Fiona is the beloved Basset Hound of Sarah and Diego. Recently they relocated from Mexico to Adelaide, having to go through extensive measures to bring her along with them – here is their story:
Bringing Fiona from Mexico was the easiest decision we made as far as our emigrating to Australia, we were coming as a family and Fiona was part of that family plain and simple; many people did not understand this. We were told repeatedly to leave her behind, that we could get another dog and that it was a waste of money we could use for other things. In Mexico, same as here I suppose, there are people who love animals and regard them as part of the family and others who do not.
To bring Fiona we had to ensure she was microchipped and vaccinated. Pets are not accepted into Australia directly from Mexico so she had to spend six months in a country from which she was able to travel direct so we chose to send her to the US for six months. We found a company that transports circus and zoo animals all over the world who, as a side business, take pets who are in Fiona's situation into their care for the required period of time. Fiona lived in their home!
To get her out of Mexico we had to hire somebody who could get her through customs at the Mexican airport. This is something that worried us greatly because we had heard terrible stories of abuse, of animals let out of cages and never seen again. Another concern was the corruption. We did not know the right people to pay off for her safe arrival onto her plane. I understand that this concept is foreign to most Australians but it is part of everyday life in Mexico. The person we hired knew how to keep Fiona safe until she was put on her plane. When she arrived in San Francisco she was picked up at the airport by a man we'd never met but who we had entrusted our most valuable little girl. We did have many concerns but either we did things this way or she couldn't come with us.
She was well cared for while she was away, however, she gained 12 kilos in those six months and now we are struggling to get her back into shape!
After six months in America, she was put on a plane and arrived in Australia. Once here she spent 10 days in quarantine.
Pet care in Mexico varies widely. There are people whose pets live better than most humans, others who are loved and cared members of the family, but also many cases of terrible abuse. In Mexico there is no protection for animals and there is no information readily available about pet care. About a year before we left, the government put pet food on the list of "luxury items" and prices soared. Our vet told us the amount of street dogs rose dramatically after this. People could not afford to feed their dogs so they dumped them out on the streets. A common occurrence was for people to tie dogs onto park benches with notes, hoping someone will take them in. There are also many people who buy puppies for Christmas but soon those dogs are dumped on the outskirts of the city. This is something that has always broken our hearts.
Those who would do anything for their pets ran the risk of being exposed to the criminal element in Mexico City. A couple of years before we left, in the richer areas of the city, people who were walking their dogs would get stopped at gunpoint and their dogs taken from them for ransom. The dog was kidnapped and the victims were given an account number to deposit money.
In the city most of the people who own pets own cats and/or dogs. There are many pet stores in which to buy toys and food. Being in the city there are no natural predators. There are no concerns for keeping cats indoors to protect the fauna. Most people live in apartment buildings and animals are kept inside, few people have yards. So Fiona loves her new back yard! She has a lot more space to play in. She is fascinated by the birds that come into the back yard, she has never seen anything like them before and she stands back and stares at them!
We missed her terribly when she was not with us. But that time allowed us to find a pet friendly house and get everything ready for her arrival. Once everything was ready our house felt empty until she arrived.
We love Adelaide! All of us. It is a beautiful city with friendly people. We had never heard of Fred Basset until people started asking us if that was Fiona's name! We feel very lucky to be here and to have our family back together again.