This is Part 4 of our journey from Thailand to Australia.
This is the story of 2 dogs (aka “The Girls”; Nut the mixed breed street puppy and Frankie the toy poodle) 1 cat (Mickey) and their human (that’s me, I’m Alison)
We became a family in Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand and we’re making our way to my country of origin, Australia.
It has not been an easy journey due to very strict quarantine requirements.
At this point in the story Mickey, the Thai moggy, has passed all his pre-entry quarantine requirements for Australia and is ready to fly to Melbourne where he will be in quarantine for the mandatory 10 days.
Unfortunately The Girls, Nut and Frankie, have both failed their blood tests and will have to remain in Malaysia until they pass. A few weeks of antibiotics will do the trick., we hope!
With Mickey on the way the time has come for Mummy to go on ahead to Queensland and get things ready at the new family home.
It’s a tough week for this furry family….
July 17-24, 2017 Puchong, Malaysia
The days pass mercifully quickly between getting the girl’s blood test results and my own departure.
I am dreading leaving them behind and I feel caught somewhere in between trying to savor every moment and wanting the difficult goodbye to be over already.
I try to be like them and just enjoy our walks and snuggles without thinking about the looming separation.
I busy myself getting everything packed and start cleaning the house ahead of time.
Sunday July 23
At 3pm Mickey is collected by Mr Muru.
Just him in his crate, no collar or toys but I line the crate with a wee pad and put in an old t-shirt that smells like me and the girls as bedding. The t-shirt will be thrown away by quarantine staff on his arrival.
Mickey’s flight will leave KL at around 10.30pm and he’ll arrive in Melbourne airport at 7am local time. It’s probably only going to be about 5 degrees. I am quite worried about that.
Surely they won’t leave him waiting too long…?
On the Australian quarantine website they talk about the potential risks for pets travelling to Australia during the hot summer months, but I’m more concerned about my tiny 4.5 kilo cat from the tropics arriving in the depths of Melbourne winter.
I’m really looking forward to hearing he arrived safely.
Mon July 24
I have Adrienne coming to pick up the girls last thing before I leave for the airport. I don’t want to stay in the house one moment longer than I have to once they are gone.
I get an email confirmation that Mickey has landed safely in Melbourne and is “undergoing initial checks which might take up to 48 hours”.
Oh thank God, he didn’t freeze.
For the next 10 days the only way to check on his status will be via the Department of Agriculture website with a reference number. They won’t be posting cute photos of him on Facebook or giving me any more information than they absolutely must. It seems harsh but this is just the way Australian quarantine operates and I’ve known that from the beginning.
The girls and I are outside when Adrienne pulls up in a gold SUV just like the car I left in Phuket.
Nut starts to wiggle happily and with a sinking heart I realize that she thinks it’s her car and we’re all going home.
She thinks we’re going back to the house in Patong Beach where she lived her whole life from the age of 7 weeks.
Adrienne gets out and greets them gently and they warm to her quickly but still follow me as I head back to the house to get their bags. I’ve packed their blankies, bowels, food, shampoo and medicines.
Adrienne and I chat away and I show her all their bits and pieces.
Nut’s crate has to be taken apart and put in the backseat, it’s just so big. The girls bags take up a lot of room too.
At least my luggage is getting lighter.
We end up having to put Nut in the very back of the SUV but she doesn’t mind and snuggles down happily, she loves the car.
“Wow, look at that, totally relaxed” observes Adrienne
Yes. She is. Totally relaxed.
Because she thinks Mummy is going too.
She thinks she’s in Nut Nut’s car and we’re all going home to Nut Nut’s house.
And then it’s going to be Nut Nut’s dinner time and Nut Nut’s snuggle time, just like every other night of her very secure, comfortable life. Up till now.
I stroke her beautiful face and kiss her head.
“It’s ok Big Girl”
I pick up tiny Frankie and hold her close and whisper to her
“You don’t worry little one. Frankie is always ok, Mummy makes sure. You just look after your sister.”
She happily scrambles into her little-dog-sized crate in the back next to Nut. It’s become second nature to her. I know if we don’t put her in her crate she will try to climb from the back to the front of the car, over Nut’s crate and all the bags, looking for me. This is much safer.
We close the back door of the car and I turn to Adrienne one last time and give her a hug and say “Thank you, for everything“ because as hard as this is, it would be so much worse if I didn’t have her.
They drive away and I’m careful to make sure the girls don’t see me not in the car.
I do a last check of the house and my luggage and jump in the shower. My taxi is booked and the owner of the Airbnb will come soon to see me for check out.
And even though my flight is not for many hours I suddenly need to be out of this house and on a plane as quickly as possible.
Friday August 4, 2017 Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia
The phone rings at about 6.30pm. It’s Peter our Australian pet relocator who is also Mickey’s driver tonight. They’re passing Bowen which is a town about an hour away from Airlie Beach. The driver wants to make sure I’m home.
Yes, I’m at home.
I’ve been counting down the days, scoping out the pet stores, arranging and rearranging “cat furniture”, anxiously checking windows and fly screens and now I’m standing by the window peering out into the night. Waiting.
Mickey’s journey has been looong.
He was released from quarantine in Melbourne at 10am yesterday and then flown to Brisbane. Then another flight Brisbane to Townsville where he spent the night in a cattery. And now he’s on the road from Townsville to Airlie Beach which is a four-hour drive. It really kind of sucks that there is only one post-entry quarantine facility servicing the whole of Australia given how big this country is.
The car pulls into the drive while I’m on the phone to my parents. They are anxious for news too.
Peter brings him in and we chat away but my eyes are on the crate.
Apparently Mickey has been fairly vocal throughout the drive, meowing all the way, but now I can hear some hissing. Peter says he thinks Mickey is definitely in need of his dinner and some water after his long drive.
We say goodbye and I promise to get in touch once the girls arrive in Melbourne and not to worry because, unlike their brother, Nut and Frankie love a good road trip!
I open the crate and let Mickey come out by himself and then carry him straight to his laundry where his dinner is ready in his new bowl and he gobbles it down noisily.
He’s totally fine. He is very happy to have a snuggle and explore.
The sound of him purring, like a tiny little speedboat, warms my heart. It’s so nice to carry him up to my room at bedtime and we both sleep very soundly.
Mickey stays close all night and wakes me up early demanding breakfast.
Yep, now it feels like home.
All we need is a couple of dogs.