At World Pet Travel, we take pride in assisting our active duty military families and retired veterans. Today, we’d like to share a personal story from one of our pet travel consultants, Tara Barbaglia, who is not only an expert in pet relocation but also a proud military spouse. Tara has experienced PCSing around the world with her two beloved fur companions in tow.
“As most of us can attest, our furry companions become an inseparable part of our family. In our case, Munchkin, our cute and small Munchkin cat, was given a name that fittingly matched his breed. Then there was Harley, our larger-than-life Golden Retriever, affectionately dubbed our “thick, goofy boy” due to his impressive 100-plus pounds.
When we received PCS (Permanent Change of Station) orders three years ago, we anticipated a move within the United States, specifically to California. However, life had different plans for us, and we were faced with the unexpected challenge of relocating overseas to Japan. Our pets were not yet prepared to meet Japan’s strict entry requirements, and to add to the complexity, we were not financially ready for the significant expense of pet relocation, which can easily tally up to $5,000 or more for a one-way journey.
In a whirlwind of uncertainties, I immediately reached out to our team of pet travel experts to initiate the meticulous planning of our furry ones’ travel arrangements. Given Harley’s large size, I had no alternative but to entrust a pet relocation service with the responsibility of arranging our flights and leaned on them to take the lead in outlining all veterinary requirements and timelines for us.
Fortunately, we were granted PCS orders well in advance, initially with a five-month lead time, which stretched to eight months due to the unforeseen challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This extended timeframe granted us the invaluable opportunity to prepare and complete all the veterinary treatments mandated by Japan. With dedicated pet travel experts overseeing every facet of our fur babies’ requirements, I could channel my energies into the countless tasks required for a major move—sorting out our possessions, placing items in storage, making heartfelt visits to say goodbye to family and friends, and so much more.
Both our cherished fur babies, Munchkin and Harley, made their journey to Okinawa safely, without a hitch, and soon grew to adore our time spent on the picturesque island. However, as our three-year stint on Okinawa drew to a close, the prospect of repeating the entire pet relocation process back to the United States once again filled me with instant trepidation.
We were quoted a staggering $6,000 for Harley’s return journey alone. Faced with such a substantial expense, we decided to take matters into our own hands and bring Munchkin in the cabin with us, a decision that not only reduced costs but also provided us with the peace of mind we needed.
The financial sacrifices we made were well worth the assurance and security of knowing that our fur babies would safely join us on the return journey. And luckily for military families relocating their pets in 2024, there is now a pet relocation reimbursement of up to $2,000 for pets traveling outside the continental United States.
In the end, our PCS journey to Japan and back was an unexpected adventure filled with challenges and surprises. As someone who had spent years working in the pet relocation industry, I thought I knew what to expect. However, the reality of the process was overwhelming and emotionally charged.
Our furry family members, Munchkin and Harley, played a central role in our lives, and we were willing to go to great lengths to ensure their safety and well-being during these major life transitions. The financial strain was significant, but the peace of mind provided by a professional pet relocation service was invaluable.
Looking back, our story is a testament to the deep bond between humans and their pets. It’s a reminder that even in the face of unexpected changes and daunting expenses, the love and commitment we have for our animal companions drive us to make the best choices for their welfare.
I share this personal account not to scare anyone facing a similar situation but to emphasize the importance of seeking expert guidance and support when it comes to relocating your pets, especially when it involves international moves. The peace of mind that comes with knowing your furry loved ones are in capable hands is worth every penny.
As we move forward, I hope that our story serves as a source of reassurance and guidance for others embarking on their own pet relocation journeys. Our experiences, both the challenges and the triumphs, remind us that our pets are family, and we’ll do whatever it takes to keep them safe and happy, no matter where in the world we may go.”
Explore more stories similar to Tara’s experience with overseas pet transport and discover how we’ve supported numerous military families, just like hers, throughout our years of pet travel service on our testimonials page.