Animalcouriers are wending our way towards the UK, collecting more pets as we go. Cats Dragao and Sofia are travelling with us from Lisbon to Oxfordshire to join their owners Tania and Alexandre. Dutiful dad Luis kindly brought these gorgeous cats to us. At the moment they’re quite shy and suspicious about this odd turn of events in their lives β€” but this isn’t unusual in feline passengers. We’re sure they’ll soon come out of their shells.

Sibling dogs Nina and Fofhino were adopted by Sadie’s dad when he was living on the Portuguese Algarve. Unfortunately, he recently became ill and had to rush to the UK for treatment. Believing he would soon be back in Portugal, he arranged for his dogs to be monitored and fed at his home. But his return isn’t going to be as quick as he’d hoped, so Sadie asked us to help get the dogs to the UK.

We asked our good friend Heather at Barking Mad Kennels, near Lagos, to collect them, and she immediately swung into action. Heather describes the dogs as ‘free spirits’ β€” she had to scoop them up, give them a bath, get them used to walking on a lead, and get them to the vet β€” all in four days! She also quickly realised that poor Fofhino was seriously ill. Despite Heather rushing him to the vet, he sadly didn’t make it. It also turned out that Nina’s passport contained some errors. Feeling that Nina really didn’t need to spend extra time in an unfamiliar environment without her brother for company, Heather went back to the vet yet again to have the passport corrected. She tells us:

“The day was a bit of a shock! Highs, lows, rain all day, grumpy vet, but it all worked out in the end. Poor little Nina was in and out of jeeps, vans, vets and kennels more times than I’ve had hot dinners! I hope the rest of her trip is much calmer.”

Thanks to Heather and her ‘can do’ attitude and obvious devotion to animals, we now have lovely Nina on board and on her way to be reunited with her owner in Axminsterβ€Ž.

In Gibraltar we collected beautiful puss Bella, who’s travelling all the way to Northern Ireland. She has a very friendly nature but her favourite activity is snuggling into her bed. Then in La Linea, next to Gibraltar, Betty the Border Terrier and Jack the French Bulldog joined us. Owner Camille has been working in Gibraltar’s growing online gambling industry, but is now returning to her native Essex with partner Kevin. Camille was worried that the dogs would be stressed by the journey, but they seem to be taking the whole experience in their stride.

Shih Tzus Honey and Lola are relocating to Dublin after living in Spain. They’re a lively pair of characters who keep a close eye on all the goings-on in and around our van, and have plenty to say about things. They certainly keep us on our toes!

Michael the Pekinese joined us near Almancil in Portugal. This lovely fluffy chap has a very regal air. There were tears in the house when we left, but everyone will soon be reunited in Weston-super-Mare.

Sofia (top) and Dragao (below)

Sofia (top) and Dragao (below)

Nina bidding Heather farewell.

Nina bidding Heather farewell

Snuggled-up Bella

Snuggled-up Bella

Betty β€” a blur of fur!

Betty β€” a blur of fur!

Jack seeming to enjoy having his portrait snapped

Jack seeming to enjoy having his portrait snapped

Cute Honey and Lola, getting a cuddle from courier Mike

Cute Honey and Lola, getting a cuddle from courier Mike

Super fluffy Michael

Super fluffy Michael