For a whole bunch (pun alert) of reasons and with an equally large bunch (you have been warned) of emotions I have decided that it is time to hang up the old van keys and retire from pet transports.
I will help where possible in an emergency, and I plan to drive to Spain several times a year to our apartment so will happily transport cats and dogs either way when I do, but I will not be offering any other pet transport services.
If you asked me back in 2010 when we started transporting the cats to Germany if I thought I would drive over 800,000 miles and deliver over 8,000 cats and dogs I would have thought you mad. The fact that I have proves that I am slightly mad (but then again who isn’t in the animal rescue world), but I am also very proud of these numbers, and more than a little tired and stiff.
Understandably most will have got the info they needed from Paragraph One, some may have read the second paragraph, but if you are still with me and want more information ….
Financially the transports are hard to justify. Nobody wants to add unnecessary or large costs to the already significant costs involved in rescuing and re-homing the cats and dogs, and the only way that a pet transport business really works is on the old low margin, high volume approach. Fine when you are younger and this is your full time job, but not practical when you are older and have other responsibilities and priorities. For example I have recently been spending up to 24 hours on delayed transports (and I should point out here that so far 85% of the transports I have helped with since moving back from Spain I have ended up waiting for the animals or had to re-arrange at the last minute) to ‘earn’ £150. A thousand miles, 20 dogs, 24 hours with only 3-4 hours napping in the van, for £150 …. told you it helped to be mad in this life!!!!
Logistically the transports are too hard to plan around. This week alone I have done three transports: all with significant delays. As a result I missed a chance to see my parents and Sands twice had to cancel a visit to her Mum who she has not seen since March! It’s just not fair on the family that I keep doing this to them ….
I have mentioned many times that my neck and shoulder have chronic issues and whilst they are basically OK whilst driving the following day is usually a wipe out as they seize up, cause a migraine and often confine me to bed for the best part of a day.
I mentioned above two areas that I will always try and help: in an emergency as a last resort (but I can’t guarantee you will like the price!) and when I am driving to our apartment in Spain. I plan to do this 2 or 3 times a year and will happily plan around helping with a specific requirement (moving to Spain, a charter etc) or just bringing back a few cats and dogs each time.
For now though, thanks! I have met some truly amazing people over the years, and have got so much satisfaction over helping the animals. It has been one of the best things in my life to date, and whilst I intend to carry on helping in some capacity it is certainly time to let the younger drivers carry on. There are some great companies helping transport the animals, so I have no doubts that they will continue to help where we no longer can.