Four-legged holiday flirt: Tips for holidaymakers who want to give a stray a new home

  • Checklist for animals abroad
  • In love with your holiday dog ​​or cat, who can help –
    from quarantine to vaccination to culture shock for the animal

Hamburg. Holidays are the best time of the year: unwind, leave everyday life behind, enjoy the sun and the sea… and if a stray four-legged friend suddenly joins you on a walk on the beach, animal-friendly holidaymakers are quick to give the lonely dog ​​a new home. Or the little meowing kitten that rubs against your legs with hungry eyes. You feed your animal holiday acquaintance, spend time together and the holiday romance quickly turns into real love. But what will become of the new friend when the best days of the year are over? The thought of having to leave the pet behind without being looked after is a headache for many an animal lover on holiday.

Every year, countless holiday flirts arise between holidaymakers and local four-legged friends. Especially in the southern holiday countries, where many dogs and cats live as strays on the streets and fight their way through life on their own without an owner. As an animal lover, you are quickly faced with the decision of whether and how you can help your beloved animal.

But simply packing up and taking it home is not so easy. Animals that are to be brought to Germany from abroad must be vaccinated against rabies, marked with a microchip and have a pet passport. Otherwise, you risk the animal being confiscated by customs, sent back to its country of origin or even put down. The costs for this must be borne by the person who brought the animal into the country in contravention of the law. And that can be really expensive. It is even more difficult when it comes to countries that are not members of the European Union, in which case the animal may have to be quarantined for several months. EU legislation generally distinguishes between member states, listed third countries and non-listed third countries, for which there are different animal health regulations. The different regulations can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture and on the website of customs, or can be asked about from a veterinarian.

Even if you want to take your beloved four-legged friend home, you will usually need to find somewhere to stay. Animal boarding kennels are rare, and sometimes private individuals offer accommodation for a certain period of time for a small fee. The first step is to contact local animal welfare workers. You shouldn't expect too much – such calls for help come in every day and, despite all the best intentions, their ability to take in and care for animals is limited. Practical animal welfare abroad, such as in Germany, is very time-consuming and causes immense costs – food, veterinary care and staff must be financed. With luck and the willingness to cover the costs of taking in the animal, a place can be found locally.

If you want to bring your holiday fling home with you, you should think carefully in advance:

  • Are pets allowed at my place?
  • Do I have enough time to take care of the animal?
  • How high is the financial burden and do I have the option of finding alternative care for the animal when I go on vacation?
  • How do I organize the rabies vaccination, who will take care of the microchipping and who will issue the pet passport – this must be organized locally in the holiday country!
  • How can the transport of the animal be organized? If you bring the animal to Germany with a transport company, you need an association that has to register the animal with Traces NT. Otherwise you have to import it privately.
  • And last but not least – am I doing the animal a favor by taking it out of its familiar surroundings and bringing it into a new environment? Can it cope with the living conditions it finds with me? Animals that are used to being independent and looking after themselves often find it difficult or even impossible to cope with the tightly regulated life in our modern society. Animals also experience something like culture shock – if they don't manage to adapt, problems in living together are inevitable. Then there is a rude awakening from the beautiful holiday dream – for both sides.

About the Franziskus Animal Shelter
The concept of the Franziskus animal shelter is based on the idea that an animal shelter should be a meeting place for animal lovers. When designing the animal shelter, special attention was therefore paid to making the rooms as bright, friendly and attractive as possible. All cat rooms are connected to outdoor areas that allow the animals to make themselves comfortable in the sun. An essential part of the concept is the Pfötchencafé, which is located in the immediate vicinity of the outdoor cat aviaries, the tortoise enclosure and the wild animal station. Smaller events on the topic of “animals” take place here, visitors to the animal shelter can make themselves comfortable, and regular meetings of volunteers and employees take place there – as soon as Corona allows it, the outdoor areas will be open to visitors again. Thanks to the support of the many volunteers, each animal can be cared for individually and the dogs housed in the Franziskus animal shelter go for walks for up to three hours every day.