Homeward Bound: 69 Aussie Pets Stranded By COVID Finally Go Home

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

There may be some barking and hissing on a special Air Canada flight from YVR to Australia tomorrow, but it won't be coming from nightmare pax. 

It's a heartwarming, all-animal flight to reunite 69 Australian pets with their owners back home. 

AC will be transporting 40 dogs and 29 cats to Australia after they were separated from their owners and stranded in Canada when COVID-19 travel restrictions were implemented back in MAR.

With Australia imposing an embargo on any live animals from Canada, and prohibiting animals arriving as checked baggage with pax, the homecoming was no simple undertaking. It took over three months – and a $100,000 price tag -- for pet travel specialist Worldwide Animal Travel to organize 'The Incredible Journey.’

"It's a huge investment for an owner to get their pets back into Australia. Whether this charter was operating or not, this is an expensive endeavour, " Bruno Mansuetto, owner of Worldwide Animal Travel, told CBC. 

Besides the flight cost, Mansuetto says owners had to pay for various testing and vet treatments to certify their pets, as well as fees to cover 10 days of quarantine when their pets arrive in Melbourne.

For many pet owners, who were running out of options and looking at the possibility of being separated from their pets until the spring of next year, the reunion flight is worth the pretty penny. 

Donnie Saunders, who's waiting to be reunited with her Jack Russell terrier, summed it up perfectly: "Because they are our joy, you know, they're just pure love."

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.

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