Animals

Dog Travels 10,000 Miles To Be Reunited With His Family

When his family was forced to leave him behind during the pandemic, they overcame every obstacle to get him home.


Even though it hasn't been that long, it's difficult to remember what the world looked like before the coronavirus pandemic. While some areas of the country are almost entirely open, others are still experiencing restrictions.

A family that soon won't forget this stressful time is the Eilbeck family, who were forced to leave their loyal dachshund pup Pipsqueak behind in the United States when their four-year, round-the-world sailing trip was cut short in March.

The Eilbecks adopted the dog when they were docked in Sicily, Italy, and the dog quickly made himself at home on board their 40-foot yacht. When they heard the virus was spreading and that borders were closing as a result, the family decided to dock their boat in South Carolina and fly back home to their home base in Australia.

The Eilbecks docked their sailboat in Hilton Head, SC when they heard the borders were closing due to Covid-19. @noplans.justoptions

However, due to Australia's super strict border regulations, they had to leave Pip behind with a family friend. The Eilbecks figured they would just fly back in a few weeks once they completed the necessary paperwork and take him home.

After that, Pip was passed around from one foster home to the next, including a stay on a bison farm.

"Pip went from living on a sailboat to living on a bison farm," Zoe Eilbeck, the matriarch of the group, told CNN. "That's something that really tickles me."

When the Eilbecks realized they weren't going to be able to make it back to the states to pick up the dog, they made arrangements for him to travel to Australia solo – which, it turned out, was just as stressful and arduous as it sounds.

The family worked with the foster families to get Pip to the vet for all of the blood work, paperwork and vaccinations in order to make the trip. Then came the flight logistics. After posting on social media, Zoe Eilbecks got in touch with a volunteer from a dog rescue foundation who agreed to fly with the pup from Greensboro, SC, to Los Angeles.

From there, the volunteer handed Pip over to Jetpets, an animal transport service, who prepared the pup for his journey across the Pacific to Auckland, New Zealand, which was the closest the Eilbecks could get the dog due to border closings in Australia.

By this point, the local media had picked up the story and Eilbeks and Pip's handlers shared updates on their social media accounts as Pip completed each leg of his journey.

"All over the world, we're watching this flight inch across the screen," Zoe said.

When Pip finally arrived at the Sydney Airport on August 11th, the Eilbecks were there, waiting to greet the world-weary pup and welcome him home.

"Our greatest fear was that she wouldn't remember us after all that time," Zoe said.

"My kids were so worried that they got a hotdog and rubbed it on their hands. And then this tiny dog walks out through the hangar, strutting along..."

Watch Pip and his family's emotional reunion at Sydney Airport...

video c/o Virgin Australia

In a touching video shared by Virgin Airlines, you can see that no love was lost as Pipsqueak leaped into his families' arms and covered them all with kisses.

Now that the dog is back with his family, Zoe says he's settling in just fine.

"She's gone straight back to what she loves best, which is lying on our deck and contributing licks and joy."

What an incredible story! We love that so many people from all over the world came together to make sure the little pup made it home safely. We're sure his family is thrilled to finally have him back "down under!"

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