COVID-19: Pets reunited with their owners after months apart due to quarantine

One of the many difficulties of the ongoing pandemic has been the separation of pet owners and their furry friends upon return to New Zealand.

The owners came back to managed isolation facilities, but the pets went in another direction - to quarantine.

In some cases, they were apart for more than a year - best friends caught in different continents.

"We had to wait, wait, wait, wait - and now is the time," one owner told Newshub.

Years-long companions were separated for months, with some pet parents going a year without their fur baby.

But on Friday, many were finally reunited - dog after dog, pup after pooch. And then, came a cat named Toby.

The reunions flowed as freely as the tears, the pets armed with slobbery kisses - the owners with tasty treats and big plans.

"We got a couple of days of annual leave for next week to spend extra time with him," pet owner Danielle told Newshub.

The furballs arrived on the Noah's Ark of the COVID-19 era - a charter flight from Canada filled with pets that have been in their own 10-day quarantine.

"It's been a really tough year, and it's just nice to have her home," another said.

And while there's still some forgiving to do - "he started barking at us, 'you left me, you left me'" - it was love at first smell.

Given there is no evidence pets play any role in the spread of COVID-19, they are not tested for the disease.

And with the tick of approval from the vet for biosecurity reasons, New Zealand's post-quarantine reunions have entered a new chapter - freedom: the furry edition.

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