I can’t take my pet with me – what do I do?

TNR Trust: Expat and Pets Awareness Week

Unfortunately there is an increasing trend amongst expats who simply abandon their cats and dogs once they leave Kenya. This is often because of a lack of planning, the pets being an inconvenience or the considerable exportation costs involved.


HOWEVER, sometimes an expat or expat family leaves their pet(s) due to genuine unforeseen circumstances. If this happens, what should you do? Which steps should you undertake?

What do I do if I can’t take my pet with me?

  • Start to look for a new home, ideally 6 months before you’re scheduled to leave Kenya. Email friends, post at vet clinics and “Adopt a Dog Nairobi”
  • Interview people thoroughly. Make sure they are serious about taking care of your pet and that they will be able to provide the same level of care you did.
  • Neuter/spay your pet so it can never be used in puppy/kitten mills. Beware of (online) buyers who pretend to be potential pet owners or ‘brokers’ who source pets on behalf of others.
  • At times arrangements fall through at the last minute, often with disastrous consequences for your pet. Try to have a backup adoption option.
  • DO NOT give your pet to your house staff. They may have taken care of him whilst you were around but they won’t have the money to continue the same level of care once you have gone. Often your pet will be abandoned, neglected or worse: abused.

Zola and Diego: abandoned with the gardener

Zola and Diego were tough-looking brothers with a heart of gold. Their owners suddenly had to move abroad and could not take them. When TNR Trust checked on the dogs, we found that the owners had left them with their gardener, thinking it was the best solution for the dogs.

The gardener had taken care of Zola and Diego whilst the owners were around, but because he didn’t have a job anymore, he had to move back to the countryside with his pregnant wife. He didn’t have a dog house for them, not enough money to feed them and to provide vet care (Diego was prone to skin rash), couldn’t afford transportation to get them to his new home and above all, he wasn’t sure how they would behave towards a newborn baby.

TNR Trust made an exception and came to the rescue

Usually TNR Trust does NOT take on dogs that expats cannot take home. But we made an exception for these 2 boys as one of our Trustees had known them ever since they were puppies.

Diego and Zola were taken into the care of TNR Trust and moved to a foster home where they could get used to human and dog company.

Socializing at the foster home
Socializing at the foster home

Volunteers fell head over heels for them: not only because they were beautiful Staffordshire crosses but also because they were so lovely and extremely intelligent. DIEGO was remarkably clever and very aware of his surroundings. He did have quite a high prey drive. ZOLA was a happy go-lucky boy and likes to go along with whatever Diego has planned.

So what happened with these 2 boys?

We eventually found a loving and nurturing home for them. This family had initially been wanting to adopt just 1 dog, but after they walked with both Zola and Diego, they saw how much these 2 siblings interacted and how much they were in sync (even when peeing!).

Diego and Zola at their new home. Luckily the family were happy to adopt both of them so we didn't need to separate them
Diego and Zola at their new home. Luckily the family were happy to adopt both of them so we didn’t need to separate them



Link to the TNR Flyer on Expat and Pets: click HERE

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