2021 March, 17th

Baboso's Journey

Great story of one little puppy
from Ushuaia, Argentina
At the very start of this pandemic I found myself stuck at the end of the world, the very southern tip of South America, in a city called Ushuaia, Argentina. It became obvious that I would be stuck there for some time, and so my girlfriend and I decided that we needed a companion to help keep us sane!
Little Baboso in Ushiaia, Argentina. Summer 2020
In Ushuaia there is a lot of stray dogs, which are generally well cared for by the community and don't cause too many problems. But as we headed towards the long cold winter, we became aware of a puppy just starting out his life on the street. With temperatures down to minus 20, it would have been a miracle for him to survive out in the wild. We decided to adopt him, without any idea of who his parents were, what breed he actually is, or what had happened to him. A cute little puppy that we think is part German Shepard, part Labrador and part Husky, called Baboso (meaning slimy in Spanish, named after him first journey in a car!)

During the first month it was clear to see that he had been through some traumatic experience, he was terrified of everything! Other dogs, people and even the wind! Any time we took him for a walk, he would always look for something to hide under. We realized that we had to give him as many new experiences as possible to try and boost his confidence. Living on a yacht, in a busy sailing club he was often exposed to a lot of new people and new experiences, just sleeping on the boat during a storm was certainly an eye opener for him!
As lockdown restrictions eased in Argentina, and we were allowed to go the mountains, it was clear there must be some part of him that was Husky or a working dog (there are a few snow dog centres just outside of the city). He loved the snow! He would go and dive head first into it and roll around, then sprint downhill at full speed before becoming a doggy snowball!
By 5 months old, he was coming with us to the tops of the mountains and chasing us down on our skis. As long as we didn't spend too long standing still or pick routes that were too long, he would have the best days out on the mountain. As he got older and stronger, we took him camping with us in the snow, and he was even strong enough to start pulling us along on our skis (another sign there is some husky in him, he loves to pull!). Eventually, we were struggling to keep up with him on the descents!
Ushiaia, Argentina. Summer 2020
Eventually our dream of living down there in the wild mountains had to come to a close as we had to return to the UK to start work. And so began the process of trying to bring Baboso back to the UK… from the end of the world… during the pandemic.. how hard could it be?!

At first we wanted to avoid as many flights as possible to try not cause too much stress, so we made a plan with a friend who was from Buenas Aires, to do a road trip north in her campervan. We made all the vaccinations and certificates that we could down there and made plans to finish the certificates for international travel in B.A. We set off to leave the Island province of Tierra Del Fuego, to catch a ferry to cross to the mainland of Argetnina. This would be where we would encounter our first problem. To take the ferry you must past through a small section of Chile (around 50km), and I was told by the Argentine immigration officer at the boarder to enter Chile that if I enter Chile I won't be able to reenter Argentina because officially international tourism is closed. Despite having lived there for a year and only wanting to pass to the rest of the country!? There was no arguing, and that was that. On to plan B.
So it was clear now I must take a flight the Buenas Aires and then fly to London. Easy right? Wrong. To find the right antiparasitic treatment that would allow him to fly was nearlyimpossible! We had to have it delivered to Ushuaia specially from a vet in the capital. The office of Agriculture in Ushuaia had never dealt with completing a international travel certificate for a dog before, which took a few attempts to get right! But eventually, everything was organized for the Argentine section of travel.
Now the easy part, book Baboso onto the same flight as me a travel to London….right? Wrong. The UK has put a stop to taking your put as check in luggage and they must arrive to the UK through a freight company, which sounds reasonable enough. Until you find that the price for this from Argentina to the UK is $4000 USD! Compare that with the 200GBP it would cost as luggage, something we were not expecting!
Ushiaia, Argentina. Summer 2020
So time to think outside of the box. France still allows pets to arrive as check in luggage, whilst it's not quite home, Paris is definitely a step in the right direction! And there are many options of trains, ferries and taxis to get across the channel. But the critical part was now doing all of this within the 72 hours of my PCR test. This really was one of the biggest logistical headaches I have ever had! If just one flight was delayed by 2 hours my test would be invalid and who knows what would have happened!

Whilst in Argentina, we struggled to find him a dog food that he really liked. There were a few good quality brands, but we often had to trick him into eating it by mixing it with chicken broth and rice. And after the stress of flying, he understandably didn't have much of an appetite for a few days, and started to become quite skinny. Even trying to ply him with chicken, rice and pumpkin he was still reluctant! Luckily when I came to Portsmouth, I met with Maria, Afanasy and their puppy India. They gave us some Husse dry food for Baboso to try, and I've never seen him eat pellets so quickly! I think he could really taste the quality of the ingredients, being such a fussy dog he wouldn't accept anything less!

Oliver Grant
Baboso's owner
Now after 1 month of eating Husse Pro Valp, his weight is back to normal with a really healthy shiny coat. I believe that its really helped him through his last stages of changing from a puppy to an adult, now being 1 year and 1 month old he never looked healthier!
Have you ever traveled with pets?
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