Virgin Australia steps in to help dog complete its 17,000km journey home

A dachshund puppy named Pipsqueak has finally been reunited with her Australian family after a last minute hurdle almost ended the dog's 17,000km journey home.

In March, Pipsqueak joined her family Zoe and Guy Eilbeck along with their children on a four-year sailing adventure around the Pacific Ocean.

When COVID-19 struck, the family had to urgently return to Australia, but were unable to bring Pip - as she is affectionately known - with them.

Over the next five months, strangers all over the US cared for Pip until last week when she began her long journey home to Sydney, via North and South Carolina, Los Angeles, Auckland and then Melbourne.

But the journey home had to be 'pawsed' in Melbourne because all freight flights to Sydney were fully-loaded due to new COVID-19 border restrictions.

Determined not to let the dog be pipped at the post, Virgin Australia booked her on the next available service to Sydney.

In a video of her reunion released by the airline, Pip's owners Zoe and Guy Eilbeck appear ecstatic to have the family back together again.

"She's part of our family and it's been five months and that's a long time to miss anybody," Zoe said, wiping away tears in one part of the footage.

Pip grabbing the pick to have a jam with a family member.
Pip grabbing the pick to have a jam with a family member. Photo credit: Virgin Australia

"I just can't believe we got her home. This was such a team effort."

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

He was glad to ensure the dachshund's hopes weren't dashed at the last minute.

Pipsqueak is just one of more than 30,000 pets that Virgin Australia transports each year.