Recruiting With 4-Legged Friends

Are your chances of landing an overseas teaching gig diminished if your travel companion is a full-sized poodle? How about an 8-pound Siamese cat? Most everyone loves cats & dogs but that doesn’t mean they are always invited. Going international with a 4-legged friend requires extensive planning. Travel arrangements, documentation, vaccinations, dietary needs & visits to the vet are just the tip of the iceberg. An obstacle you may not be able to overcome is a destination that considers dogs & cats ‘unclean’ animals, not to be touched.

At interview, pets could be seen as a complication that might keep you from showing up for the job. Extremes in weather have prompted airlines to restrict pet-travel months for animals shipped in the cargo hold. Oftentimes the start of school & airline pet-travel restrictions conflict. Also consider that in this time of pandemic concerns, it’s hard enough to enter most countries as a human; a pet in tow could complicate matters beyond resolution. Are you ready to leave your companion behind? Are you prepared to answer that question at an interview?

The key to a successful recruiting experience with pets is to know the laws related to bringing your pet into the country you’re considering for a career move. Showing the interviewer you’ve done your homework & see no obstacles to your pet coming along goes a long way to making the topic a non-issue. Loads of educators live overseas with their pets & even travel with them through an array of countries during school vacations. The key is Research & Planning.

ISR asks: Were you a teaching candidate this recruiting season with a pet in tow? How did that experience play out? If you’re already overseas with your pet, what advice do you have to Share? Is Covid playing a factor in recruiting with a pet? Would you leave your pet behind if it meant that’d be the only way to get the job?

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21 thoughts on “Recruiting With 4-Legged Friends

  1. omgrsenal, the UK does NOT require a 6 month quarantine if you follow some rules and retain the records of required vaccinations/tests in a Pet Passport. Usually part of this is obtaining a blood titer test, as well as rabies vaccination and other shots, all on a certain timeline prior to arrival in the UK.

    Source: I brought a dog and a cat into the UK from a high-rabies country two years ago. There was no quarantine and we simply picked up our pets from the Animal Reception Centre at Heathrow a few hours after our flight.

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  2. We’ve traveled from Chicago to China and then to Taiwan with our cats. Unfortunately, we were not able to do a straight move from the mainland into Taiwan due to some weird pet restriction, so I had to spend half a year in Vietnam before moving with our cats.

    Expensive and hopefully we’re in Taiwan for the long term, but there’s nothing I’d change. Our cats are family and you don’t leave family behind just because they’re “inconvenient.”

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  3. We have moved through four countries now with our cat(s). Our first trip was Canada>Vietnam and we learned that some airlines do not allow pets as additional baggage. Always find an airline that will either do additional baggage or in-cabin. DO NOT SHIP PETS AS CARGO. It is hellish getting them back again at the destination. Some airlines like Cathay Pacific go through Hong Kong and insist on cargo because of local regulations. We did move to a boarding school, in China, and they were flexible enough to let us live off campus with our pets. It’s always worth asking if the school is one you really want to go to. Bringing pets OUT of China can be really tricky, and into the EU requires a lengthy test. I’ve used Globy Pet Relocation and found them reasonably priced, and flexible with how much assistance they provide based on your needs. I would never, ever leave my pets behind. I’ve turned down jobs in places (Bali, Brunei) where there are lengthy periods of quarantine too because I don’t want my pets in a cage for weeks or months. Yes, you definitely need LOTS of research when committing to travelling with your pets. And always keep ALL your paperwork, even after you’ve left a country.

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  4. Been overseas and traveled with a pet for the past twelve years now.
    We’re pretty used to the paperwork and making sure we keep all the vaccinations up to date. It does require research and planning but I would not go to a school where they would not allow me to bring my dog with me… I understand if it’s a boarding school and you have to live on campus, if not, then I’m prepared to handle all the paperwork etc on my side.

    I had an odd interview with a school in South Korea, where during the third and final round the principal asked if I would be willing to leave my pet. It was not a boarding school, it’s not a place where it’s hard to get the pet in and out of the country, pretty standard requirements (microchip, rabies vaccinations, up to date on other vaccinations, health certificate clearance from a vet), so that really surprised me that this was a factor in me getting a job there. Would have loved clarity, but the answer was shrugged off.

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  5. We have lived in several countries and have always traveled with a pet. We took one from Muscat to Bucharest which was not an easy process. Lots of blood tests but in the end it all worked out well. We travelled from Bucharest in a Motorhome to Azerbaijan crossing the Black Sea. Our Yorkshire Terrier had the adventure of a lifetime but sadly died in his sleep while we were living in Baku. At the start of the 2020/2021 academic year we moved to Uzbekistan. With COVID it was a nightmare finding an airline who would take our three legged cat and chihuahua but in the end it all worked out. We connected in Turkey and they last leg of the journey they actually were allowed to sit on our laps. However when we arrived in Tashkent the vet at the airport kept calling our chihuahua a cat and even said – ugly cat. I agree that a lot of time needs to be used to do your research, get paperwork sorted and making sure the pets are just as comfortable and looked after.

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  6. I took my dog to India with me. We got hit by a cyclone and everything went underwater for many weeks. This allowed for tremendous contamination of everything. He got leptospirosis. I later heard if Leptospirosis is caught early enough, antibiotics could have possibly helped. I took him to a neighbourhood vet immediately and then to the major veterinary college in the city I lived in several times searching for answers as to why he was sick and how to help him. Many visits before they finally diagnosed him correctly and then it was too late. The vet said he needed to be euthanised. They did not have the same medications there to do it. He died a horrible death where he was screaming in pain in my arms as I felt his heart explode inside his chest, It shattered me in a way that I never recovered from. Terrible beyond belief. I don’t know what was worse, the pain my dog suffered with the leptospirosis or the euthanasia. The lack of sanitary conditions and low quality of veterinary care was something I never considered in my decision to take him along. I made a serious mistake and he paid with his life. I have never had a pet since. I did meet other teachers with dogs and they didn’t seem to have problems like I had.

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    1. Sadly you missed a fundamental process before going overseas with your dog. Shots against leptospirois are rwadily available in Europe and N.America, along with rabies, distemper and other common doiseases. We had our dog vaccinated fully before going overseas. You are right about veterinary care, especially in third world countries. It is terrible to lose a pet friend but the best remedy is to go to a shelter and give a deserving dog or cat(or both) a forever home.

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  7. We took in a street cat while living in Romania. We named him George. We took him with us when we moved to Pakistan. He loved it there. He had a big front and back yard. It took miles of paper work to get him out of Romania and into Pakistan. Interesting thing is no one asked to see any of it. Soon after 911 our school closed and we were encouraged to leave Pakistan. Fortunately, one of the secretaries at the school was in love with George and she asked if she could keep him. It all worked out well. We just couldn’t see putting George through a move back to the States where we had no home and would be uprooted for a spell. Would I travel with a pet again? Yes.

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  8. The four legged job killer.

    I learned very quickly when I moved into recruitment side of things that you need to ask if they are traveling with pets.

    I have lost two good teachers before due to pets. One couldn’t leave theirs behind and one had two very large dogs and there was no way they were getting out of the country they were in.

    This was after accepting their offers, processing paperwork and closing out the adverts. I always ask now.

    Not only do you need to research how to get the animal in, but also research how to get them out – some countries are fairly straightforward to get pets into, but a bugger to get them out of.

    Also look into how safe it is for your pet there. Are they at risk from local wildlife.

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  9. We left our elderly cat in the UK with family when we left, because he just wasn’t fit to travel. We now have another cat, and there is absolutely no way I’d go anywhere without him! Fortunately, that mainly rules out schools which require staff to live onsite for boarding supervision, which I wouldn’t consider anyway.

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  10. Especially as a single, I wouldn’t even consider a job that wouldn’t let me take my dogs. They are family, period. In fact, I turned down a position this year; the school sounded great, but, after checking with staff who had dogs, I thought the country would just be too difficult for the dogs. It’s always well worth asking for contact with pet owning staff before accepting a position. Fortunately, I’m off to an island next, with beaches and parks everywhere. Dog heaven.

    Having said that, don’t have pets if you’re not willing to put in the time AND MONEY it takes to transport them. It is time consuming and a headache to sort out travel, especially if you have larger animals. I’ve travelled from Turkey with two cats, from Egypt with a dog and a cat , and to China with one dog, about to travel to S Korea with two. While I did all the paperwork myself travelling from Egypt to US, it was complicated enough for China (along with 2 weeks quarantine), that I hired a local pet travel company on the China end to help out on arrival.

    Do check and double-check airline regulations for all legs of your trip. When I left Turkey with the cats, they were both in a single large crate, as Lufthansa told me that was fine. However, once I transferred in the US, the new airline told me I couldn’t ship the cats cargo, as it was July. Had to find a spot on a different airline, but they would only let one cat in cargo, so I had to buy a sherpa bag in the airport and bring one of the cats on the plane with me. Lesson learned!

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    1. Would the island you mentioned happen to be Jeju? We are on Jeju now and I can confirm it is heaven for dogs, just need to watch out for ticks on the hiking trails as they are rife!

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  11. I’m actually moving to Saudi Arabia with my dog this August, I’m finding the paperwork intimidating, and while I would like to work with a pet relocation service, they are amazingly expensive. Anyone know of a good company with reasonable rates?

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    1. Ask for contact info for people with pets are your new school. They may have info or local companies. Or local vets may be helpful about regulations, etc.

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    2. Contact your new school and ask them to ask their staff how they transported and managed all the paperwork for their animals. Your local SPCA or animal shelter can also recommend some services that are affordable, or the airlines also provide information to help their passengers. Another source is your vet, or any organization that flies animals from one part of the country to another. Be prepared, once you’ve got the arrangements made, for your dog to NOT like the temperature in Saudi in August.

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    3. I’m currently in KSA and have cats who traveled here. You can join the “Bring Them With You”-export pets group or other Saudi pet groups on Facebook to find people in the know about the process, since it does change at times. Expat Logistics is often referenced as the reliable option if you want someone to handle things for you. One of the hard parts can be the temperature restrictions at that time of year. Good luck-it can be a lot of work but it’s worth it.

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  12. Before you let a school decide to hire you or not based on a pet, first decide how much that pet means to you. I would not accept a job where I could not take my cat, but some people choose to leave pets behind with family or friends. My cat is my family and would not let a school convince me otherwise. Because of this, I always ask questions regarding pet friendliness in final interviews.
    However, like the article mentioned, people should be aware of not only country-specific rules, but airline rules. I recently had to take a nine-hour drive after a 10-hour flight because I could not fly with my cat domestically.
    Also, consider housing. Will the school-provided housing be suitable for your pet’s needs? While most good international schools welcome furry family members, they can’t always control housing or the surrounding area. You may not have good space for a long dog walk for example. Or a cat may not love being stuck in an apartment all day if it was used to outdoor space.
    Bottom line, don’t be afraid to ask schools questions for the benefit of your fur-family. Make it clear you will be bringing an animal if that is your plan, and check for any contractual restrictions that may not have been mentioned.

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  13. My wife and I worked at six international schools, one each in Kuwait and Germany and 4 in Mexico. We always travelled with our Jack Russel terrier and the airlines were extremely receptive and took excellent care of her while in transit. We found that some countries like Kuwait, have a cultural aversion to dogs, which Muslims consider ” haram” or unclean. However cats are considered ok, since they clean themselves regularly. Fellow ex-pats with bigger dogs had more of a challenge. Germany was the only country to check for the character of the dog and restricted pitbulls and other more ” aggressive” breeds but they are great dog lovers and you can even enter restaurants and stores p[rovided you have your dog under control. Mexico checks the dog for rabies at the border but once you’re in, you are fine. We always told the school that we were travelling with a dog and we never had trouble finding lodgings that permitted dogs. Despite its reputation for cleanliness and fastidiousness, Germany ended up being the least concerned about cleaning up after dogs. Kuwait was a mess regardless and Mexico was the saddest environment for pets as there are far too many itinerant animals and while Mexicans love animals, they are also indifferent to their fate.

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