Monday, September 23, 2013

Noel, the French bulldog

Noel, the French bulldog
Since we start planning our new kind of lifestyle in a sail boat, Noel never stopped being part of our concerns. In fact we're more concerned about him than ourselves! Before we had him, we did research to find out he would be the best breed for us, living in apartment conditions. We knew, since the beginning, that he has special health problems caused by his short face. He has higher risk of heatstroke than other breeds because he can’t pant vigorously enough to lower his body heat. So, the past 4 years raising him were spent, mostly, with aircon on 24 hours in the apartment. We avoid bringing him out for a walk at noon time because of the heat. Or even when we bring him sailing in our previous 25 feet sail boat around Macau, we always paid extra attention and care because of him.
The problems started when we decide to embark on our “Around the World Trip” in Dominican Republic, which means travelling to the Caribbeans and have a 12 hours difference from Macau. How we will bring him with us? I cried many times when I found information that many "bulldogs" died due the air travel.  Many airlines refuse to carry bulldogs. How can we bring him with us if they refuse? Even we contacted a French airline to reconfirm before we decided to purchase our tickets but some people with experience transporting dog said that they may say “yes” by phone, saying that bulldogs can fly with them, but when we check in they always can refuse boarding him. Lots of information suggest flying in the cold season, which, in fact, is perfect for us. When we leave Macau in January the temperature will be around 15 Centigrade, either he flies to USA or Europe will always be winter.
Initially we had the idea of flying with him, in the same flight, however, that had to be putted aside to leave in the hands of professionals.
We found PetMoversHK ( who can transport French Bulldogs to our final destination. It’s a small fortune that we've to pay and there is no guarantee! However, Mr Eric been very helpful trying to answering all our questions and doubts!
Most of you may think that we are crazy throwing away such a big amount of money, but we can't imagine our adventure without our loyal family member. It's out of question leaving him behind just because of money. We won’t! We are not rich, we also have to count all pennies, and we work as hard as you do. All my salary, and believe me it's really "all" from the last year, was just put apart for his traveling expenses!  
Quotation details; 
For Macau to Hong Kong will be HK$9,800 including as follow:
Final Vet Check
Export Health Certificate
Government Endorsement
Sea Cargo Booking
Seafare from Macau to Hong Kong
Export Cargo Clearance
For Hong Kong to US will be HK$19,800 including as follow:
Hong Kong Transit Permit
Hong Kong Sea Terminal Pickup
Transport to Airport Quarantine Station
Comfort Rest out of the crate for one night
Quarantine Fee for one night
Airfare for shipping from HKG to MIA via EU
EU Transit Fee Euro140
Export Cargo Clearance
For our US agent MIA pickup and transport to SDQ residence will be HK$29,800 including as follow:
SDQ Airport Pickup
Custom Clearance
Deliver the dog to owner after custom clearance in airport

Total cost: HK$ 59,400
*HK$ 8 = US$ 1
*HK$ 10 = 1 Euro
Airlines that fly to Dominican Republic;
Airberlin (Germany)
Air France (France)
Alitalia (Italy)
Avianca (Colombia)
British Airways (England)
Iberia (Spain)
Lufthansa (Germany)
TACA (El Salvador)
In terms of his health, our Portuguese veterinarian in Macau help us a lot to make a list of “Must carry” medication that we should bring for him and how to deal with heatstroke. Since the heatstroke is the biggest concern for bulldogs, one of the useful items for Noel is the cooling jacket. It doesn't work 100% but it helps him to release the heat somehow. We found this item from a small entrepreneur in Canada (
Noel in cooling jacket
His vet also suggested that, if he has heatstroke, to deal with it as fast as possible to reduce the chances of being dangerous. So please remember, if you also have a dog of the same breed as us, keep his mouth, nose and chest wet and as cold as possible! That can increase, substantially  is chances of survival and recovery.
Another essential thing is a life jacket. We all know that dogs, usually, are very good swimmers. However, Noel, due to his short legs and heavy body, is special! French Bulldogs have short legs and heavy bone structure, that’s why they can’t swim too long like any other dogs.

Handsome boy in orange life jacket at the beach in Macau

Dear all, having a pet dog is more than love and care or even feeding. It's a good way to see how ready you are to be responsible for another life.
We just pray and hope that his journey will be done without problems and we will try to do our best to maintain his healthy life until his last days with us because, without doubts, Noel is part of the Gomes family.

by NaE


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