Parking Your Pets for the Summer

  Dogs and cats make awesome pets and often become our most trusted, cherished companions. When you’re thousands of miles from home and loved ones while living/teaching overseas, a loving pet is truly comforting. A pet owner might say, “My dog/cat is my rock!”

When school’s in session our 4-legged friends are fine spending the day at home with the maid. She refills the water and feed bowls, opens and closes the door to the back yard, and in general can keep our pets from becoming lonely.

Summer vacations do, however, pose a dilemma. Should you take your fury friends with you on a trip back to your home of record, or maybe even on an expedition to a neighboring country? International travel with pets can require quarantine, and airline regulations can certainly be tough to work around. Or, do you leave him behind under the care of your maid?

Have you ever witnessed your maid pat or engage your pet in play? If not, chances are, that’s not going to change in your absence. Unfortunately, not every society elevates dogs and cats to “family member” status they’ve earned in the West. Some groups see dogs and cats as dirty, vile creatures, not to be touched. In Venezuela, for example, what looks like a pet to you or I can end up on a dinner plate due to the dire economic and hunger tragedies currently unfolding.

If you’ve brought your cat or dog to such a place you’ll want to take the utmost caution in deciding on the best situation for your pet during the summer months. Do your homework before you set out with your pet in tow!

ISR asks: What has your experience been owning a pet overseas? 

Please scroll down to participate in this Discussion




18 thoughts on “Parking Your Pets for the Summer

  1. We have a 15 yr. old Aussie and would ONLY consider moving to places to teach that were safe and suitable for him. We only considered Europe and have been teaching in Switzerland for 7 years now. Yes we passed up opportunities to teach in Asia, but wouldn’t risk it with my best friend. My dog can travel on buses, trains, come in restaurants, etc. AND the quality of life is unrivaled. Be selective about the country you subject your furry ones pays off in the end.


  2. I brought two of my dogs from home to here – Cairo. That was four years ago. At the same time I moved from living with my family in Kenya to working and living here on my own. But having my dogs with me abroad has been brilliant. We’ve grown strongly together as a complete team.
    It’s not been an easy place to have my dogs. Many Cairenes consider dogs untouchable and they are nervous of dogs. Packs of dogs wander parts of the city, sometimes up to16 in a pack. Putting down poisoned meat in the streets is not irregular and dogs can be horribly taunted and tortured. On the other hand the status of cats is near deification.
    Finding a good space for me and the dogs was not easy. It took me nearly three years to find an apartment with a good-sized garden. But now I no longer have to add the morning dog walk to my pre-school routine. And I have a trustworthy weekday dog walker.
    There has been the problem of holidays. I have been using an expensive home-from-home service. They really have cared for my dogs brilliantly – full love and attention. But it does tend to double the cost of travelling home for a holiday. Most usually I will take the dogs with me somewhere in Egypt. And there are not that many pet-friendly places. But heigh-ho….. the love and loyalty from these dogs really has become priceless.
    Now when I look at job opportunities, googling the quality of dog life in that country is a priority. I know, for example, I can never take a job in Saudi – because they don’t allow my breeds. Many countries are total no job areas for me because of canine restrictions and/ or hostility to dogs. On the other hand, having the dogs happily settled here in Cairo has, at times, been my main reason for staying.


    1. I am in Kazakhstan and while not a real hoppin’ place for fun and recreation, the Kazaks LOVE their dogs (and cats!).


  3. In Romania my kids came home from school one day with a large black street cat. We adopted it, took it to the vet for shots and worming and spaying. The kids loved him and he rewarded them with endless hours of fun and friendship. You would think a cat off the street wouldn’t make a good pet, Felix proved me wrong. We lived on the 6th floor in the middle of Bucharest and Felix became a house cat.

    When we moved to Pakistan it took me endless hours to get the papers we needed to take him out of Romania and into Pakistan. If the Romanian government had been half as concerned with the problem of homeless, street kids that problem would have been solved.

    At the airport no one asked for any papers. We were waved through. Entering Pakistan, no one asked for any papers. The immigration and customs people alike simple looked into the carry-on cage and said, “big cat.”

    Pakistan was great for Felix. He roamed the neighborhood and due to his size and good health, the street cats were no match for him. Almost every night our night-guard sat with Felix on his lap and sang verses from the Koran. Even some of our neighbors loved Felix

    Soon after 911 we were evacuated from Pakistan and sent back to the States. As we scrambled to get exit papers for Felix the school secretary, who loved Felix, offered to keep Felix until we returned. She also said she would keep him forever if we didn’t come back. We didn’t come back. When the school reopened it operated with only local staff. Periodically we received photos of Felix.

    The point is, taking on a pet is a big commitment. Pets are not temporary toys to keep young kids entertained. If you don’t plan to keep and care for your pet for the span of its life…don’t get one!!

    As for the topic. Felix stayed home when we went on vacations and home for the summer months. Our trusted household help took great care of him.


  4. I have been using Trusted Housesitters to pet sit for me. There is a yearly fee, but it is so worth it. Sitters from all over the world come and stay in your home for free. They send photos and love animals. I have had at least 15 housesitters, for the months or for a weekend, and they have all been great. Some have even become friends!


  5. I adopted one street cat (he really adopted me) 12 years ago at my first posting and he has been with me to 4 countries. I resisted adopting him for quite awhile as I did not want the responsibility of a pet, but it was meant to be. My second post was in a country that was not pet friendly. Cats were a meal and dog restaurants were normal. My first year in this location was a struggle. The maid did not like cats and it was difficult to find care and food, so I took him home to my mothers for 1 year until I moved on to my next posting. This country was more pet friendly and my maid enjoyed my cats very much, making it easier to travel. Here I adopted a second cat to keep my first one company as I was working longer hours and traveling quite a bit. Currently I am in a very pet friendly location where pet sitters and vets are easy to find – although my current maid also loves them and takes care of them when I travel.
    Having pets can be expensive, especially when moving around, but I have my pet savings account for just those situations. I would never leave them behind as I believe that once you commit – you commit. They depend on you and become family. I’ve also known expats who get a pet for themselves or their kids and then leave them behind when they move. I think this is terrible.
    I’m not sure why it is costing people thousands of dollars to move their pets. I have paid quite a bit, but nowhere near 8,000 USD as one contributor has paid. That is probably a consideration on they type of pet and locations when considering having a pet abroad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Salve- A lot of the expense was medical when I first took the cat in. She needed an eye removed and a number of other procedures before she was even healthy enough for me to consider taking to the US. And I agree. A pet is a commitment for the life of the pet, not your comfort zone. My little adopted friend now lives with my daughter, my 2 other cats and her families 2 huge Akitas- And everyone is happy. I don’t know how people just leave a pet in the street- especially in a country where they will suffer and possible die from heat and thirst. But, they do-


  6. If you find that you’re unable to take your pet with you or cannot find a suitable home, then man up (!) and take your pet to a vet to be euthanased. Much better all round than abandoning it. (This may be a challenge in some countries that have a Buddhist ‘culture’) but by doing your homework first before acquiring the said pet would be a very good idea!


    1. Gross. Someone should euthanize you. I hope to God I never have to work with someone with your outlook on life. Who would hire anyone with your views as a teacher? If you can’t/ won’t pony up the cash to pay for your pets to travel with you, don’t get one. And furthermore, if you think euthanizing a healthy animal is healthy, please jump off the nearest bridge. You and your kind are a big part of the problem the decent part of society is facing.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I think Susan was being very sarcastic about euthanizing. It hurts to see so many pets in the streets once school is over and expats leave.


    3. This poster has made the assumption that all countries offer euthanization services on par with one’s home country. My beloved dog became terminally ill in a developing country. The local vet was reluctant to euthanize. The dog was in so much pain. The local vet was the head of veterinary services for the entire city and the dean of the veterinary department of a local prestigious university. He also had a well respected private clinic in the afternoons and evenings. When the procedure was done they did not have the same types of drugs as my home country. The dog was injected and “fell asleep” for about 30 seconds. I was holding him. Then he leapt up screaming in terrible pain trying to run as I felt his heart explode within his chest. It was terrible and lasted for 5 minutes according to my friend. To me it felt like years. We were then shoved out the clinic door as 11pm and door was locked leaving us on the dark street. As we walked off we saw them throw his body in the dumpster around back as if he were trash. I went round back and dragged him out, carried him home sobbing. The next day a local friend helped me make a fire to “cremate” him. That was ghastly. The worst experience of my life. He died of a disease common to that country and nonexistent in my home country. Something to consider. I have not had a pet since and that was 12 years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m moving to a new post from Asia to the Middle East. My two cats will come with me. No way would I ever adopt them out. They’ve lived in the US,Europe and Asia. During the summer, I have my maid take care of them. I usually only stay away for three weeks during the summer. I hate to leave them during the summer. I sometimes get “cattitude” when I get back. I have found that the better my helper treats them, the better they treat me when I get back.


    1. Jen- The cat I brought home from the UAE was a teenaged stray I took in. When I found her, she had a damaged eye that had to be removed and numerous parasites that were common. The vet in the UAE said that so many expats just dumped their pets when they leave that it was a complete epidemic and I saw it everyday. Qatar was actually worse. The cat’s medical when I first tooke her in and then transport with me home to the US the first summer cost around $8000 USD, so I understan the huge cost of transporting animals and my hats off to you!
      I’ve been overseas for onward 8 years now and after my One Eyed Little Cat (what I named her), adventure and expense, I leave all pets with my daughter (3 cats), in the US.
      Its an expense everyone knows about, but don’t consider ntil they are to selfish and cheap to pay it. Thus, most expats should not get pets.


  8. What I have too often experienced with Expats and pets is, the Expats love, love, love the dog or cat UNTIL its time to relocate and go to tremendous trouble and expense to bring the pet to the next stop. In Qatar there are literally THOUSANDS of abandoned animals ALL OVER THE COUNTRY and they have been abandoned by their expat-owners. They suffer and die in the streets because selfish individuals wanted a pet for themselves or their children, but when its time to put up the cash it takes to bring their loving and dependent pet with them, they are discarded like trash. I brought a cat home- I know what it costs- but so did all of the expats who dumped theirs like trash.
    Anyone who has abandoned an animal on the streets should be ashamed.. I know I would be and I am very ashamed of YOU-


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