Last December, we told you about a flight we helped coordinate to Australia in order to reunite dozens of pets that were separated from their owners at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In case you missed it, give it a read here.

Well, we’ve done it again, but this time to New Zealand! This is the third charter flight Worldwide Animal Travel has coordinated in partnership with Air Canada to reunite families with their beloved pets after countless international flights were cancelled and strict travel restrictions were put in place during the pandemic.

The flight took place on April 26th, and carried 42 cats and dogs on a 14-hour journey from Vancouver to Auckland.  It was an emotional reunion for all of 36 owners, many of them who hadn’t seen their beloved furry friend(s) in over a year.  Upon arrival, the pets spent 10 days in an MPI-approved quarantine facility before being reunited with their owners.

For one family, it took 17 months to bring their dog, Reed, home after they adopted him from the U.S. and subsequently relocated to Canada before moving back to New Zealand (NZ).  Here is their story:

“My husband and I adopted Reed from LA County Animal Control while travelling in the western US states for 6 months in 2018, before we moved to Canada on 2 year working holiday visas in September 2018. We ended up living in Kelowna, BC, for 2 years, with the intent of returning home to NZ in September 2020 at the end of our visas. I started the process of transporting Reed in December 2019, as we knew it would be a long and costly one – then Covid struck! All the flights were cancelled from March 2020 and absolutely no carriers were taking animals.

It was a long and stressful 6 months from March until September, trying desperately to find a way to bring him with us, but eventually we had to accept that we would have to return home without him. We were able to find a foster family to care for him for what we thought would hopefully be a month or two – but eventually turned into 7 months while we waited for our pet transporters to find an option. In the end the Worldwide Animal Travel found the only option was to charter an Air Canada aircraft and fill it with Kiwi pets. All up our ordeal has taken 17 months.”  Needless to say, Danielle and her husband are relieved and joyful to once again be together with Reed.  They even plan on taking some time off work solely dedicated to spending time with him to reconnect.

For more stories from this flight, check out the MPI media release.  Stay tuned to our social sites and website for the next flight this summer and future repatriation flights; all aimed to help reunite more pets with their loved ones.