Oh man, we are missing our animals. You may have read on the kids’ blog that our cat, Abbey, passed away right before our move. We are still processing that loss, and we are also just plain missing our two dogs who are staying in fabulous foster homes during our assignment in Italy. My dad and stepmom have Lucy, and our neighbors have Mimi. We are so fortunate to have wonderful, loving homes for them while we’re gone. Even so, there is a big void in our family that is normally occupied by pets.
We chose not to bring animals because when we moved from England to the US 8 years ago we brought 2 cats with us, and it was very, very difficult. It was difficult procedurally as there was a ton of red tape to go through (examinations, custom-made enclosures, mountains of paperwork, no sedation allowed to relax them, etc), but also there was a TON of stress on the animals and what I imagine was a very frightening few hours in the cargo hold and customs. We were gun-shy about putting animals through that again if we had good alternatives, and one of our dogs was rescued as an adult and panics in a crate anyway so it was clear she wouldn’t make the trip without a heart attack.
I’ve been really surprised at the cultural difference here when it comes to dogs. Dogs are EVERYWHERE! You can take dogs into Ikea, cafes, supermarkets… I remember the first of many trips to Ikea when we saw a family with their dog. I thought it was an unusual breed for a service dog. Then we saw another family with another dog, and another, and another – eventually the penny dropped that they weren’t service dogs. 🙂 It’s heartwarming to get to be around dogs so frequently, but of course we also miss our dogs even more thinking about how they could be accompanying us to all those places if they were with us.