Besides the enormous amount of furniture and old toys we will have to move, we also have a huge garden filled with vegetables and all sorts of plants to move. Obviously there are also so large implements and machinery from the dairy and other aspects of crop farming that we have to sort and pack up. But one of the most important things we have to move is of course the animals themselves.

Sheep, pigs, deer, cows, cats, dogs, a parrot and of course the mongoose. The dogs won’t be so bad, because they are use to driving around on the back of the bakkie. The cats, parrot and even DoeDoe have their own custom made travel cadges complete with water bottles and familiar blankets. All of this makes the travelling part easier but the adapting part will still take some work.

We split up the dogs: the two larger ones and Spot were in one vehicle and the 4 Toi-Poms were in ours. The reason for the split is firstly for their comfort during the hour journey and secondly because the 2 larger dogs were going to stay at his grandmother’s house for extra protection while the other for were going to stay in the new house and Spot is the favourite so he gets to ride up front. We allowed the dogs to run around as much as possible until 40min before the drive and made sure they had plenty of water. The heat can get pretty rough and we wouldn’t want them to get dehydrated. We placed their sleeping pillows on the back of the pick-ups and rolled opened up the windows enough for air but not enough for them to jump through. I also made sure the little ones looked out the window to ensure that they knew they were in motion- like with humans if we just sleep in the car or do something else like watching a DVD, our body can’t realize that we are moving and thus we end up feeling really sick. The parrot was happy and slept most of the time; I just made sure that his cage was not next to the cats’.

The cats were a bit harder to catch because they sensed all the movement and their incredibly strong homing instincts were in full swing. But once they were both in their cages and realized we were close by, they settle down and only meowed in conversation. DoeDoe fell asleep about a minute after she got into her basket and only woke up as we were pulling in but even then she was pretty relaxed. With both the cats and the mongoose we dipped their paws in butter as we placed them in their cages. Liking their paws clean is pretty effective distraction and it has the added bonus of encouraging them to ‘wash-off’ the smells of the familiar old house so that they can replace it with the smells and taste from the new house upon arrival.

At the new place we decided to divide and concur… After JS and his dad dropped off the larger dogs, they met up with us and kept the little dogs entertained under the trees allowing them to run and play for a bit. While they were dropping off the 2 dogs, we ensured that all the fences surrounding the yard were secure and of course filled and placed all the animals’ usual water dishes in similar places to at the old house. We added extra dishes of milk next to the water dishes, we wanted them to see the moving experience as a pleasant one and consider the milk as a treat. Some dogs tend to eat food whether they are hungry or not and usually they don’t even realize that they are actually dehydrated- even just slightly- by the journey, so it is advised to prevent your dog from eating for the first 3 hours they are there, allowing plenty of water instead. The longer the journey, the bigger difference this small yet important detail will make.

We also put Joe the parrot back in his cage with plenty of food and water. We took DoeDoe and the two cats inside, still in their cages. We really wanted them to be comfortable and have a smooth transition so for safeties sake we dipped their paws in butter again but this time we allowed them to get out of the cages as soon as they were dipped, that way they get a taste for the new place immediately too. We really didn’t want them to go back to the old farm or runaway so we decided to keep them locked in a section of the house with their food, milk, cages and lots of water. It will take a few days for them to adjust and feel safe and comfortable at their new home. Some people even have a tape of the night sounds that they play for the animals but we didn’t go that far this time. We wouldn’t even have locked them in the house if it wasn’t for the fact that we weren’t staying there the first night. It is always better to stay with your pets during times of change as this will reduce their stress levels dramatically but in this case it wasn’t possible for us to be there and we didn’t want to confuse and disrupt them even more by introducing them to yet another unknown place. The little dogs also had their area in the house covered in blankets and their sleeping pillows. The night watch knows the animals are there and has keys to the entire house so if anything seems out of place, he’ll contact us. We still wish we could be there with them but for tonight, we can’t.

In some respect the pets were the easy part, the rest took some more planning. Firstly permits are needed so we had to go to the police station to get them, followed by going to the vet for the final clearance. The dairy cows took a bit more effort as they have to be inspected and identified with great detail by an officer of the law before the permit can be given. We didn’t have any hassles getting the permits but while we were there they showed us some of the pictures of animals other people were transporting illegally. It was nauseating! Some animals being transported in normal cars on the back or even front seat; overloading a truck with double capacity of live stock and squashing them up against each other. Flies bussing around them because they are forced to stand in their own fesses and half of those who remembered to give them food just through it on the ground it was just so disgusting; pigs that couldn’t even stand up because they were on such unstable terrain that the animals gave up trying to keep its balance and instead just lay there helplessly.

Some people really just don’t care! I know moving is a crazy time and a lot of things seem to fall through the cracks but please make sure that your animals are NOT one of those things…




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