So that is it for another year as far as ALStrays transport of pets and rescue animals under the PETS Scheme and TRACES. Let us wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and of course a HUGE thank you to everyone that has entrusted the transport of their pet or rescue animal to us this year.
Forgive me if I don’t thank you all individually but in 2013 we transported 925 pets and rescue animals in total, comprising 382 cats and 543 dogs. We picked up or dropped off in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Bosnia, Germany, Luxembourg, Holland, Belgium, Wales, Scotland and England on our travels.
We have driven over 120,000 miles, spent 30.364,35€ on diesel, 8.633,06€ on tolls and 5.936€ on the Shuttle.
Back in January 2013 I wrote:
Numbers are often meaningless but throughout 2012 we transported around 240 re-homed rescue dogs to the UK from Spain, over 100 dogs to Germany, Holland and Belgium, and brought 25 dogs from the UK to Spain for people starting a new life here in Spain. In addition we transported over 350 cats to Germany a lot of which Sands had helped to re-home.
When we first set up ALStrays Transport we only had one objective in mind: to provide a professional, sustainable transport business to ensure safe regular and affordable transport of people’s pets.
We never had any aspirations to be ‘the best’, ‘number one’, ‘the market leader’. Been there done that as the T-Shirt says. ALStrays is a business without any questions. We have bough three vehicles and had kennels built at our homes in the UK and Spain. It is run through our UK based VAT Partnership (M2 Associates) and it takes up pretty much every moment of our time. We certainly have no time to consider other options of earning money, even if we were so inclined!
We have learnt a lot over the years: initially we weren’t DEFRA registered, and for a long time we used the PETS Scheme for re-homed animals. We were inexperienced when we set out, but we have learnt quickly and never shirked from getting any necessary certifications, licenses or inspections.
We have always been proud of the way we have set up and run the transport business, and we continue to have every confidence in our approach and methods.
Nothing is going to change in 2014.
When we bought the larger van we thought we would be able to transport more cats and dogs, but 925 is way more than we ever anticipated. Having three vehicles dedicated to the transport and having decided part way through the year to concentrate on TRACES and contracts with Protectora’s and Preferred Partners we have been able to achieve this, but I don’t think we will be trying to do so many in 2014.
Sands has done an excellent job, re-homing around 300 cats again this year. One of the organisations in Germany has had to reapply for their license (all sorted now) as part of the Germans tightening of the application of the laws, so has not been re-homing for the last 4 months otherwise the numbers would have been higher. It is all sorted now and 2014 should be another great year.
The personal highlight for Sands and I has to be the adoption of Teo and Tigra, our Galgo’s, and their integration into our life. It has been amazing how quickly they have adapted to life with us, and most importantly the cats have accepted them really well.
This is the first time that we have owned dogs and it has been great walking them on the beach in particular. They are two very striking dogs and they get a lot of attention every time we take them out, and it has been encouraging just how many people are aware of their plight here in Spain.
On a not so positive front the transports have totally dominated our lives and neither of us are as fit or healthy as we would like, and Sands is not getting over to the UK as often as she would like.
We are going to concentrate on a monthly scheduled transport to Germany, Holland and the UK. We will continue to only transport re-homed rescue animals under TRACES, and priority goes to our contracted Protectora’s and Preferred Partners. Typically this means that we have about 5 spaces to Germany and 8 spaces to the UK available each month. We will of course continue to transports pets under the PETS Scheme.
We have been developing the number of animals we transport from the UK to Spain, and have a couple of contracts in place.
The three transports from Bosnia were a real highlight of 2013 and we have already booked three Charter transports from Bosnia for 2014.
We are looking at establishing a regular scheduled transport from Bosnia to the UK. This is difficult given our location in Spain, but we have found a co-ordinator in the UK to work with us and we have our existing relationships in Bosnia.
With luck we will do the first one in March.
We will be spending more time on the blog and much less time on Facebook again in 2014. The sheer pathetic nature of so many petty minded people makes it a very easy decision to be honest.
We put a lot of effort into ensuring that all the information required for the transport of your animal is on the site and we keep the schedule and availability updated at all times.
We do not publicise routes, progress, updates or photos of your animals on social media or the Internet in general. We use a password protected page on the blog that is only available to these involved with the transport.
We will continue to do this. As the animals safety is our number one priority we don’t think that making information available to the general public is a good idea.
A key priority for us is to find a way to help more animals in need, both in the short and long term. There is a physical limit as to how many transports we can run in terms of a year and for how many years, and we will never be set up to provide a rescue facility as our life will evolve around living in two countries, not based in one (we should be doing this now but the transports and our own tribe has grounded us in Spain for now).
Hopefully we have found a way, but we need to work on it during 2014 so fingers crossed ………
We need a better balance! We need to be fitter, healthier and spend more time with our cats and dogs, and Sands needs to be in the UK more.
The plan is that each quarter we will do a scheduled transport each month and a charter transport on two of the months with the third month left free for Sands to spend time in the UK.
Sands is going to focus on the re-homing and transport and short term foster, and leave the rescue to others far better equipped.
PETS Transport Scheme
If you are in any doubt as to what the PETS Scheme is, or if you and your pet qualify then please check out the information on this post
If you have re-homed a cat or dog, recently adopted a cat or dog that requires transporting, or the ownership of the cat or dog will change as a result of the transport then you MUST transport the animal via the TRACES Scheme. You can check out the details on this post
You can see our latest schedule and availability on this post