We finally locked up and left our Gloucester house at about 6:30am on the 5th of January.
We got to Heathrow at around 8:45am, where I managed to gain the services of a porter with a very large trolley. He helped Jon and I get the dogs onto the trolley while Heather watched the luggage. With all the pets in tow we managed to get to check-in, where they took us at the specialty desk. The porter from Heathrow was absolutely fantastic - he stayed with us for about 2 hours while we got everything sorted, and then allowed the baggage handlers to use his trolley.
Our pets attracted massive amounts of attention. I guess it's not too often you see pets at an airport, and even when you do it's not too often you see 2 giant-size dog crates. Children loved us.
After a mad rush through duty free to buy some xmas presents we headed to the gate. I checked with the desk clerk if the pets were on board (they were) and we boarded the plane.
We arrived in Canada at about 3pm yesterday (Wednesday). The pets were there at baggage claim as we came out. I managed to grab another porter and told him he needed their LARGEST trolley (as the one at Heathrow was barely large enough). Off he went for about 15 minutes to try and find one big enough.
To cut a long story short we had a very uneventful clearance through customs and managed to get the dogs into the van, and Heather and I got into her parent's car (after a 45 minute search of the car park due to forgetting where we had parked). The 401 (main highway out of Toronto) was packed at what was by now about 5:30pm, and to top it off there apparently was some sort of accident which caused absolute gridlock. We grew more and more concerned for the pets well being after we moved about 2 miles in an hour. The traffic did eventually clear, and we arrived back exhausted at about 7:30pm. The pets had already been taken into the house by Ken (Heather's brother) and Len (Heather's dad's friend), but were still in their cages (at our request). We let the dogs out, and carefully scheduled letting the cats out. The cats had all had small accidents - but nothing worse than you could possibly expect after 18 hours in a box.
This morning the dogs managed to find a small hole in the fence, escaping into the street. That caused a minor panic, but it's all sorted now.
All in all it has been very stressful few days (and weeks really) but I finally now feel we're on a path to settling it all down again. Just need to find a house to rent and we'll be fine.
Damn it's cold here!