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A woman on the Sunshine Coast goes to extraordinary lengths to be reunited with her pet pooch – a former Bali street dog – and orders a private jet to fly her out of New Zealand.
Munchkin has been in New Zealand for the past two years, waiting to come to Australia
The owners of the former Balinese street dog have been trying to bring Munchkin “home” to Australia for six years
Owner Natasha Corbin is negotiating with travelers to charter a flight with Munchkin. to share
Natasha Corbin has spent the last six years bringing Munchkin to Australia after falling in love with her while living in Bali with her fiancé David Daynes.
The couple had lived in Bali because Ms. Corbin ran an online marketing business and was able to work remotely.
“When we decided to move to Bali, my partner had a rule for me because I’m such a dog lover and that was, I couldn’t interact with a dog,” said Corbin.
“I just ignored all the dogs as best I could, and that dog, Munchkin, she was just a little little puppy, followed us around because she somehow ended up near our mansion.”
There have been many twists and turns in Munchkin’s trip to Australia since Ms. Corbin first saw her as a puppy six years ago.
“The reason we were in New Zealand was because we had to live there for a while to clear our dog for entry into Australia,” said Corbin.
She said international pet quarantine restrictions made it easier to bring a dog to Australia from New Zealand rather than Indonesia, so the couple moved there two years ago.
But Ms. Corbin has been separated from Munchkin and Mr Daynes for the past five months after she returned to Australia for surgery on the Gold Coast.
Now it is taking drastic measures by renting a private jet and trying to sell seats to human passengers to offset some of the cost.
“I just want them home and I want to choose the option that is most likely to work and if that means we’ll have to pay extra and try to sell these.” [private jet] sit and do all that extra work, I’m ready to do it, “she said.
Natasha Corbin is ready to do anything to bring Munchkin home for Christmas.Delivered: Natasha Corbin)
A jet isn’t cheap, however, at $ 40,000 to $ 45,000, so Ms. Corbin reached out to the Sunshine Coast community to find human travelers who also want a seat on the plane.
“I was inundated with people telling their stories about how they got stuck and their flights kept getting canceled,” she said.
“You really want to go back with your family for Christmas.”
An ongoing saga
Failing to house the puppy in Bali several times, Ms. Corbin decided to take her to Australia, but she didn’t know which tires she had to go through.
“We were told the process would take about six to eight weeks and cost us about $ 10,000, but it has been almost six years now,” said Corbin.
“I stopped counting how much it cost us when we hit $ 40,000 and that was about three years ago.”
Munchkin’s quest for Australian residency has resulted in the pooch living in four Singapore nursing homes, including a penthouse – a far cry from her humble beginnings on the streets of Bali.
Her trip was plagued by pre-pandemic health travel restrictions after she was bitten by a tick while passing through Singapore.
Mrs. Corbin and Mr. Daynes found Munchkin six years ago. (Delivered: Natasha Corbin)
During this time, Ms. Corbin and Mr. Daynes moved back to Bali so they could fly to Singapore once a month to visit Munchkin.
Munchkin has consistently failed health tests to enter Australia, but after being classified as non-contagious, she finally got an official entry permit last week.
A Munchkin Million Dollar Plane
With COVID-19 making her search even more difficult, Ms. Corbin said ordering a private jet to transport her now six-year-old dog to Australia was her only option.
“One of the biggest challenges we face is getting the dog she needs over Auckland out of New Zealand and flights from the North Island are not considered a green zone,” said Corbin.
“Also, flights from New Zealand’s South Island direct to Queensland have been largely canceled and there is very little availability.”
She said with COVID-19 quarantine restrictions between New Zealand’s North Island and Queensland, Mr Daynes would be in quarantine for Christmas and Munchkin would not be able to travel on a commercial flight until next January due to availability.
The popular Munchkin has been in New Zealand for two years. (Delivered: Natasha Corbin)
The irony is not lost with Ms. Corbin.
“I’ve been saying to my partner for two or three years, ‘imagine if something happens and we fly her home in a private jet,'” she said.
The next step is to select other passengers and manage weight limits.
Ms. Corbin said she was meeting 11 people from New Zealand through Zoom to see who might be on the plane to Brisbane on short notice.
“It will only be the one who can book with us because we really want to organize the flight for next week,” she said.
“I don’t know if we can take seven more people with us due to weight restrictions, so we may only be able to accommodate five more people at the moment.”
At this point, anyone on the flight from the South Island should not be required to be quarantined on arrival, as per Queensland government guidelines.
Ms. Corbin eagerly awaits the arrival of an import certificate for Munchkin that would bring her home without quarantine six years and tens of thousands of dollars later.
“Wouldn’t that be the ultimate success story of that street dog from Bali that we just found under our scooter one day?”
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