Meet Pipsqueak, also known as little Pip. After amassing 10,000 miles of travel in just a few months, Pip is now with his new family in Australia.
Zoe and Guy Eilbeck first met Little Pip in 2018 in Sicily during their around-the-world sailing trip with their two children. Alone in the environment, the family brought Pip on board their yacht. He adapted to boat life rather quickly. It wasn’t long before the family knew they wanted to eventually bring him home to Australia. However, strict pet import regulations in the country meant this would be a long process.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Eilbecks had to call their sailing trip quits midway through while staying in South Carolina. They scrambled to pack and get back home before country borders closed. They knew they needed to make sure Pip was in good hands before flying out. The family planned to return to South Carolina return to bring him home once everything was settled.
In late March. Zoe rented a car to make a trip to North Carolina. She brought Pip to be watched by a close friend who owned a farm for her to stay on. The family hoped that within two months, arrangements could be made to bring Pip to Sydney and her new home. Owning two dogs of her own, Zoe’s friend realized this stay could only be temporary as Pip wouldn’t get the attention she needed. She then put out an ad to find a more consistent caregiver for the next few weeks. Enter Ellen Steinberg, who vowed to care for Pip while the Eilbecks rushed to make travel arrangements.
The pandemic, however, placed restrictions much heavier than anyone predicted. This meant Steinberg would now have to take on a much lengthier period of care for Pip, including vet visits as the Eilbecks impatiently waited. After Australia closed its flight borders to dogs, the family discovered they could book Pip a flight to New Zealand and import her from there.
Still, this took much more time than initially expected. As Steinberg needed to visit family out of state, she left Pip with Stacy Green, who fell in love with her immediately. When Steinberg returned, they now faced the task of getting Pip to Los Angeles, where she’d need to book to get to New Zealand. As they booked flights, they were cancelled right after by airlines. Travel restrictions were becoming almost impossible to get around.
Growing all the more impatient, Zoe took to social media to seek out anyone traveling from the east to the west coast of LA in the near future. As if everything started to fall into place, a volunteer from The Sparky Foundation volunteered to fly across the country with Pip. An initial visit was made by the volunteer, Melissa Young, who flew in from Greensboro. After they arrived in LA safely, JetPets took custody of Pip and she was on her way. The family waited on edge.
After a safe flight into Auckland, Pip quarantined overnight, flew into Melbourne, quarantined for her mandatory ten days, and then hit one more road bump on her journey. The states of Victoria and South New Wales closed all borders between their lands. Luckily, Zoe’s brother Rob lives in Melbourne. He offered to look out for Pip until travel restrictions between the states were lifted.
Once restrictions were removed, a flight was booked and Pip finally arrived home on August 11. Five months of travelling for Pip and waiting for the Eilbecks had all come into fruition.
“When she heard our voices, she came barreling into our arms. It was absolutely amazing to have her back after all that time.” Zoe told a local reporting crew who had been called in to film the arrival.
Since then, the family has relocated to Scotland Island by the Northern Beaches of Sydney.
The family have since moved to Scotland Island, an island and suburb on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, in order to continue their “water lifestyle” and their sons are back in school. Although the sailing trip was cut short, the family plans to take another trip in a few years. This time, Pip will join them from beginning to end.
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