- A dachshund named Pipsqueak was finally reunited with her owners after the coronavirus pandemic forced them to separate for almost five months.
- Pipsqueak belongs to Guy and Zoe Eilbeck, who have brought the dog around the world with them and their two sons.
- While sailing in Florida in March, the Eilbecks had to return home to Australia before the country’s borders shut, and they didn’t have enough time to complete the necessary travel forms for Pipsqueak to join.
- Pipsqueak was fostered by kind strangers who worked with the Eilbecks.
- “She’s lying in the sun in the house like she owns it and keeping us well-entertained with her antics,” Guy Eilbeck told Insider of Pipsqueak, who returned home to Australia on August 11.
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After spending nearly five months away from her family and taking a 10,000-mile journey to get back, a dachshund named Pipsqueak has finally been returned to her owners in Australia.
Pipsqueak â€” or “Pip,” as she’s lovingly nicknamed â€” belongs to Guy and Zoe Eilbeck. The Eilbecks sail around the world full-time with Pip and their two sons on their yacht, called “No Plans Just Options.”
In March, the Eilbecks were sailing in Key West, Florida, when the coronavirus pandemic put travel to a halt.
The Eilbeck family scrambled to make it back to their home country before the borders shut, so they docked their boat in South Carolina, the nearest place they could safely secure the vessel while protecting it from a hurricane zone.
While their boat was safe, the family had to make a tough decision about their beloved dog, Pip. The Eilbecks weren’t able to complete the extensive paperwork needed for Pip to get back to Australia, which put into place COVID-19 travel restrictions specifically for pets â€” including a mandatory 10-day quarantine upon arrival.
Pip was left in good hands with a family friend in the US, while the Eilbecks used social media to help get their pet back to Australia
On March 27, two days before their flight home, the Eilbecks dropped off Pip at a friend’s bison farm in North Carolina. However, Pip could only stay there a few short days, as the farm’s owner was already caring for two dogs of her own.
Pip was then passed off to Ellen Steinberg, a North Carolina resident. Steinberg looked after Pip from April through July while the Eilbecks, in Australia, worked tirelessly to complete the documents to get their pet back home.
“Ellen’s kindness was incredible â€” she gave daily updates on Pip and helped get her ready to export to Australia as it quickly became clear we could not return to the USA easily,” Zoe told Insider.
In July, the Eilbecks arranged to put their dachshund on a flight from Los Angeles to Australia. First, though, they needed someone to take Pip to LA.
After a frenzy of social media posts, the Eilbecks connected with a volunteer from a dog rescue foundation, Melissa Young, who took a flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, to LA and sat with Pip under her seat the entire ride.
Pip was then placed on a flight to Auckland, Australia, and then to the city of Melbourne, where she spent the mandatory 10 days in quarantine required by the country.
The family feared that their pet wouldn’t recognise them after five months apart, so before picking her up at the airport, they rubbed their hands with hot dogs â€” Pip’s favourite treat
Pip’s journey continued with some bumps in the road. She was scheduled to fly to Sydney to meet the Eilbecks in early August, but a COVID-19-related lockdown was imposed right after her arrival in Melbourne.
Luckily, Pip was able to stay with Zoe’s brother in Melbourne, and after the Sydney Morning Herald â€” an Australian newspaper â€” picked up the Eilbecks’ story, the airline Virgin Australia offered the dog a complimentary flight home.
The Eilbecks were worried that Pip wouldn’t recognise them when they reunited with her at the airport on August 11. They hoped that her memories of the family would flood back with one of her favourite smells.
“Pip enjoys a good hot dog, so we stopped to get a couple on the way to the airport and our boys rubbed them on their hands as a fail-safe,” Guy said of their tactic to welcome back the family’s pet.
After getting off the plane, Pip immediately ran toward her owners.
The Eilbecks, who are now living on Scotland Island, a small island off the northern coast of Sydney, Australia, said that Pip is enjoying her relaxed island lifestyle and is happy to be back with her “crew.”
“She’s lying in the sun in the house like she owns it and keeping us well-entertained with her antics. She’s a lively little thing,” Guy said.
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