MG pet rescue to Alicante

MG ZT-T in Alicante

by practical-classics |
Published on

Team adventure

One ZT-T, two dogs, and some 3000 miles to cover – it is truly a mercy mission like no other


MG ZT-T in Alicante

It’s June and we’re at a 60th birthday celebration. A friend of ours tells me of the plight of some other friends and their broken down car. They have a bungalow just outside Alicante, Spain, which they frequent regularly and the couple, Michaela and Dave, have two dogs, Oscar and Murphy who always travel with them.

Anyway, I was told that Dave and Michaela’s car had failed on the return trip to the UK a few days before and it was pretty much terminal. So, Dave ended up flying home while Michaela and her dachshunds returned to San Miguel de Salinas, Alicante.

As with every trip abroad, there was insurance in place but sometimes it doesn’t quite cover every eventuality and I was told that getting Michaela back to the UK before she exceeded the 91-day European limit wasn’t necessarily an issue, however getting the dogs back could be problematic, expensive and could push Michaela out of the 91 days in 180 days limit.

It would then cost around £1100 to get the dogs repatriated by a professional animal mover. Well, anyone who knows me, knows I have a singular wit but when I said: ‘For £1100, I would put Michaela in the cage with the dogs and fetch them all back to the UK in my car and save you an air fare!’ I didn’t actually think it would happen.

And yet it soon turned into a plan and, just nine days later, an actual mission had been formulated (Michaela of course would not be caged!). Here was a rough outline of the plan… drive down to Alicante in Spain, pick up Michaela, Oscar and Murphy (the dogs) and drive back to the UK, simples! But who was going to help me? So I asked my daughter Maria if she could get a couple of days off work… when I said where we would be going and why, she was on the phone to organise time off.

The plan came together and at 7pm on Saturday June 24, we set off from Wolverhampton in our 2003 MG ZT-T, fully fuelled with diesel and loaded with snacks and drinks. After a brief stop at South Mimms on the M25, we arrived at the tunnel at 10.45pm and after buying a ‘UK’ sticker for the back of the car, we boarded the train. By 1.20am (local time) we were in France and heading southbound with me driving until around 4.30am.

At this point my eyes were ready to have the lids tested for pin holes and Maria took over, for what turned out to be her first time driving my MG ZT-T! Also her first time driving a diesel car and definitely her first time driving on European roads. Around 6am we pulled into the services – the first of many – near to Le Mans. Time for some fuel and a much-needed food break.

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