From Thailand to Australia with two white dogs and their cat Part 5: The Battle for Nut and Frankie

By | June 1, 2018

Bringing dogs to Australia is a long, complicated and expensive process… but it is doable, most of the time.


I started this blog to tell our story for two main reasons.

1.  I want other Australians to know what’s involved in bringing their pets home before they acquire them, as I have seen many dogs rehomed and even abandoned when the owners found out too late.

2.  I want to help people get through the process as easily as possible by providing the information I wish had been available to me.

If you’ve read my other posts in this series, you know that I’m an Australian lady with two dogs and a cat. We became a family in Phuket, Thailand and in 2016 decided to move to my country of origin; Australia.

It took almost a year of research and planning to get on our way, hopefully my blog can save someone else from that.

It was never going to be easy or quick as dogs and cats can’t be imported directly from Thailand to Australia, so I had to take everyone to Malaysia and prepare them for export to Australia there. We set off on June 5, 2017.

It was smooth sailing for my cat, if a lot of travel.

He flew from Phuket to KL, did a week of quarantine in Malaysia alongside the dogs and then we all stayed in a house just outside Kuala Lumpur while all the animals had their blood tests, anti-parasite treatments and health checks. Mickey passed everything and flew to Melbourne, Australia for post entry quarantine as scheduled on July 24, 2017.

After Mickey’s 10 days of quarantine were up he was picked up by an agent and flown from Melbourne to Brisbane, Brisbane to Townsville, stayed overnight in Townsville and was then driven the 4 hours from Townsville to Airlie Beach; his new home where I was anxiously waiting for him.

Piece of cake really. 

So, what about the dogs?

Why didn’t it happen like that for them?

Unfortunately, both dogs tested positive for Erlichia Canis Antibodies. As far as anyone knows there is no Erlichia Canis in Australia so therefore as long as they were producing those antibodies they wouldn’t be allowed in.

So, the dogs had to remain in Malaysia at a homestay where they were on antibiotics to kill any residual infection and prevent another infection from a tick carrying E.Canis…and we just had to wait for the antibodies to drop to an acceptable level for entry to Australia.

Nobody knew how long that might take.

I’d heard anecdotally about some dog owners giving up when their dogs don’t pass the test the first time and then some dogs have been given the all clear within 6 weeks, others have taken 6 months.

And of course, there was no guarantee they would ever pass.

Yes, it was a scary time.

Yes, it was awful to leave my dogs in Malaysia, although at that time I thought it might be as little as 6 weeks and it was only by telling myself that that I could get on the plane.

Like most other big trials in life; death, divorce, illness or whatever; it was a humbling experience.

Nothing was in my control, I couldn’t rush things along. I had to be patient. I spent six months waiting for blood tests to come back, being bitterly disappointed with the results and then waiting for time to pass so we could run the tests again.

I didn’t regret moving back to my home-country, but it was difficult to do it without my dogs by my side. Before when I had a bad day for whatever reason it didn’t matter, because when I got home to them it wasn’t a bad day anymore.

I had Mickey and he was wonderful, but our family felt incomplete.

I missed walking my dogs. I spent way too much time online reading about different brands of dog shampoo. I missed them from the moment I woke up, all day at work knowing they wouldn’t be there when I got home and when I went to bed and told Mickey “the girls are coming soon” as I wondered if he remembered them.

When I first got back to Australia I had been so excited seeing how nice everything looked; the dog beach and all the parks and imagining how it would all be when the dogs finally got here. But I admit that by Christmas I was finding it hard to keep the faith. The excitement had started to leave me, and I felt exhaustion and depression taking its place.

Why was this going so wrong when I’d worked so hard and planned so thoroughly?

There’s no good answer to a question like that, is there?

I just had to suck it up. Eyes on the prize.

And I had to open every email with those dreaded but highly anticipated lab results and push on after every set back… because really, what choice did I have?

And then finally it happened.

First Frankie and passed and was sent through quarantine in Melbourne and then almost two months later, nine months after I’d left them in Malaysia, Nut was on her way too.

We’d made it.

Of course, there was no celebrating anything until I had got them home.  The 10 days each of them spent in quarantine in Melbourne were looong!

But I have them now and I know I will never even glance at them again without at least a tiny flicker of gratitude and I won’t take a day with them for granted after all we went through to get us here together. 

Five weeks after NutNut’s homecoming, The Girls have settled well into life in sunny Queensland and all three kids have just celebrated their birthdays.

I will post some videos soon but both dogs are in the shape of their lives. They have two walks a day like they always did in Phuket of course, but the air is clean and there are beaches and parks all around, there’s no walking alongside Patong traffic.

I don’t think Frankie has ever been so fit. She can run and run and run…and then she gets home and still has energy to play with Mickey.

NutNut’s itchy skin has found relief in this very clean regional area and the cooler sub-tropical climate.

Mickey loves our airy two-storey townhouse style unit with beach views and plenty of big glass windows and screen doors to observe the wildlife…and of course he has his girls.

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