One of the things about the move I was dreading the most was shipping the dogs off. I imagined handing them over to a stranger, seeing their distress, Elfi screaming, me crying. But as it turned out it wasn't so bad.
I paid a specialist to look after all the paperwork and transportation (Sohee from Chung Wha Animal Hospital in Itaewon) and she was professional and caring and lovely. She organised all the tests required, sorted out the freight costs and booked them into quarantine (she even made sure they were in a pen together). On the day of their flight she picked them up early, leaving them on their leads rather than in their crates, to reduce their stress a bit. She even bought along her own (very well trained) dog which meant Ferdi and Elfi were so focussed on meeting another dog they barely noticed us saying goodbye. So, whilst I still shed a tear or two, it wasn't nearly as traumatic as I thought it would be.
It was a bit expensive (actually, the whole Australian quarantine process is expensive!) but having a third party handle everything was worth every penny - both for peace of mind and for taking some of the emotional heat out of the situation.
A few other things that helped - a week or so before their flight I got their crates ready and clean and set them up in the lounge room, just so they could get used to them. I also put a toy and some old clothes in there (that's my old pyjama pants you can see next to Ferdi, featuring a dachshund print of course!). And when I gave them treats I'd throw them into the crate. Elfi would run in, grab the treat and run straight back out again, nervous critter that she is. But Ferdi quite likes to have his own little house, so he hung out in his crate a bit. Though he looked sad, as always.
Anyway, the dogs are now safely in quarantine. I've been told from numerous sources that the level of care there is phenomenal, so that's reassuring. We'll see them soon enough, but in the meantime we do miss them quite a lot...