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Moving House With Dogs

Posted on 5th September 2018 by Master Removers

We’ve addressed some of the complications and demands of moving house with cats. But what about dogs? Shouldn’t it simply be possible to take the cat information and just apply it to canines? Unfortunately, not. They couldn’t be more different in terms of the way they adapt and cope with unexpected change (and let’s not forget that with cats and dogs, it’s always unexpected, since they can’t really be apprised of your moving plans in any meaningful way). While some of the intricacies of moving with cats, such as keeping them indoors for a considerable stretch of days, are not required for dogs, dogs have their own set of issues and requirements and it’s more complicated than simply ushering them into a car and driving them to the new home. Dogs are sensitive and emotional and there are several things you can do to help them have a less stressful moving experience. Let’s take a closer look. Here’s our Master Remover guide to moving house with dogs.


Moving To A New House With A Dog

It’s not just you who can find new situations and changes stressful. Your dog(s) is the same. That’s why forward-planning is so vital. Moving house is never an easy time. As well as your own concerns, you may worry that your dog won’t adapt to the new environment and could wander off and even end up lost. Some owners worry that if they’re not moving a great distance, their dog could try to find the old home. The good news is that all it takes is a little forethought and you and your dog can move house smoothly and seamlessly. Just bear in mind that as you prepare for your move, your dog will be thrown into uncertainty. While you’re packing up, your dog’s routine will be affected and as each room fills up with cardboard boxes, even their territory will change shape before their eyes. Everything they’ve ever been familiar with will be thrown into a state of flux. For this reason, some people board their dogs with kennels while the packing-up process is under way. Then, once they’ve settled into the new home, they collect their dogs and start afresh. If you’re going with the boarding house/kennels option, then just remember to have your dog’s vaccinations and worming up to date.

If you’re keeping your dog with you, then, on the morning of the move, put your dog in one room with all doors and windows closed (don’t forget to tell removals personnel which room is your dog’s room so they leave it alone). Feed your dog as you usually would, but not too close to the actual time at which it will be transported to the new home (just in case it gets travel-sick).


How To Settle A Dog Into A New House

When you reach the new home, keep your dog securely in one room with some familiar toys and a bed, plus water. As before, keep the doors and windows to this room closed. Now, you can get on with unpacking. You can also make sure your dog has something that smells of you, for reassurance. During the day, give your dog some exercise. That evening, let your dog explore the new home and, if applicable, the garden (assuming the garden is secure). Accompany your dog throughout this experience.


Dog Anxiety After Moving

The alien sights and smells of your new home can leave your dog feeling insecure. You can help your dog to scent the new home by taking a cotton cloth, rubbing it on your dog’s face and then rubbing the cloth on various objects or sections of wall that are roughly the same height as your dog. Do this for several days to help build up a ‘scent profile’ for your dog. Your vet can also supply you with manufactured scents that can be used for the same purpose. If your dog is particularly nervy and restless, then keep him/her in a cage at night, surrounded by familiar belongings, including something that smells of you, like an old sweater.  

Build up a routine, such as the one you had at your old home, so that your dog gets into the swing of eating and exercising at the same times every day. If your dog is agitated and stressed, then begin by giving smaller meals at more frequent times of day, so that you and your dog are having contact more often. This will also diminish any worry your dog has about when it’s going to get something to eat.

In Part 2, we will be looking at taking your dog outside and also how to prevent your dog looking for its old home

Moving House With Cats

Posted on 16th August 2018 by Master Removers

We think of moving house with children as being potentially complicated and fraught with additional challenges. But sometimes we forget that at least with children, there’s the possibility of being able to talk to them and have them understand the process. How different that becomes when animals enter the picture. Science still hasn’t devised a way to make inter-species verbal communication possible, so we’re left to guess what it is our pets are trying to say to us. And there’s no way of involving them in the moving process so that they feel less intimidated by it. Cats, those flighty, mysterious, semi-self-sufficient animals, are particularly prone to being annoyed by a house-move. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to smooth things over and keep them sweet. Here’s our Master Remover guide to relocating with your feline companions.


Can You Move House With A Cat?

Cats derive a lot of their sense of security from being in familiar territory. The sights, sounds and smells of their own surroundings help them relax and maintain a cheerful outlook on life. Consequently, moving house can really upend them, leaving them nervy, agitated, cross and even frightened. They may also pick up on the stress that you’re going through as you get ready to move. The secret is a bit of foreword planning.

On the day of the move, you have the option either of taking your cats with you or keeping them temporarily at a local cattery. Every cat has its own foibles, and you may be able to get a sense of which option is going to suit you both best. If you opt for the cattery, then it needs to be arranged well in advance in case your cat’s vaccinations have expired and new ones need to be organised. On the upside, you won’t have to fret about your cats on moving day and can simply get on with your move as if it were a normal one (assuming any move can really be described as ‘normal’).

But, yes, the answer is that you certainly can move with your cat present, although there are things you need to bear in mind. The first thing to do is choose a room in your existing home. Clear all the furniture from it a fortnight before the move. Meanwhile, choose a room in your new house where you cat can stay on arrival. If you can, pick out-of-the-way rooms which allow your cat to be left without disturbance. Around a week before you leave, help your cat get used to their room. Bring a litter tray, sleeping area, blanket and cat carrier into the room. Feed them in that room, too, all the while building up their familiarity with it. The night before moving day, bring the scratching post, water bowl and all toys into the room and then lock your cat in there. If you’re dealing with multiple cats, and they don’t get on with each other, you will need to allocate additional rooms for them and repeat the same steps. Any anxiety on your cats’ part can be stilled by using synthetic pheromones available from the vet


Day of the Move

If you’re pursuing the cattery option, get your fur baby installed at the cattery the day before, so that it’s not distressed by any moving-day chaos. If you’re keeping it with you, it should stay in its special room with something to eat, water, a fresh litter tray and a firmly closed door. Once it’s time to set out, the cat should go into its carrier and into a car with all its toys and belongings in attendance. You could spray the carry device with more of the pheremones a few minutes prior to putting the cat inside. Some cats are bad travellers and have a tendency to throw up. If yours is in this category, then don’t feed it during the four hours before the journey.

At the new property, take your cat to its new special room and set it up much like the one at the old property. You could also consider leaving in the room a piece of your worn clothing or something that contains traces of your smell. This can have a pacifying effect. Leave something to eat, and, of course, the litter tray and all the toys, and then lock the door behind you. Make sure all removals personnel know not to disturb the room.


How Long Should You Keep Your Cat In After Moving House?

Your cat should stay in its own room for several days. If a cat has the run of the property straight away, it can be daunting for them. Cats have their ways of letting you know when they’re ready to roam further, so look out for signs. Once you let your cat explore further, make sure you still keep windows, doors and any cat-flaps closed. It’s still not time to let them outside. Also, make sure they always have access to their special room, where they can retreat when things get too much. Keeping your cat inside is vital at this point. Cats who get outside too early have a greater likelihood of going missing. They can sometimes even find their way back to their old properties. So the rule of thumb is three weeks minimum of being kept inside. By that time, they’ve built up a sense of the scents, sights and sounds and will regard the new home as theirs.

When you finally let your cat out, do it just before breakfast or dinner. That way, your cat is hungry and will gravitate back towards the home. Step outside with your cat and let it explore, leaving the door back into the home open. Give your cat just a short excursion the first few times. And, of course, make sure your cat is microchipped before any of this occurs, ensuing that your name/address details have been updated on the microchip database.


Do You Put Butter On Cats’ Paws?

No – this is not strictly necessary and nor is it advised (or warned against) by the Cats Protection charity.


Do Cats Come Back If They Run Away?

Sometimes, yes. But it’s better to guard against this possibility by observing the steps mentioned under the ‘Day of the Move’ heading.


Posted on 25th April 2018 by Master Removers

Many of us dream of moving to Wiltshire, that idyllic county with so much to offer, from quaint, honey-coloured villages to energetic towns like Salisbury. But, as with almost any move, sometimes the very thought of all that labour is daunting, if not completely off-putting. So it’s worth remembering just how much harder the original Wiltshire removals job – the one that’s gone down in the annals of British history as the very hardest of all time – must have been. We can thank our lucky stars we don’t have to move standing stones weighting 25 tons, and all of a sudden, the requirements of our house-move seem remarkably petite and the whole undertaking eminently do-able. So just how did they manage it, on that fateful occasion somewhere between 3000 and 2000 BC? Of course, there are competing theories, some more plausible than others, some fiercely opposed by historians, others given their seal of approval. It seems hard to imagine that such an astonishing removals job could ever have been achieved prior to the invention of automatic machines and the harnessing of electricity, but achieved it was. Here’s the Master Removers guide to Stonehenge.

Stonehenge has always been a source of wondrous bafflement to scientists and laypeople alike. How on earth could such vast and heavy objects have been dragged across an undulating landscape, all the way from Pembrokeshire to Wiltshire, by neolithic man? Just ask anyone – that journey was hard enough by car prior to the 1980s.

One theory has it that something akin to a wooden sleigh was used, and that each one-ton stone would have required around ten people, moving at about one mile an hour. The scientists behind this theory have proposed the possibility that each of the Stonehenge stones would have then needed around twenty people for its assembly (something worth bearing in mind the next time you’re tearing your hair out over some flat-pack furniture).

What cannot be disputed is that Stonehenge was an absolute masterclass of engineering skill. And before the main moving job could even take place, a lot of preparatory work had to be done. First of all, ditches were dug using antler tools and then inner and outer banks made of piled-up chalk were created. But it’s the transporting of the stones that has always been the main source of awe and amazement to visitors. Three types of stone were used – the larger ‘sarsen’ stones, the more slender ‘bluestones’, and red sandstone. The first is a kind of sandstone and archaeologists tend to agree that it came from the Marlborough Downs, twenty miles away. The largest of these, known as the Heel Stone, weighed around 30 tons.

And although the bluestones were smaller, they had further to go, starting their journey in Wales. Because of the astonishing amount of industry involved in humans moving unfeasibly heavy objects over 250 kilometres of land, it has sometimes been theorised that the bluestones were moved, not by human hand, but by the natural movement of glaciers. Most archaeologists, however, argue for two other possibilities – that the stones were moved by some form of haulage (as with the wooden sleigh theory) or via water networks.

The Altar Stone was made from red sandstone, deriving from the Sunni Beds – a geological formation in Southern Wales.

Of course, no moving job is over just because the items have reached their destination. There’s usually a long unpacking process when our lorry pulls up at our new home. This was very much the case at Stonehenge, because the stones required a shaping process prior to their erection. Hammerstones made of flint and sarsen were used to chip away at the rough stones and then smooth the surfaces. And just as some removals personnel are more conscientious than others, a recent laser analysis of the stones has revealed that some of the stones were smoothed and finished to a much higher standard than others, especially those at the north-east end.

To get the stones ready for the elevating process, lintels, mortice holes and tenons were made. To raise the stones, large holes were dug, with wooden stakes implanted within. The hauling process used ropes made of plant fibre and A-frames.

It’s widely believed that the stone circles were an ancient way of determining the shifting of the seasons or a form of clock, catching the sun and casting shadows that indicated the time of day and year. How lucky for the ancients that they didn’t have the concept of British Summer Time – just imagine their fatigue and irritation if they’d had to move the stones back and forth two times a year.

Great Removers of History: Hannibal Crosses the Alps with Elephants

Posted on 2nd August 2017 by Master Removers

In the year 218 BC a young soldier named Hannibal Barca came up with a plan to destroy his hated enemies – the Romans – by leading a surprise invasion of Italy. The plan had only one drawback: it was completely nuts.

Here’s the story.

The Roman Republic (before it became the mighty Roman Empire) had for some years been engaged in a battle with Carthage, a city state located in what is now Tunisia and with territories extending across North Africa and southern Spain.

These wars – known as the First and Second Punic Wars –  would probably be virtually forgotten today, were it not for the extraordinary actions of the Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca.

Hannibal came to believe that the only way to win was to invade Italy and vanquish the Romans in their own lands. Since Rome had complete mastery of the Mediterranean Sea and a direct crossing was out of the question, Hannibal came up with a strategy to lead his army along the North African coast, all the way through modern-day Spain, across what is now southern France, and then launch a surprise land attack on Rome from the north.

Hannibal’s route of invasion. [Credit


Transporting tens of thousands of cavalry and infantry, thousands of horses and a herd of 37 African battle-elephants across the formidable heights of the Alps would of course be impossible. But Hannibal would have to do at least four impossible things before he even got to the Alps.

Nonetheless, he did them. Which is why Hannibal is rightly revered as possibly the greatest removal man in the history of the world. He faced a logistical nightmare of gargantuan proportions, and he triumphed. This is how…


Impossible feat 1: Gathering an army

It’s no simple matter to get together a horde of 90,000 heavy infantry and 12,000 cavalry from a varied collection of African and Iberian nations, feed them, fund them and persuade them to accompany you on an impossible mission. Hannibal managed it by sacking the city of Sagantum (near modern-day Valencia), stealing its treasure, selling its inhabitants into slavery and using the proceeds to build his mega-army. He then gave everyone the winter off to build up morale.


Impossible feat 2: Marching through the Pyrenees

One can only imagine the difficulties merely in moving such a vast army – including the famous 37 elephants –  from any point A to point B with 218 BC methods of transport and communication. Hannibal had to take his army across Iberia and through the Pyrenees, defeating no fewer than four warlike tribes and conquering an unspecified number of cities on the way. The trek took two months and cost 13,000 of his men – and he’d barely got into France yet.

  ‘Hannibal Barca crossing the Rhône’ by Henri Motte, 1878


Impossible feat 3: Crossing the Rhone under enemy fire

The next big obstacle was the wide, bridge-less river Rhone – at the other side of which waited a ferocious tribe of Roman-backed Gauls called the Volcae. Hannibal was now faced with floating all his men and beasts across the water straight into the jaws of a jeering, bloodthirsty enemy.

His solution has become a textbook example of military logistics. Borrowing boats, canoes and other materials from some handy nearby Celts, Hannibal made a big noisy show of building a flotilla of vessels on the eastern bank, as the Volcae watched on from the west.

Meanwhile under cover of darkness he secretly dispatched a column to travel 25 miles upriver and cross far to the north of the Volcae. These troops then snuck down the eastern bank and  – just as Hannibal began crossing with the main army – they descended on the horrified Vulcae’s rear and chopped them to bits, allowing Hannibal to disembark in perfect safety. (The operation had taken 5 days of planning but the battle was over in minutes. And it’s believed that nearly all the 37 elephants managed to swim the river.)


Impossible feat 4: Fighting virtually everybody with an ever-dwindling force

And still Hannibal hadn’t even made it to the Alps. Now he had to march another 80 or so miles across land swarming with hostile tribes before winter came to the mountains.

Hurrying along, he fended off a battalion of Romans, then got involved in a separate war that was going on between two tribes of Gauls. With typical cunning he used it to his advantage. He joined forces with the stronger tribe, helped them win and was repaid with supplies and diplomatic protection, which was enough to get his increasingly exhausted army to the foot of the Alps.


Impossible feat 5: Ascending the Alps, pursued by Barbarians

Over the years, various people have attempted to recreate Hannibal’s adventures by taking elephants from zoos and so on over the Alps. None have found it easy – and they didn’t have to contend with angry Barbarians armed with sharp bits of metal. Hannibal did, twice. The first lot were called the Allobroges. Hannibal made fake campfires to entice the Allobroges out of their fortifications, then slaughtered them with slings and arrows.

The next lot of Barbarians, called the Centrones, were trickier. They initially befriended Hannibal and offered to guide him across the mountains, but once they got to a narrow pass they sprung an ambush. But again, Hannibal was too smart. Suspecting the Centrones of duplicity, he put his strongest forces in the rearguard of the train, held back from entering the pass and forced the Barbarians to fight – and die –  in the valley.

Hannibal crosses the Alps’ by Heinrich Leutemann, 1866 



Impossible feat 6: Getting down the other side

The exact route Hannibal took through the Alps is still much-disputed by historians, even though it is of little real historical importance. But we do know that his army and baggage was by now much diminished, and his 25,000 or so remaining men, accustomed to the warm climes of Africa and the south, were not much enjoying the Alpine snows.

And the most demanding terrain was to come: the Italian side of the Alps is much steeper than the French, so the descent would be hellish. Once again (according to one account), Hannibal pulled a masterstroke: he gathered his weary troops and, showing them the spreading downlands of Italy and pointing towards Rome, he delivered one last rousing speech, giving them the inspiration they needed for the final push.

They would need it – the paths down the Alps were unsuited to mules, never mind elephants, and were devastated by landslides to boot. Several times the army had to stop and retrace its steps, or spend days rebuilding pathways.

But, after five months, a thousand miles, innumerable hardships and at the cost of some 68,000 men (and a lot of mules and elephants), Hannibal led his army down to the Po Valley and into Italy. Which leaves the question…


…Was it all worth it?

Probably not, in the long run. True, Hannibal established a base in Italy, won a succession of famous battles and successfully harassed and harried the Romans for 15 years. But he never managed to get to Rome itself, and in the end he was defeated, Carthage was razed to the ground and Hannibal died in his mid-60s, possibly after poisoning himself to avoid capture and humiliation by his enemies. And Rome, of course, became a mighty Empire.

But despite all that, when it comes to achieving an impossible logistical task with ingenuity, determination and calmness under pressure, there’s never been anyone to touch Hannibal Barca – the original Master Remover.

A marble bust found in Capua, reputedly of Hannibal.


What makes a Master Remover? Find out here…