A French water dog from England with Germans in Croatia – Nicola Oellrich

A year ago, we decided to expand our pack and a acquire a second Barbet. It was not easy to decide from which litter we would want a dog. When choosing, it was important to us that our future dog would have just as much drive as our first Barbet Bluna du Bois des Buis. Also this time it should be a black dog, preferably with white markings.

8 weeks old

In various visits to the Netherlands and to Switzerland, we met descendants of the English-bred male Novaforesta Dudley and really liked their temperament. We heard that the stud would be used for the last time by the breeder Wendy Preston in her kennel and so we got into contact with her. The female dog was supposed to be Reed’s Fowling Alexia, daughter of Quaciëndas Alex Gauche Unique, who is also an ancestor of Bluna. Mid February 2015 five females and a male were born and so my hopes rose that one of the girls could be for us.

Five weeks later I flew to Britain for a short weekend’s visit to see the puppies and to discuss my plans with the breeder. I was the only one who was interested in showing the dog at dog shows and maybe breeding, so Wendy was choosing a girl for me, whose physique and expression was the best. After two weeks I got the OK, that I could get Novaforesta Lily of the Valley (called Pepsi).

9 weeks old

Now the planning began. The earliest date that Pepsi was allowed to be exported from the UK was 11 April. However, it was only possible to export her into countries that still allow young dogs that have not yet been vaccinated against rabies to be imported, if they own a pet passport and the vet signs a paper that the dog is healthy. Croatia is one of the few countries in the EU that gives permission.

As we wanted to spend the Easter holidays with our families in Northern Germany anyway, we decided that I would make a small detour on our way back to Zagreb. I booked a flight for Saturday evening, 11 April from Leipzig to London and from there a direct flight to Zagreb for the following morning, on which I would take Pepsi.

puppy training class

In the morning before departure, Wendy sent me a message that the vet in the UK was not willing to issue a pet passport, if she would not get a written document by the government of Croatia saying that Pepsi is allowed to enter the country. She would not accept any general document that I had submitted in advance, because the dog was neither mentioned by name nor was the chip number noted down. Nervously, I sat by the phone and called several authorities in Croatia who each refered me to another office. The authorities were a bit puzzled, because on the official website there is a declaration in Croatian and English that in Croatia, the ”12-week regulation” is still valid, so that an entry permit is not necessary for dogs. At the tenth (it felt like the hundredth) phone call we finally succeeded and spoke with a dog enthusiastic associate of the Department of Agriculture, who sent a detailed e-mail to the British vet.

at elementary school

The next day we went on our way, which meant a long sleepless night for me at Heathrow Airport. The next morning at 8 o’ clock, Wendy and her husband Julian arrived with Pepsi at the airport and so the adventure could continue.

Pepsi had to be taken through security in an approved pet-carrier. Having passed security, we were accompanied by a security officer of the airport and brought into a separate room where the pet-carrier was examined. After that we awaited our departure in a quiet corner of the airport and Pepsi fell asleep at once on her blanket.

14 weeks old

Luckily, the seats next to me on the plane were empty and I could put the bag with Pepsi beside me on the seat during the flight. We were all glad when we were all united in Zagreb at the airport again.

Pepsi grows and prospers, we go to a puppy training class in our local dog school. The dogs are socialized and we learn focussing, sit, stay, stand. I could take Pepsi to my school a couple of times and we hope that she can continue to be used as a school dog.
We hope that Pepsi continues to develop well and that we can soon present her at dog shows in order to make the Barbet better known.

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