Aviation

Virgin Australia reunites family with their stranded sausage dog

Virgin Australia has reunited one lucky family with their dachshund pup after she became stranded on the other side of the world.

The pooch, whose name is Pipsqueak (!!!), was sailing around the Pacific with her owners on a four-year global sailing adventure when COVID-19 struck and owners Zoe and Guy Eilbeck and their children were forced to fly back to Australia urgently.

Over the next five months, strangers all over the United States cared for Pipsqueak, before she was able to begin her journey home to Sydney via North and South Carolina, Los Angeles, Auckland and Melbourne.

The homecoming, however, was thwarted on the final leg of the journey when cargo flights between Melbourne and Sydney were full as a consequence of COVID-19 state border restrictions, leaving the pup stranded.

Pip with Max and Cam Eilbeck in NYC

Luckily, Virgin Australia came to the rescue after hearing the story and booked her on the next available service to Sydney.

“She’s part of our family and it’s been five months and that’s a long time to miss anybody,” said Guy Eilbeck.

“We just can’t believe we got her home. This was such a team effort, and good on you, Virgin,” Zoe Eilbeck added.

Virgin Australia Group’s general manager of cargo, Glen Moloney, said the airline was thrilled to have played a part in reuniting the much-loved sausage dog with her family after many months and thousands of kilometres apart.

“During these difficult times, it’s nice to be able to put a smile on someone’s face, and I know it was a real joy for our team to come to the rescue,” he said.

Pip at home in Sydney

Virgin Australia crew member Olivia Cayzer, who was instrumental in the reunion, said Pip was given the VIP service.

“Pip disembarked the flight before anyone else and was then ushered through the terminal to be reunited with her family,” said Cayzer.

“Whether our guests are furry or human, we love them all, and so we jumped at this opportunity to help one of our furry friends.”

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