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Old 12.10.2011, 23:22
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Bring the Dog or Leave Him?

Hello Everyone,

I will be relocating from Chicago to Zurich in January. I have a 7 year old Yorkie that I'd love to bring with but I'm very concerned.

I travel a good amount for work (this won't change with the transfer). My trips are never booked out more than 2 weeks in advance and sometimes I have a day or two notice. It's easy in Chicago because there are so many Doggie Daycare's that I never have to worry. Are there similar options available in Zurich?

Hoping to gather some insight to help me make an educated decision with the pup.

Thanks,
Maria
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Old 13.10.2011, 00:12
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Re: Bring the Dog or Leave Him?

Well - regular readers of the Pet Corner know what I'm going to say:

A pet is for life.

When we take on our pets, we do so with the understanding that we have made a commitment to them for the rest of their natural lives. They are part of our family, we must find a way to meet their needs, to give them a good life, no matter where the winds of fortune may send us.

So bring him along. Full stop.

Besides, the adjustment to a new country/culture is so much easier with your four-footed friend by your side.

---

Having said that, it isn't always easy having a pet here; Switzerland is not as service oriented as the US is, you will need to search a bit harder to find the help you need, and it could be expensive. But (unless you are like me, with a horde of nutcases only their mother could love ) care can usually be found.

If you travel regularly and at short notice, and are looking for in-home care, you might even consider hiring a dogsitter as your employee. Or if you find a self-employed carer, perhaps offering a retainer on the understanding that you can book on short notice.

If your dog is used to kennels, you would have less trouble.

If your dog is well-behaved, gets along with well other dogs, is socialized to play in a group, doesn't require special care, then your options will be wider. There are a few doggie day care facilities here - you might be able to 'Stammkunden' relationship where you could book at short notice. You might also find a regular sitter here on EF.

Another option is the 'Pet Sitting Network' thread - this is an exchange of services, not paid pet care.

Be aware that practically the entire country travels at the same time - school holidays. If it all possible, try to plan your travel outside those times, when there is less competition for pet care.

As said, pet care is expensive. Kennels cost anywhere from 25-75 per day, care in a sitter's home ca CHF 30-100 per day, care in your home CHF 200+ per day. But everything is expensive in Switzerland.

---

As you may know, there is a housing shortage in the Zurich area. You may find yourself competing for the same flat with 50 other people, and landlords prefer tenants without pets. I would suggest that you use a relocation agent - one who works for you, not the landlord, one who is 'dog friendly' who will understand your needs. And I'd advise to be flexible about where you live.

The main two concerns that landlords have about dogs are damage and noise. So do whatever you can to prove that your dog is well-behaved and quiet - and take out a comprehensive liability insurance policy. But the good news is that small dogs (especially quiet ones) are generally more readily accepted.

If you are moving here on your employer's request, ask the company for help in both finding your housing and in finding pet care as part of your negotiations.

---

I have brought my mutts all over the world, to some places that at first glance one might categorize as pretty darned dog-unfriendly. Nonetheless, I've managed to give the muttley crew good lives - perhaps different from our previous experiences, but nonetheless quite good - wherever we found ourselves. It just takes a little creativity, a little flexibility, and the will to make it happen.

(And in Switzerland, perhaps digging somewhat deeper into one's pockets.)

Browse the Pet Corner; there are rules and regs and bureaucracy surrounding dog ownership here, some of which you may find rather surprising coming from the US. These have been discussed at length in other threads - just search for things like 'SKN', 'Dog Tax', 'Cantonal Dog Law', 'Nachbarrecht'.

---

By the way - If you need help from a professional animal shipper, I can recommend an excellent gentleman in the Chicago area...

All the best to you and your doglet.

Last edited by meloncollie; 13.10.2011 at 01:29.
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Old 13.10.2011, 09:37
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Re: Bring the Dog or Leave Him?

Another more cost-effective suggestion, if you are willing/able to travel a bit before your trips:

Germany.

If I had to use a Hundepension - I prefer in-home care because of my 'special needs' mutts - the one I would choose is in Germany. I would choose it over others closer because these folks are top-notch, highly skilled, experienced, and dedicated to the welfare of the animals in their care. They also devote a good portion of their time and resources to rescue work.

The cost is only 15-20 Euros per day depending on the size of the dog.

This particular Hundepension is a bit more than 3 hours from Zürich; there may well be others equally good that are closer. If you were able to organize it so that you could drive your dog up into Germany before your trips, you might find more options, at less eye-watering prices.

Again, good luck with your move.
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Old 13.10.2011, 09:59
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Re: Bring the Dog or Leave Him?

Quote:
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Well - regular readers of the Pet Corner know what I'm going to say:

A pet is for life.

When we take on our pets, we do so with the understanding that we have made a commitment to them for the rest of their natural lives. They are part of our family, we must find a way to meet their needs, to give them a good life, no matter where the winds of fortune may send us.

So bring him along. Full stop.

Besides, the adjustment to a new country/culture is so much easier with your four-footed friend by your side.
---
Totally luv and agree with all of this. However, the reality is that it doesn't always work that way. I've seen friends during the recession forced out of their flats and into ones where they simply can't bring a pet. Or, their salaries can no longer support a pet (barely themselves!).

In my situation, I have a dog who can't even travel in a car as he throws up and gets really ill. There was just no way I could take him on a plane and have him traveling for 20+ hours. I had zero relocation support and had to take a flatshare (no pets). Fortunately, my sweetie has been more than chuffed with my parents (as have they) and I see him when I visit them.

But gosh I miss him.
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Old 13.10.2011, 11:47
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Re: Bring the Dog or Leave Him?

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---
Totally luv and agree with all of this. However, the reality is that it doesn't always work that way. I've seen friends during the recession forced out of their flats and into ones where they simply can't bring a pet. Or, their salaries can no longer support a pet (barely themselves!).

In my situation, I have a dog who can't even travel in a car as he throws up and gets really ill. There was just no way I could take him on a plane and have him traveling for 20+ hours. I had zero relocation support and had to take a flatshare (no pets). Fortunately, my sweetie has been more than chuffed with my parents (as have they) and I see him when I visit them.

But gosh I miss him.
We have a dog who gets car sick and she was fine on the airplane from Japan to Switzerland. She had never been on a plane before.

Relocation support can help with finding a pet-friendly place to live but I still believe the main ingredient for success is compromise. Pet friendly housing is often found further afield and in less popular areas, meaning a longer commute. Budget plays a factor, but not as much as some believe.

I recently had the experience of trying to assist someone with a pet find temporary furnished accommodation, for a very limited budget. I found not one, but two places which could have worked. Not ideal in terms of commute, but manageable.

If there is a solution to be found leaving the pet back home, that is great, but very few have that option. I know of very families who were here for a limited time and left their pets back home.
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Old 13.10.2011, 13:40
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Re: Bring the Dog or Leave Him?

I had the good fortune to live in Chicago - it must be one of the most fascinating cities in the world.

You have a very busy professional life; in view of your proposed relocation and travel commitments, would it perhaps not be more beneficial for your Yorkie to be placed before your departure from the States with a family who could take care of him during your absence, or even adopted by them?
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Old 13.10.2011, 14:11
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Re: Bring the Dog or Leave Him?

Simple, bring the pooch it'll be fine.

We are here to help.
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Old 13.10.2011, 14:31
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Re: Bring the Dog or Leave Him?

I have used both Doggy day care and now a doggy Aupair (live out ). Both have worked remarkably well for us. Dogs loved both. I have travel extensively with work and this has been an easy arrangement. However I have always had myself organised up front. I have a back up plan and always keep my eye out for other doggy day cares. It is so easy to go and do an inspection and have a look around in your time off. Rather than waiting until you are stuck.

I used a daily service from the doggy day care which gave me a priority when I needed to travel or leave them their in an emergency. Many people said it was confusing for them to go daily, but I have to say mine absolutely loved it!

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Besides, the adjustment to a new country/culture is so much easier with your four-footed friend by your side.
Never a truer word spoken.
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