HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Helping pet owners move their four-legged friends to the mainland or overseas was tough before the pandemic.
Now, everything is more complicated — and price tags have gone up, too.
“This has been the most difficult year of ever moving pets,” said Kari Mendoza, who owns Island Pet Movers.
Island Pet Movers coordinated flights for 2,500 families this year and Mendoza describes a logistical headache because of lack of flights, limited cargo space and changing regulations.
“We’ve had clients waiting six to seven months without their pets,” said Mendoza.
There’s also skyrocketing costs.
“We are seeing families take out small loans in order to move their pets with them because the logistics that are involved are very expensive often involving two or three separate airline tickets,” she said.
Island Pet Movers also started chartering cargo planes to Guam, which has no pet transport in or out and this caused prices to spike from $900 to $5,000 per pet.
“The numbers are absolutely staggering,” she said.
Alina McNally is on route moving from London to Hawaii, but says her pets Henry, Finn and Yuki will have to come later. “Now I can’t get my pets from the UK to Hawaii. All the cargo companies are not accepting pets because they need the refrigerated units for the vaccine,” McNally said.
Mendoza says it’s difficult for pet owners to leave their animals behind, but the reunions are best part of the job. “We are driving down the street and they are so happy. There’s tears of joy,” she said.