There are so many options to choose from when going on a luxury holiday, but what happens if you want to take your beloved dog or cat on a yacht trip around the world with you? A nice and pleasant adventure for the both of you can easily turn into a nightmare as every country has its own laws and strict rules when it comes to permitting animals to travel and letting them into the country. Estate & Manor Magazine have spoken to Siobhan Brade, the Director and veterinary surgeon at Superyacht Veterinary Services (SVS) – a bespoke service for frequently travelling pets.
“Pets are part of the family and often the worst part of going away is leaving them behind. Your dog or cat can come with you, so why leave them behind? Ultimately, having a beloved pet with you is going to enhance the experience for everyone involved. Also, many people using our services travel for a large portion of the year, and if they left their dog (or cat) behind, it would have a significant impact on the lives of both the dog and the owner”, explains Siobhan.
People most commonly use Superyacht Veterinary Services when they are travelling with pets frequently, from place to place, and want to have the peace of mind that their pet will be able to accompany them whenever they go, without any unforeseen problems, delays on arrival or denied entries. A country’s regulations for pet entry are designed for pets making a single journey from one place to another; whilst the rules do not tend to cater for a pet travelling between multiple countries in a short space of time. In order to navigate the paperwork and request special permissions for entry, expert guidance is needed, which is where SVS steps in. Missing just one item on a country’s list of requirements can result in the animal being denied entry for up to a year, and with paperwork often being complex, frequently changing, and difficult for the lay person to understand, SVS takes away the time and stress associated with taking your pet with you.
Superyacht Veterinary Service also provides owners with veterinary support and continuity of care, something that is often lost when the animal is not based in one place for a long period of time. SVS get to know the pet, and can provide remote (and direct) assistance to the owners, crew, and local vets. Siobhan provides guidance about illnesses pets may be exposed to when abroad, how to prevent them getting sick, and can even provide first aid training.
Siobhan pointed out that travelling on superyachts often means visiting beautiful but remote locations. SVS can supply information about veterinary care, the location of local clinics and even provide onboard veterinary assistance, however there may be some situations where a boat may be far from help, which is where veterinary first aid becomes important. Nobody likes to think about their animal being unwell, but having first aid knowledge can help give peace of mind when out cruising. SVS can provide training for crew and staff members, so that if it is needed, the animal’s carer is able to help them and report the situation to a vet accurately, ensuring the safety of the four-legged members of the vessels. Although named Superyacht Veterinary Service, it is not exclusively for pets aboard superyachts. Animals travelling with their owners either by private or commercial aircraft also benefit from the expertise of Superyacht Veterinary Service. “By creating SVS, I wanted to ensure that bringing your pet with you was a smooth and stress-free experience”, explains Siobhan. She told us that the main challenge is staying one step ahead of the frequently changing schedules of superyachts, and frequently changing legislation of countries and territories. However, this is something SVS both enjoys and is well prepared for, and pride themselves on always providing the high level of service and support expected by the clients.
Surprisingly, cats sometimes become frequent travelers and turn into real ‘salty dogs’. Doctor Brade has seen many cats on board that ‘belong to the boat’. The boat is the cat’s home – either they belong to the captain, to owners who are spending prolonged periods aboard, or have been adopted by the crew. Siobhan says that some cats, especially exotic breeds, have different personalities from the ‘classic cat’, and adapt very happily and easily to any new environment. She also sees cats who love the owner more than the environment, and will settle wherever their owner is! However, it is still more common for a dog to accompany their owner on a trip:
“The superyacht environment is often perfect for a dog; they have the continuity of environment aboard the vessel, but the excitement of new places when going ashore. We advise on any changes that can be made to the vessel before the dog or cat comes aboard, to make their stay more comfortable. Whilst every animal is different, whether or not they are suited to travelling is something we discuss at the start of planning”, says Siobhan.
Doctor Brade also kindly told us about the SVS team, which we consider to be amazing and would love to meet one day: “Starla is one of the prettiest, sweetest (but also stupidest) border collies in the world. She has a thousand nicknames, an obsession with socks and is an excellent running partner. I have had her since the day she was born (as her mother sadly died), so she was hand-reared by us, and is very much a member of the family. She is a red collie, fondly known by us as ‘Neopolitan dog’ (after the ice-cream), because of her brown coat, white patches, and pink tongue. 11 years old now, and other than missing a few teeth, she is pretty perfect. The SVS extended family includes Alba, who is based in NZ with my sister, she is a beautiful but naughty spaniel who likes spotting superyachts down in Auckland Viaduct; the rest of the Isle of Wight crew include Sooty, a slightly needy crossbreed; Sadie, an aged miniature dachshund; Rex, a retired working collie whose hobbies include rounding the other animals up; and Sven, a good-looking but standoffish cat.
The SVS menagerie spend most of their time on the sunny Isle of Wight. That said, they have their passports and are ready to go, should they want travel!”
To find out more about the bespoke services Siobhan and her team provide, visit SVS website: http://www.superyachtvet.com/