Dog Travels 10,000 Miles to Reunite With Her Family After Being Separated During COVID

September 2, 2020
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    Reunited at last!

    After being separated from her family due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pipsqueak had to travel more than 10,000 to get back to them.

    The weiner dog was stranded in South Carolina during the onset of the pandemic after her owners were forced to abandon their worldwide sailing adventure and fly home to Australia, CNN notes.

    Since Australia had very strict pet import rules, they flew the pup to stay with a friend in South Carolina for what they assumed was a few weeks.

    Little did they know, Pip would be stranded in the United States for roughly five months as the pandemic took on a life of its own.

    Several people took care of Pip including Ellen Steinberg of Hillsborough, North Carolina, who responded to an ad from the family friend after she could no longer take care of the pup.

    "I heard that a family who were living on a boat abandoned their dog and flew back to Australia and immediately formed impressions about who these people were," she said.

    However, she soon realized Zoe and her family were doing everything to safely bring their four-legged friend home.

    Zoe spent every single day dealing with endless paperwork to secure Pip transport. While the process is difficult and lengthy to begin with, it was exacerbated by the pandemic.

    "To export a dog from America, you need to get a US declaration to say the dog is in good health and has had particular blood tests to do with rabies," Zoe explained to the publication.

    "This was being done in New York, which was now closed. So trying to get anything like that done was extremely difficult."

    With the U.S travel bans in place, it became clear Pip would have to make the journey to Australia alone. However, they ran into a few hiccups including Qantas, the Australian airline, announcing it would no longer transport dogs and many airlines refusing to put pets in cargo during the warm summer months.

    Eventually, Zoe found a solution that would take Pip from Los Angeles to New Zealand via a pet transportation company called Jetpets.

    But first, she needed to get Pip to LA, which is where Melissa Young of the dog rescue foundation The Sparky Foundation came into play. She responded to a Facebook ad and delivered Pip safely to LA.

    On July 23, Pip made it to Auckland where she quarantined overnight and then hopped on a flight to Melbourne, where she had to do a mandatory 10-day quarantine.

    She was scheduled for a flight to Sydney on August 3 when the state of Victoria imposed a strict lockdown.

    By this point, Pip’s extraordinary adventure gained press traction and Virgin Australia stepped in to get her home safely.

    The dachshund finally arrived in Sydney and was welcomed not only by her humans but also a media crew.

    Since five months had passed since she saw the Eilbecks, the family worried that she wouldn’t remember them, but when she walked out, she “came barrelling” into their arms.

    "I'm conscious that she's a dog, but we think of ourselves as a bit of a crew," says Zoe.

    "Living on a boat you really have to work together. And even though she just lazed about and didn't really do anything, we still consider her a member of our crew."

    The family has kept in touch with everyone who took care of Pip during a “pretty horrific time in the world for most people.”

    If you want to keep up with the world-traveling pup, you can follow the family’s Instagram account.

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