Source: stuff (Extract)
Posted: April 30, 2021

Dozens of pets will be reunited with their owners after up to a year apart due to Covid-19 thanks to a charter flight from Canada.

Forty-two cats and dogs made the 14-hour flight from Vancouver to Auckland, and are seeing out the animal version of managed isolation before going home to their families.

Some pets belong to families who left Canada during the pandemic and weren’t able to bring their fluffy companions with them.

One of those is Sage the pup, who belongs to Jennifer Ellis and Geoffrey Nijhuis.

“In June we had to make the tough decision to leave Sage with my parents and travel over to New Zealand to start our new jobs,” Ellis said.

“When flights didn’t resume, we were heartbroken.”

After more than a year apart, Ellis said they “can’t wait” to pick her up from quarantine and introduce her to her new home.

The flight was arranged by Worldwide Animal Travel, which has already run two pet charter flights to Australia and may arrange further flights to Aotearoa.

Geri Hurring is moving back to New Zealand soon, and her cats Romeo and Miley will meet her here.

There was a lot of anxiety about whether the flight would happen, she said.

“After lots of hard work and planning, this is the definition of an absolute miracle.”

The pets have to spend 10 days in an MPI-approved quarantine facility before being reunited with their owners.

While pets are allowed into New Zealand provided they meet MPI requirements, the reduction in international travel has meant cargo capacity is at a premium and it’s hard to secure passage for cats and dogs.

Those in the industry have predicted the difficulties will remain until normal travel and immigration resumes. 

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