Previously in my Pet Friendly post I explained how year after year the UK winter got me down. I needed some winter sun. However during the planning of the trip I crazily decided to get a dog for company. I wanted to be prepared for when my wife needed to return home. That would be for the sake of our two cats (but that’s another animal story).
So I bought a Chihuahua in April. Then I realised that would make my travelling so much more difficult! I’d need to consider my options. Instead of driving I decided to ‘let the train take the strain’ as the old advert said. Oh yes, and a ship would be involved for the Channel crossing.
After 6 journeys in the middle of December, the 3 of us had made it to Newhaven in Sussex in winter darkness. We survived an overnight stay in an Airbnb room with the softest bed ever before getting a bus to the ferry terminal.
When there wasn’t an opportunity for my dog to walk I’d decided I’d carry him on the journey in a pet carrier on my back. I bought the carrier before we left for when he got tired. Well it’s not his fault he’s got short legs! Also carriers are really handy when a shop won’t allow dogs inside. It was a boon when we were away from home. If he’s a well behaved dog, he won’t make a sound and no one knows except the 2 of you. Most people are quite unobservant and blinkered when they are out shopping!
Ferrying your pet
As a foot passenger you’ll travel by bus from the dour check-in hall at Newhaven. Reassuringly though, rather like myself it’s still living in the 1970s.
When they drop the passengers off the bus, it’s time to walk on to the ferry. On board ship, DFDS staff escort you and your canine to a metal cage on the car deck. It’s one cage per mutt and there are only two cages on board! Maybe most pets are confined to a car or a cabin?
There aren’t many foot passengers with animals on the crossing in December it would seem. Just the odd lunatic like me. My dog was the only animal on board on the outward and return journeys. At least there’d be no antagonism between animals.
If your pet howls and weeps when you leave them (well, that’s what it sounded like to me!) you have to grit your teeth and walk away leaving them to it. Again hopefully yours is better behaved. They won’t leave you thinking what a cruel and heartless human you really are. Will they?
On each trip there’s either a reception desk in use for passengers heading for Dieppe or one in use at the other end of the ship for those passengers heading for Newhaven. Which way the ferry is heading determines which desk they use.
When the trip’s nearly completed they make an announcement to let you know the ship’s docking. If you’re a foot passenger you go to the reception relevant to your disembarkation point. When the ferry has completed docking you are routed by a ferry company official back down to the location where you left your pet in the cage. There you are happily reunited. And finally you exit the ferry (with your furry friend).
Next time I’ll tell you more about our time in Dieppe.