Surf Dog: Antigua’s most adventurous pet

There are no Alpine forests to walk in here.

Can you believe this pooch has flown with us from Switzerland? Now here he is on a boat with his ears blowing in the breeze.

Pup in a boat, wind in the ears!

I’ve never travelled with a pet on a plane before and I found the whole experience very surreal.

For a start, the paperwork was phenomenally complicated. Perhaps our case is a little extreme, considering that the dog is a French passport holder living in Switzerland and planning to transit London to get to Antigua.

Did you know that there exists such a thing as a pet travel agency? I do now. In fact they were great. There was a lot of really efficient emailing, even to the extent of organising an out-of-hours vet during an overnight London transit and transfer from Heathrow to Gatwick, to issue the UK health certificate to ensure our precious dog’s acceptance into Antigua.

We did not see our dog for the duration of the flights or the transit. I dropped him off at the Cargo Terminal in Geneva airport, where it appeared that some of the staff had never seen a dog before. When they discovered that he was not actually simply going to London (an achievement in itself), but was in fact heading to a beach by a tropical sea, there was a brief discussion from the secretary trying to replace said dog in the cage so that she could have his new life.

Then as it got close to handover time, the kindly staff did what all Swiss people do in an emotional emergency, and they repeatedly offered me chocolate. Obviously I accepted and filled up my purse. “On a toujours besoin de chocolat, non?”

I was slightly put off by all of the ‘This Way Up’ stickers – surely they could peek inside and see which way is up? Worse still was the ‘My name is Richy’ stickers – when that is not actually his name. Never mind, I packed him off and went and sat in my car and ate chocolate at 9am.

On arrival in the wonderfully tropical Antigua, our poor little dachshund decided to cock his leg against a cactus. Ooops, not in Switzerland now pup!

Our dear dachshund has always loved to swim. Switzerland, however, is completely landlocked  so his swimming has been confined to the freshwater kind. He loves to chase ducks for example, while smart children on scooters eat ice cream and observe.

Swimming here is entirely different. Ten points for our dogs bravery – we throw a stick (or a flamboyant tree pod) and he leaps willingly in the surf, fetches and then swims ashore to roll in the sand and sargassum weed (more on this later). What a stinky, sandy, feral little pup he has become.

In the surf

But how cool?!

Digging as Usual
On a pontoon
Swimming with stingrays

It is a far cry from the financial hub of Switzerland where our dog used to spend his days looking for marmottes in the mountains and then sit on our laps in the evenings and cuddle up.

Poor pooch, he has travelled so far and is now not allowed to sit on our beautiful white rented furniture. But what fun adventures he is having!

Sorry ‘Richy’, it’s a dog’s life.

Bisous from Antigua à la plage  x

I’d love to hear about your travels with pets! If you have any questions too, I have up to date information for travel to Antigua.

Pet travel agency Ladyhaye Global Pet Travel


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