As we start our journey north from Portugal, we collect more pets who are heading to the UK.

Manu, a friend of Animalcouriers, drove Jack and his sister and their Husky Swarsky from Gibraltar to meet up with us in Seville. Swarsky will homeboard with Animalcouriers for a week, before travelling to Lancashire to catch up with Jack once he gets back to the UK.

Next to get on board was Toffee, one of a litter of pups found in the Portuguese campo near the Spanish border. Antonio and his mum reared them, and now Toffee has been adopted by their friends Mary and her husband. Toffee started off unsure about what to do when a lead was put on him, but just 24 hours later was walking on a lead as though he’d always done it. Everything was very sedate until he came upon a rugged patch of campo-like terrain, when he started rolling around and sniffing everything in reach — as if to say, this is where I belong!

Despite our vans being air-conditioned, the high temperatures at this time of year mean we try to avoid too many detours on our trips. So, to enable four pets from Madrid to join our trip, we arranged for a well known local pet transport company, Automascotas, to bring them to us. We booked ourselves in at the Casa Rural El Arrullo in San Juan de Requena, Valencia — which is listed on booking.com as ‘superb’ with a rating of 9.2 out of 10 — and waited for Xavier to arrive.

It turned out to be a great place to stop. Apart from the warm welcome from our hosts, we were greeted by a number of local residents who popped over for a chat, all of us speaking rather broken Spanish and English! It felt like we’d landed in the middle of traditional Spanish hospitality. Everyone was fascinated by the customised Animalcouriers and Automascotas vans, and intrigued to watch us walking dogs on leads, as in much of Spain dogs simply run free in the campo.

The four pets who travelled with Xavier from Madrid were Berty, Jet, Xania and Briguita. Liz from AAH Vets in Madrid asked us to transport Berty for one of her clients, and Berty has been staying with her in the meantime. This fun-loving hound is on his way to Leicester.

Sharron asked us to transport her handsome cat Jet, whom she rescued in the Dolores area, to the UK. Liz at AAH has been looking after him since Sharron left Spain. Jet has a number of health issues and has come with his own medication. He’s very lucky that Sharron rescued him as he wouldn’t have survived living in the wild. Sharron and Jet’s ultimate destination is Australia.

Gorgeous Eurasier puppy Xania, bred by Antonio, is the half-sister of two other Eurasiers, Molly and Ozzie, already owned by Kayleigh. At a show in Italy, Molly was crowned champion, and both dogs have qualified for Crufts 2016. Xania looks set to follow in their footsteps.

Lovely Briguita belongs to Rita and Ricardo, and is their two-year-old son’s favourite playmate. The family is relocating to London where Ricardo ha a new job. They’re very excited about being reunited with her at their new home.

Today we met Pedro and his guinea pig Coby. Pedro and his wife, Leo, think the world of her. She came armed with a bag of food, including her favourite green and red sweet peppers, and many other accessories that only a travelling guinea pig will understand. Coby and Pedro are joining Leo in Cambridge where she has started a new job.

Handsome Husky Swarsky with Manu (L), Jack (R) and Jack's sister in the middle

Handsome Husky Swarsky with Manu (L), Jack (R) and Jack’s sister in the middle

Toffee — good enough to eat!

Toffee — good enough to eat!

Hanging out at the Casa Rural El Arrullo

Hanging out at the Casa Rural El Arrullo

A crowd of friendly but curious onlookers, interested to watch us cleaning out, walking and feeding our charges

A crowd of friendly but curious onlookers, interested to watch us cleaning out, walking and feeding our charges

Xavier with Berty (L) and Xania (R)

Xavier with Berty (L) and Xania (R)

If we could harness Berty's energy we could use it to run all of our van's aircon and electric ventilation!

If we could harness Berty’s energy we could use it to run all of our van’s aircon and electric ventilation!

Gorgeous jet-black Jet

Gorgeous jet-black Jet

Very pretty tabby Briguita

Very pretty tabby Briguita

Pedro with his beloved guinea pig Coby

Pedro with his beloved guinea pig Coby

We can see why Pedro and Leo love her so much — she's very cute indeed

We can see why Pedro and Leo love her so much — she’s very cute indeed

Can you spot Diesel? Sometimes cats just don't want to play —or even say hello!

Can you spot Diesel? Sometimes cats just don’t want to play —or even say hello!

Diesel finally shows her beautiful self to us

Diesel finally shows her beautiful self to us

Poor Humberto was very bemused by Miuxa's behaviour — she's normally very friendly, he told us. We did notice he was sporting a plaster on one finger, though…

Poor Humberto was very bemused by Miuxa’s behaviour — she’s normally very friendly, he told us. We did notice he was sporting a plaster on one finger, though…

Carriça, on the other hand, is very relaxed and enjoys her snuggly catnaps

Carriça, on the other hand, is very relaxed and enjoys her snuggly catnaps

We love Carriça's markings. She's very alert and keeps a close eye on everything we do.

We love Carriça’s markings. She’s very alert and keeps a close eye on everything we do.

ET is very amusing and full of antics. Like Carriça, she watches us closely and wants petting and cuddling all the time!

ET is very amusing and full of antics. Like Carriça, she watches us closely and wants petting and cuddling all the time!

Miuxa is finally settling down and starting to trust us. We persuaded her to eat some supper last night, and watched while she grumbled her way through one of our poshest tins of cat food. She pretended to ignore us throughout the whole operation!

Miuxa is finally settling down and starting to trust us. We persuaded her to eat some supper last night, and watched while she grumbled her way through one of our poshest tins of cat food. She pretended to ignore us throughout the whole operation!

Lexi showing us her perfect 'sit' skills

Lexi showing us her perfect ‘sit’ skills

View from the office window yesterday — Portugal to the left, Spain to the right

View from the office window yesterday — Portugal to the left, Spain to the right

Fortunately, we didn't have to fit this donkey in…

Fortunately, we didn’t have to fit this donkey in…

…nor his musician chum

…nor his musician chum

We spotted dinos galore at Dos Hermanos when collecting Swarsky. Everyone loves a dinosaur, especially courier J's three-year-old grandson, who's just graduated to a two-wheeled bike, and courier M's 23 year old daughter who's just graduated as a teacher‎. So, all you dino-fans out there, which one is this?

We spotted dinos galore at Dos Hermanos when collecting Swarsky. Everyone loves a dinosaur, especially courier J’s three-year-old grandson, who’s just graduated to a two-wheeled bike, and courier M’s 23 year old daughter who’s just graduated as a teacher‎. So, all you dino-fans out there, which one is this?

And this one — a Tyrannosaurus Rex maybe?

And this one — a Tyrannosaurus Rex maybe?

Pretty sure this one's a Pterodactyl

Pretty sure this one’s a Pterodactyl