HogsDogs Express

Hi, my name is Vicky and for the past 6 years I have been working for a small educational UK charity in the Eastern Cape, South Africa that provides English and I.T. in remote villages in the Tyume Valley. I live with my two dogs in a small mountain top village close by called Hogsback. The work over the years has been for the most part rewarding, but rural life in South Africa can be very challenging – both from the natural environment and with people, particularly for a single female so far away from family and friends. This is one of the reasons I have decided to return to the UK in February 2019, with my furry family.

My story:

In 2013, following a break-in at my rented home, and with confirmation of extension to my contract at the end of the year, I decided I desperately needed some companionship, and security! Early the following year, I rescued a five-week-old street puppy from a nearby town and named her Reilly.

This was a new experience to me and a steep learning curve – having never had a puppy, or dog, or child, but it was very quickly unconditional love. She was extremely nervous for the first six months, jumping at anything and everything – sun, rain, the hoover, the washing machine, people, water etc. However, she finally settled down, we became inseparable and continues to be so.

After two very happy years together in our home, in January 2016 we were forced to find a new home a couple of kilometres away. Almost immediately after moving in we met a young male puppy about six months old living next door. He was malnourished, riddled with ticks, fleas and worms and had no human interaction as he was kept outdoors, often on a chain.

He learned very quickly that he knew where he’d be much better off, and one time when loose he dug a hole under the fence. From then on, he came to visit whenever we were home. Over the next nine months he and Reilly became like brother and sister - he’d be waiting outside our front door every morning for us to get up. I fed him and treated him for his ticks, fleas and worms, although trying to keep some emotional distance. However, that all went completely out of the window when just before Christmas in 2016 he was badly mauled by a neighbours Rottweiler and suffered some horrible injuries. I nursed him back to health and realised his relentless effort to adopt Reilly and I had finally worked, and the nickname I had used for him over the preceding months stuck – Boy!

Funding and Timeline:

Working for a charity does have some drawbacks – mostly financial. I only make enough income for daily living and need to raise the money to get my furry kids home with me. We are so attached I cannot entertain the thought of leaving them behind.

The funds are required in stages, to deal with the numerous different processes I need to go through. I am communicating with a local company (Paws & Claws) who will assist with all the travel arrangements for Reilly and Boy and they have sent me a quote. I’ve already had the dogs spayed/neutered and Microchipped, in anticipation of this epic journey eventually happening.

They need to be Rabies tested, ASAP (now!) to confirm they are clear to travel. This costs approx. £120.00 each and takes 3 months for the results to come back.

They also need to have tailor made travel crates paid for and made well in advance, so the dogs can get used to them. The crates and flights combined, for both dogs’ costs approx. £2,000.

Prior to flying there is a one-night stay at Paws & Claws, two vet consultations and half day spent in cargo for customs at a total of approx. £480.00. Paws & Claws also require a 15% deposit of the total bill once I’ve accepted their quote.

On arrival in the UK a fee of £500 is payable for UK Customs Clearance.

The final stage of the journey will be to get all three of us from London Heathrow Airport to the North East – a plan which has not yet been made, but I will keep you all updated!

Without my dogs, I have no doubt I would not have managed to live and work in Africa for as long as I have. They have been my friends, my family, my safety and my sanity and I cannot imagine a life without them.

I will be forever grateful to everyone who helps me make this possible and you are most welcome to come and visit us in the UK for a truly warm, fluffy HogsDog hug of huge appreciation.

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Vicky Riley 
Whitley Bay, North East England, United Kingdom

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