bringing an old dog across the atlantic

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Barked: Wed Jun 8, '11 12:11pm PST 
Last October my common-law partner and I became permanent residents of Canada. I am a citizen of Russia, and immigration to Canada is an exciting and long-awaited
step for me and my partner. However, months after receiving the
permanent resident status and taking our first steps in Vancouver
we are back to Moscow stuck with what looks
like an absurd logistics problem: I cannot find a way of bringing my
elderly dog across the Atlantic in a way that complies with my vets'
prescription, i.e. the dog must not be separated from me for the time
of the flight. Other than the separation anxiety that might trigger
heart issues in an old dog, my canine has no health restrictions that
would make the flight itself hazardous or inadvisable for him.

The dog is big (a German Shepherd) so flying him in cabin on a regular
passenger flight is out of question (we've checked that with more than
a dozen airlines). I am determined to move the
dog (there are two canines in our family, but it's the older one that
we're worried about in view of the flight)
overseas safely at all costs — or stay, if we don't find the way —
but for now I'm really stuck and a bit hopeless.

Our point of departure is flexible: we'll be most willing to cut the
costs and increase our chances
by bringing the dogs to any European airport by car, and getting to
Vancouver from pretty much any airport in North America by car as
well. All we need is to find a carrier that
would be willing to carry myself and my two dogs (crated or uncrated)
across the ocean in the same compartment of the plane.

Just to make myself clear, I am perfectly aware of the fact that
flying a dog under cabin on a regular passenger flight is relatively safe, and conditions in the compartment where kennels with dogs are kept for the flight are nearly the same as in the cabin where the passengers are. I need to fly together with my dog because it's the separation itself
that, according to the vets we've consulted with, poses a serious risk
to his health, and not the flight, nor the conditions in the pets' compartment under the cabin. And no, for the same heart-related concerns he cannot be sedated for the flight either.

It would be really helpful if you could share any success stories of big dogs flying across the Atlantic together with their owners. I just cannot believe there are no alternatives to flying under cabin! Any tips/suggestions/advice would be much appreciated.