.

Visit the home of whoever will be taking your pet in.
Don’t feel guilty about asking to see where your pet will be living. And likewise, don’t feel bad about offering suggestions if there’s something you think they need to change. They’ve never lived with your pet before – they’ll likely appreciate any advice you can offer.

If it’s not the right fit, find someone else.
If you’re not completely pleased with the situation you’re leaving your pet in, for whatever reason, don’t do it. Don’t leave your pet with someone you don’t have complete confidence in. Find a tactful way to explain that you don’t think this is the right fit, and then find someone who is.

Write up a “Pet Manual” for your pet’s new owners.
Include anything and everything you think they’ll need to know, no matter how small – vet records and contact information, food preferences, food aversions, exercise schedules, sleeping arrangements, how you’ve handled any emergency pet situations in the past, etc. It’ll make you feel better to know they’re taking in your pet armed with all the knowledge you can possibly give them, and it’ll make the new owners feel better to have something to turn to without having to make an international call every time they have a question.

You can use any empty journal for your pet manual, or one specifically for keeping pet records. (Example: My Pet’s Health & Wellness Log on Amazon)

Spend more time than usual with your pet.
Those last few weeks before you move will be the busiest, but it’s very important to carve extra time out, even if it means less sleep, to spend quality time with your pet. Once you’re abroad, you will be so glad you made the extra time for them. It’ll ease a bit of the “abandonment guilt” you’re sure to experience after you leave.

Take lots of pictures and video.
This is an obvious one. When you’re sitting in your new home weeks after you’ve moved and you’re plagued with an extreme case of pet-missingness you’re going to be so glad you have all those pictures and videos to cry over. Trust me.

After You Leave

Place pictures of your pet where you can see them.
At first I didn’t do this because I thought it would hurt more to have pictures out reminding me constantly of what I left behind, but now I see them and smile. It doesn’t have to be much – perhaps just a framed picture in the living room, or change your phone’s background to a favorite photo of your pet. (For the month of January, Dixie’s birth month, my iPhone unlock screen was a photo of the two of us!)

Skype with them.
Before I moved, I read this article about Skyping with dogs. And then completely disregarded it. I don’t know whether Dixie can see or hear me when I Skype with her, but I know I can see and hear her. And it makes me feel just a teeny bit closer to her, so I do it anyway!

Ask for email updates and pictures.
If Skyping isn’t an option, have whoever is keeping your pets send you regular email updates with pictures attached. It’s a good way to stay connected with your pet’s temporary owner and stay in the loop as far as how well your pet is adjusting to their new environment.

Send them gifts.
Birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, just-because-gifts – sending them a little something will make you feel like you’re still a part of their lives. You can even send them something that will remind them of you. For instance, Dixie loves dirty socks. If I was worried about her forgetting me, I might send her a sock I wore, but didn’t wash. Sounds a little gross, right? Not to a dog!

Visit them.
If you return back home for any reason during your expat journey, take the time to go visit your pet. Sure it’ll be hard to say goodbye again, but it’s worth it – for both you and your pet! They’ll know you still care about them, and you’ll hopefully be able to get enough snuggles in to last you until next time!

Do you have any other tips you’d add? How did you cope with leaving pets behind when moving abroad?

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How To Cope With Leaving Pets Behind When Moving Abroad

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  • Nandini Agarwal
    May 13, 2019 at 3:57 PM

    Hello Sarah. Your story seems to be quite a litte helpful to me. But my problem is very different from yours.. I’ve had a family bitch Beagle, named Astral for approx 3 years. We have tried to control her alot but she still tries to eat her own poop and would pee on the beds and the sofa. Though we love her alot but my family members have decided to leave her with no purpose of bringing her back. I’m scared for her survival with some new human being after staying 3 years with us. Please, can you tell me your views about the same problem as soon as possible?

    • Sarah Shumate
      May 14, 2019 at 12:33 PM

      I’m guessing you’ve already thought of this, but what about taking her to canine training? It might help her to learn who’s boss. It’s also super important that everyone in your household stay consistent with however you’re training her at home. Maybe she is confused about where she is supposed to do her business?

      As for eating poo, unfortunately lots of dogs do that. It’s gross and you can try to train them not to, but sometimes they still do.

  • Crazy Dogs Momma
    May 8, 2019 at 9:09 PM

    Hi Sarah, thank you and everyone for sharing their experiences. My husband and i lived in Germa y for 3 years while in the Army and we loved it and missed everday when we were stationec back here in the States. We have 2 large dogs that we love and they are my everything. When a job opportunity came up for us to move back to Germany, we took it. My husband went first, after getting there he learned it s hard to rent a place with two large dogs and would be expensive. Im still here in the States 5 months after my husband left because of giving up my dogs. I tried asking friends and family to watch them but it is a lot of responsibility no one wants. I went on a local rehoming page and got treated like the evil queen. I go back and forth about just staying here and let my husband enjoy Germany but thats not working out and thats not what i want to do. Its good ti know im not alone.

    • Sarah Shumate
      May 9, 2019 at 12:57 PM

      I know that’s really tough having to live separately for so long. My husband and I did it for just two months when we were preparing to move to London and I wouldn’t want to do it again. Without knowing how long your assignment is in Germany this time, now that your husband is there, could he possibly speak with landlords at different rentals and see if they’ll consider your dogs for an extra fee? Often you’ll get a more favorable response when you ask in person and the landlord can see who you are and properly meet you. Just a thought – at least then you wouldn’t have to miss out on all the Germany fun and the dogs could come along, too. Either way, I know how tough this is and I’m sorry it’s been so difficult!

  • Victoria
    April 1, 2019 at 9:27 AM

    Moving to Germany from Canada and have to leave my 16 year old dog behind. She’s a family pet but since moving out 6 years ago has lived with meas much as possible though I do share her care with my sisters. We’re very attached, she’s my baby. I feel like such an awful person for accepting this job and leaving her. Like maybe I should have waited a year or two to be with her in her final years.. but at the same time would this opportunity come along again? It’s so insanely hard. If I could bring her with me I’d do it in a heart beat but the journey would be way too much and I don’t think it would be fair to isolate her from the rest of the family. Thanks for this article! I hope I’m doing the right thing.

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 2, 2019 at 9:35 AM

      I’m sorry you’re struggling with moving away and leaving your dog behind, but it sounds like she’s going to be in very good hands. In this case, it’s likely you who will suffer the most, so I definitely recommend asking your sisters to send you updates and pictures as often as they can. It’ll be hard at first to see pictures of her and know you can’t run over real quick for a snuggle, but after a while it won’t hurt so bad. When we were in London, I loved waking up to new photos on my phone that my mom had sent overnight. It made me feel like I was still connected to everyone – both my family and my dog! Hopefully it will do the same for you, too. Good luck with your move!

  • aly
    March 29, 2019 at 2:47 AM

    Hi Sarah, i have similar problems these days. It is not that i am leaving right away, but i love travelling, and would also like to study aboard someday. That would mean i will not be home for about one or two years. I just got Tang Tang, my 6 months old dog for 5 days now. He is a gorgeous and energetic little pup very cute. Both me and Tang Tang are still getting to know each other, and i have been trying different ways to approach him. So far so good for now… Well, i am a person who likes to think in advance. I talked to my parents about helping to take care of Tang Tang while i am overseas, but they insist that they will not want to take the responsibility to have to clear his poop every day. I am still not sure if i should continue to keep him or not. I know that keeping a dog is a long time commitment and there are lots of precautions i need to consider, not only the issue of me studying aboard. What should i do? I am still very confused…

    • Sarah Shumate
      March 29, 2019 at 2:57 PM

      Hey Aly! That’s a tough situation to be in. Owning a dog is a big responsibility, and like you said, definitely a long-term commitment. If you are sure you’ll be studying abroad, and there is no way your parents would agree to keep Tang Tang while you’re gone, then I don’t believe this is probably the right time in your life to get a dog.

      I understand your feelings, though. We would LOVE to have a family dog, but given that we still have plans to move abroad again in the future, we are delaying pet ownership until we’re more settled. It sounds like this might be the right decision for you, too.

  • Vanessa Eckert
    March 10, 2019 at 7:20 PM

    Hi Sarah.. (im from germany so excuse my english pls)
    i hope ur still active on here x: i’m 21 years old and im moving to anouther country to live together with my Boyfriend and start a new life there together.. Sounds all good but.. i have my Cat max.. i have him for 16 years already and hes my absolute everything. we are together every night and day when i come home he waits for me at the door he doesnt sleep anywhere but close to me and if im away to visit my boyfriend (we have a distance relationship currently so i go away for a week or two sometimes) its the worst thing ever. He’s back home with my parents then but hes my cat and u can see clear signs that he misses me. he goes crazy runs from room to room literally searching for me and just sits in my room and miauws all day long. That happens the first days. when the crying period has passed he is rly angry and attacks everything that passes by him and still just sits in my room. everytime he hears the housedoor he checks and if its not me he goes away with the saddest face ever… u can imagine how hard his reactions to me beeing gone r for me… especially considering i leave him in 1 month… i cry every night while hes just snuggled up in my arms… i dont know what to do or how to get over this. i cry while im writing this even… but i also cant postbone my life with my bf any longer its been like this for 4 years already.. its like im leaving my baby behind i mean no mother would ever leave their baby behind i feel like such a horrible person he will miss me so much and i will miss him so much. like i said before he is 16 so what im also scared about it that i leave and he will die within the next 2 years.. i will feel so guilty about not beeing by his side in his last moments… i cant do this…… but i want to do this… but i also dont want to im so split inside… but i cant put my life on pause any longer for “a pet”.. i hope to hear from u and hear ur thoughts..

    • Sarah Shumate
      March 12, 2019 at 3:55 PM

      I am so sorry, Vanessa. I truly am, because that is definitely a tough situation to be in. Particularly so since Max is very attached to you and doesn’t seem to enjoy being with anyone else. I wish I had an answer for you, but I’m sure anything I have to say, you’ve already thought of.

      For instance, is there ANY way you could take him with you? You mentioned Germany – if you’re moving to another country in the EU, would it be possible for Max to move there, too? I realize this gets trickier if you’re moving overseas, especially since Max is a little older and might not handle the journey well.

      Dixie, my dog I mention in the post, did die while we were living overseas and it was horrible. It really was. But I did take comfort in the fact that my parents were there with her, so she wasn’t alone. It took awhile for me to be able to even talk about her afterwards, but that would have been the case whether I’d been there with her or not. When our pets die, it’s always going to be devastating, I’m afraid.

      If you can’t take him with you, I suppose your only choice is to try to make peace with leaving him behind with your parents. In time, he will grow to love them, too. Good luck. :)

  • Karishma
    June 21, 2018 at 10:47 PM

    Hey Sarah,
    Hope you are doing well..
    I know I am posting too late on this blog…keeping my fingers crossed that you are still active on this page.

    To begin with I am from India and I am writing with a heavy heart today since I will be due for migration to New Zealand in a few weeks…

    I have a baby Shih tzu (1 year old)… called Bubble …Breaks my heart to even think of leaving her… I have found out a good family here who can take care of her …she even loves it there…but my ownership will be withdrawn once I leave her there…

    The rules for New Zealand are so stringent and since I am from India she needs to be a resident in an approved country for 6 months for which I don’t have the money for…. I am perplexed with how to go about this or if there is any alternative…

    Feeling so guilty that I have to let her go….
    She hates cages so quarantine is a complete no no for her… Even if I do manage to get the funds in order I don’t know what would be the repurcussions in quarantine…

    Am I doing the right thing of letting her go?

    • Sarah Shumate
      June 22, 2018 at 8:06 AM

      Hi Karishma, My heart breaks for you knowing how hard this decision is. As you can see in the comments, you’re certainly not the only one struggling with a choice like this. I wish I could tell you what’s going to be best for both you and Bubble, but it’s a very personal choice that only you can make.

      Considering that Bubble would have to be moved to another country for six months (which in itself would be very disorienting) and then go through a period of quarantine to be able to reside with you in New Zealand, I think it’s very important that you think about how she might handle this vs moving into a new home in India. Which option is going to be easiest on her? I know it’s hard thinking about leaving her behind, but if she’s happy and well cared for with her new family, then you’ve done the best you could in a very difficult situation. Try to keep that in mind when those feelings of guilt start taking over. Best wishes for your move!

  • Lisa Smith
    June 11, 2018 at 11:26 AM

    We have a 10 yr old Golden. He’s a beautiful boy and I feel its better for him to be home in familiar surroundings and have the neighbor pop in and out 3 times a day for feedings and outside time. He lost his Momma (our female Golden 8 mos ago) so he will be alone for 3 days as we fly out to our Grandsons Baptism 800 miles away.. I am having such guilt qualms,, am I doing the right thing?

  • Best Value Dog Food
    May 9, 2018 at 11:28 AM

    It’s really painful for us when we go abroad without our lovely pets. But it’s important to keep them in a good and safe place before moving. Sarah, you mention some good point here. It’s really helpful for us when we move somewhere without our pets. BTW best wishes for your Dixie. :)

  • Cat Lady
    November 6, 2017 at 8:01 PM

    I studied abroad 3 times before. Now I am doing my masters degree in England. I HATE IT! I never felt homesick until my 4th time living abroad. I miss my cats so much, and I just want the next 6 months to fly by already. I will try to find a job abroad, and am hoping to get my cats over within 6 months of working. This article made me cry…I read it 2 months ago and am reading it again now. I miss my cats so much, and just want to be with them again. Now off to cry myself to sleep…

    • Sarah Shumate
      November 7, 2017 at 2:23 AM

      I am so sorry to hear you are struggling. Being homesick is the worst, especially when it’s people or pets you’re homesick for and not just a place. I hope the next six months pass swiftly for you and hope you can find some good distractions in England in the meantime. (If you can find something you enjoy doing – unrelated to your studies – it will definitely help the time pass a little faster!)

  • Maddie
    April 19, 2017 at 10:16 PM

    I have two pigs it sounds weird but they are my pets and my best friends I’m only in sixth grade but I’m worried when I leave home I’m going to miss them and I don’t know if I want updates from my parents because if anything happened to them I would die of sadness ??

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 22, 2017 at 4:36 AM

      I worried about the same thing when I left home, but don’t forget you’ll be going back to visit all the time! It will be hard to hear news that one of them is sick or that they’ve passed away, but that would be hard to deal with even if you were still living at home, too. For sure the most awful part of having pets is when it’s their time to leave us, but that’s why it’s so important to love them and spend time with them while they’re here. I think when the time comes for you to move out, you’ll appreciate getting updates from your parents because it’ll help you still feel connected to your babies! :)

  • Jane Doe
    August 4, 2016 at 9:49 PM

    Hi Miss Sarah, I’m having the same problem because I want to study in my home country for 2 years when my dog turns 7. It breaks my heart to leave her at home but I do not have doubts my family will take care of her. I feel travelling outside of the country or any instance of leaving her makes me immediately rethink about going some place else. At the same time, I want to experience adventures in different parts of the world. What should I do?

    • Sarah Shumate
      August 10, 2016 at 12:12 PM

      I wish I could tell you what you should do, but that is a decision you’ll have to make on your own. Have you tried taking a short time apart and seeing how you and your dog handle it? That might give you a better idea of what a 2-year separation might be like.

  • Fabyta
    May 21, 2016 at 9:42 AM

    That is such a helpful post to me Sarah! i am moving to The States soon and I am not able to take Lucky, my rescued dog, with me. Believe me, it is so heart breaking, I even get to tears at night thinking about it. I thought about taking him with me after I get settled, but Just thinking about exposing him to a 13 hour flight will not be good for him…he still has his “wild” spirit, and I can’t do that to him. I am looking for a friend family to take good care about him, so I am becoming kind of anxious about finding the right fit for him…I can’t handle this heart breaking feeling, he is my pal, protector, friend, family…we live Just the two of us in my house, so we are each others company.
    Thanks a lot for your post, it makes me feel that I am taking the right decision because I am thinking about HIM and not about me.

    • Sarah Shumate
      May 24, 2016 at 12:05 PM

      Good luck to you, Fabyta! I hope you are able to find someone you feel comfortable leaving Lucky with. I am so sorry you’re struggling with this right now. It gets easier with time, I promise. Hang in there!

  • Van Hohenheim
    April 7, 2016 at 2:01 PM

    Moving to another state for work; my sister´s puppy (3 or 4 months old) and I have a great connection to each other, but the puppy will be staying at home with my family and the other dogs; I almost turned down the offer because of that one dog. Do you think the puppy will resent it? ; I do plan on visiting once every two months at least.

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 8, 2016 at 10:49 AM

      I’m not an expert by any means, but from what I know about my own dogs, they never showed any signs of resentment towards me when I’d been gone for awhile. I think it’s possible s/he will miss you when you’re gone, but if s/he’s being well cared for in your absence, I believe they will be just fine. Every time I returned home after being away, my dog was always so thrilled to see me, I thought she’d have a heart attack from excitement! But then half an hour later, she was calm and back to acting like I’d never left. Dogs, like people, are resilient. :)

  • Ana
    February 5, 2016 at 10:26 PM

    Hi Sarah, thank you for this tips, I just make the hard decision of leaving my 2 year cat ‘Runny’ with my parents. I’m going to London to study for one year, I researched the rules to bring my cat with me and I was happy to learn that quarantine is not required for most countries anymore. Unfortunately none of the student accommodation allow pets )= I feel so sad to leave him but I just can’t afford to rent an apartment in the private sector and take him with me. On the bright side my parents live in a big house where he will have a lot of space to run and play, they are even thinking to give him my old room to sleep (= I feel blessed to have someone to look after him but I can shake the fear of leaving my cat.

    • Sarah Shumate
      February 8, 2016 at 6:11 PM

      I’m sorry, Ana! I know how you feel. It definitely makes moving harder when you know you’re leaving someone behind, but I have a feeling your year in London will fly by and before you know it you’ll be reunited! :) It’s wonderful that your cat will be in such good hands while you’re gone, too. That will make it so much easier to check in regularly and see how he’s doing! I hope you have a wonderful year in London!

  • Sabawi
    September 11, 2015 at 1:24 AM

    Hi Sarah! Thank you so much for your blog & tips. Its breaks my heart to think about how am going to leave my 4 years old dog. Every time I look at his face I start to cry. However, Its really good to hear about others experiences and that am not the only one who’s thinking to leave my dog behind. Am moving to London to study for 2 years, and it’s hard to take him with me, I still have to look for a place to stay, I don’t know how my daily life will be and on top of that I don’t think if my dog can handle traveling:( I found a family that they’re willing to take care of him and if there’s a possibility that I will come back I can bring him back home with me.

    • Sarah Shumate
      September 11, 2015 at 2:05 PM

      Hi Sabawi! It sounds like you’re making the right decision. Two years isn’t very long, and since you’ve got such a young dog, you’ll still have plenty more years to spend with him when you return. You’ve already got the hardest part done – finding him a temporary home – so I hope you’ll be able to feel reassured that you made the right decision when you get here! Enjoy your time in London! :)

  • Genecia Alluora
    April 15, 2015 at 9:16 AM

    Thanks for this post! Its really helping me to cope with leaving my cat behind because of my work. He found me first nearly 2 years ago, and we’ve had each other since! The move overseas is unbearable without him, and i cry often missing him (because its such a comfort to know that he is around). Although now I’ve had him live in with my parents (before i left) whenever I visits, I do notice, some behavioural changes because of my parents… i guess. or maybe its just me.

    I have tried explaining my pain of leaving my cat behind, guess the peeps around me, doesn’t quite understand.

    • Sarah Shumate
      April 15, 2015 at 9:56 AM

      My heart breaks for you, Genecia. I know how you feel. Time really will help ease those horrible feelings you’re dealing with right now. It’s been two years for us and even though I think about my pets all the time, I don’t get quite as distressed over missing them as I used to.

      As far as the behavioral changes, if you think it’s important enough, I’d mention it to your parents. My dog is living with my parents and, this isn’t behavioral, but I noticed her gaining weight rather quickly and started to worry, but I didn’t want to overstep my boundaries and say something to my parents that might offend them. I worried about it for weeks before I finally just gently mentioned they might need to be walking her a bit more often. Maybe you could bring up what you’re seeing to your parents. They might know right away what has caused the difference and can fix it. Animals are initially really sensitive to their surroundings, but they are also highly adaptable, assuming they’re being well-cared for. It may just take time for all of you to get used to the new situation. :)

  • Alyson Tart
    February 11, 2014 at 8:40 AM

    We’re lucky that we came to the UK just after the laws on quarantine changed – and that our pet was healthy enough to travel! She’s a well traveled dog, joining us in the US, Turkey and the UK, and has enjoyed every place!

  • Autumn @ The Spirited Violet
    January 29, 2014 at 4:16 AM

    So sad that you had to leave your puppy for your expat assignment. We used to talk more seriously about doing an expat, but I don’t know anymore if we are as interested. Our feelings have changed so much now that we have a bird and a house (that probably sounds silly) and I don’t know if I see us as being as adventurous as I previously thought.
    I love the things you have been doing to help you not miss your doggy as much!

    • Sarah Shumate
      January 29, 2014 at 9:00 AM

      It doesn’t sound silly! I completely understand your attachment to birds. :o) However, I wouldn’t start ruling an expat option out completely – maybe it’s not the right time just now, but one day you may wish you hadn’t passed an opportunity up. That’s how we felt!

  • Ashley Hubbard
    January 28, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    This hits a little close to home because I will be leaving behind my dog when I’m traveling later this year. She’s 6 and has been with me that whole time. Luckily, my mom will be keeping her for me but I still feel like I’m abandoning her a little bit. Great tips!

    • Sarah Shumate
      January 29, 2014 at 8:58 AM

      How long will you be away traveling? I’m positive she’ll still remember you when you get home. When we were home at Christmas and I saw my dog for the first time in 7 months, I thought she was going to spontaneously combust from excitement! Ha! Dogs have pretty good memories!

  • Anna
    January 27, 2014 at 10:10 PM

    Oh I can just imagine you trying to skype with the chickens! I read your post about the ‘girls’ a wee while back and it tugged at my heart strings so I imagine how hard it must have been to leave your pets behind. This is great advice though. I desperately want a pet but it’s not the right time for us as we’re still moving around and don’t know the various restrictions we’ll have to face. The UK can be a real bugger for quarantine but I think they seem to be improving. Jono has a childhood cat that still lives in New Zealand with his mum and has reached 20 years old! His mum was not expecting that ;)

  • andrea
    January 28, 2014 at 1:25 AM

    When I moved to London I spent a ridiculous amount of money to bring my two cats over, and 3 years later moved them back. It was hard, and I don’t know that I would do it again. But it is hard to miss them too!

  • Emma @ AdventuresofaLondonKiwi
    January 27, 2014 at 11:50 PM

    It’s so true, our fur babies really are such integral parts of our families.-

  • Jenn Bowers
    January 27, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    Great tips, Sarah! I know it was heartbreaking to leave them behind.

  • Alyx
    January 27, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    Wait, so will you get your chickens back when you guys move back to the states?

    Love this. We had to leave our cat with our in-laws, and it was definitely not easy, so I totally get where you’re coming from with this article. :)

    • Sarah Shumate
      January 28, 2014 at 10:01 AM

      I highly doubt they’ll still be alive when we get back to the U.S. :o( We had five chickens that we left with a neighbor when we moved and they’re already down to three. One from natural causes, one from a predator. Chickens just don’t seem to fare well in the long term. :o(

  • Stacie Stamper
    January 27, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    I love pet people! We were just saying the other day that we dread the day something happens to Scarlett and we have to tell Elise. They really do become a huge part of your family.

  • Emmymom
    January 27, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    Very good tips. I always loved reading about your girls as before your posts I never knew Chickens had so much personality!

    • Sarah Shumate
      January 28, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      Well, I know for sure that mine did! There are only three left now out of the five we re-homed when we moved. That part makes me sad because I can’t help but think if I had been the one caring for them, they’d still be alive. :o( Maybe not, though…

  • Keith Wynn
    January 27, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    The attachment that we can form with our pets is a very special thing. They capture our hearts in ways that even people can’t sometimes. There’s a saying: “If you’ve never loved an animal, a part of your heart has never opened”

  • Katrin
    January 27, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    First of all: Happy happy birthday to Dixie! She really is a sweetheart! :) And I absolutely know how you feel about this. I was not able to take my pets to America. They stayed with my Dad and I knew that he would take great care of him but it was so hard to do it. I skyped with my pets, yes, even with the bunnies. I am happy that I can have the pets with me when we move to some place in Europe. I am sorry that you miss your pets so much, Sarah!

    • Sarah Shumate
      January 28, 2014 at 9:57 AM

      I’m glad they were able to stay with your dad! At least you know they are in very good hands, and I’m sure he’s more than happy to send you updates about them! I do miss my animals, but I know they are much better off where they are. Our tiny flat is certainly not the right place for chickens! ;o)

      • Katrin
        January 28, 2014 at 9:53 PM

        I am sure it would be an interesting experience to share your flat with the chickens. :)

  • Mandy Southgate
    January 27, 2014 at 6:03 PM

    Oh Sarah! It must have been so hard to leave your pets behind. We had six pets when we made the decision to move – three cats and three dogs. Our latest addition to the family, a little rescue puppy called Ciara, went to live with my mum along with my 15 year old cat. The rest we moved over. It was 2007 and we had four pets in quarantine and I can categorically say that we will never, ever do that again. My dogs were so well trained (now they are spoiled, the opposite of trained) that we could have easily place them on a farm or police training centre. I think about that a lot because quarantine was so hard on them and none of us really got over it. The cats on the other hand… well, let’s just say they were so happy in their glass sun room that I had to take catnip on my second visit to entice them to ‘remember’ me and ‘love’ me again.

    • Sarah Shumate
      January 28, 2014 at 9:55 AM

      I’m sorry you had such a rough experience with quarantine – it does sound pretty awful, especially for dogs. I’m glad yours made it through okay. I am super impressed that you attempted to bring FOUR animals here, though. I would have found that task more than daunting! It just shows how much you loved them!

  • Alex @ A Yank in Blighty
    January 27, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    Ahh thanks for the post. I miss my dog and cat so much and it’s nice to hear others have had to leave pets with loved ones as well. Although they were never really mine…always preferred my mom when we all lived together so bringing them wasn’t really an option even if it was possible. (My crazy dog can’t stand to be in a case so I think would be a danger to himself on a flight!) When I visited home last May my cat showed her displeasure for my abandonment by peeing in my suitcase! At least I knew she actually missed me haha

    • Sarah Shumate
      January 28, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      Hahahaha! That cracked me up! ;o) Cats are just cruel sometimes – you’ll never get that smell out of your suitcase! Ha! But you’re right – even though she was a stinker about it, at least you know she cares enough about you to be mad at you!

  • Dannielle @ Chicadeedee
    January 27, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    Aw this happened with my cat, she was mine and originally my parents didn’t want me to have her, but it got to the point where then they didn’t want me to take her away! It’s only fair for her to stay there where she can roam around outside. Also, I totally skype with my moms dog, but my cat couldnt be bothered. He hears me and runs around looking for me its so funny.

    • Sarah Shumate
      January 28, 2014 at 9:48 AM

      That is so cute!!! Dixie makes no sign that she can see or hear me when we Skype. Granted, she is getting on up there so maybe she actually CAN’T hear me as well anymore, especially through a computer. :o(

  • Jamie | The Healthy Passport
    January 27, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    Sarah this just breaks my heart- but wonderful tips! I love that you still Skype with your babies though :) My mom kept my babies while we found a place to live over here and she calls and skypes with them too! She had a really hard time putting them all on the plane…it broke her heart knowing that they would be so stressed. We are part of the crazy club who paid to ship them all over here. It is much cheaper to ship them back but I dread the day of having to put them back in their kennels for the long flight. But, I have to say, I am glad to have them all here…..even if it cost us vacation $$!