In May 2011 we were really pleased to be able to help our first two dogs be sent to the homeland of their adoptive parents - one to Australia and the other to New Zealand.
Skupors (the island dog) was reunited with her family here in New Zealand just a few weeks ago. Jane Pares who lived on the northern island of Ha'apai for several years and her family had adopted Skupors - a homeless dog with little hope until they took her into their home. Skupors became such a huge part of their family, the thought of leaving without her was unimaginable.
So,when Jane and her family ended their tenure in Tonga they were distraught with worry over what may happen to Skupors. Skupors was placed with friends in Vava'u (a neighbouring island) while Jane and her family returned to NZ to make appropriate arrangements - surely something could be done to get Skupors to NZ.
With no registered veterinarians on Tonga, and New Zealands strict animal import laws, getting Skupors to NZ would have been finacially crippling and logistically near impossible. But fortunately for Skupors and her family, our SPAW clinic was scheduled for May so after several phone calls & emails between Karen and Jane, the team kicked into action, with volunteers assisting in securing the vaccines and medications required to clear Skupors through NZ customs and quarantine and getting them up to Tonga (Thanks Dr. Geoff Malcolm for helping here). As this was our first "export" it was all abit of a learning and things come into play that you dont think of, like purchasing a microchip scanner and making sure all the correct paperwork is completed - if anything was missed, it could have meant Skupors being sent straight back to Tonga when arriving in NZ and we couldnt risk this.
Skups first round of treatments were administered by our volunteer vet team on Vava'u and she was set. Jane (being a lovely canine mum) had, just a week prior, driven all the way from Whangarei (via Karens house to pick up some vet supplies) then straight to the airport where she boarded her plane to Tongatapu (with our vet team). From here Jane then flew to Vava'u to spend Skupors last few weeks in her homeland, with her. So what an adventure. One little dog, and alot of love and commitment to bring her home to New Zealand.
Skupors safely arrived in NZ (chaperoned by Jane) just a few weeks ago (thanks to new quarantine laws and SPAWs efforts) and was cleared from quarantine soon after (thanks to new quarantine laws and our vets efforts, Skupors quarantine time was only a few short weeks vs the old laws that confinded an animal for 3 months). Word on the street is Skups is settling nicely into her new home in the north island and loving all the new sights and smells so prevalent to a dogs world. She is even adjusting to the colder climate and not having sand under her paws at every moment!
We hope to help many animals (and families) in the same way over the coming years - whether it be to the US, NZ or Australia we think it is well worth the effort.
We wish Skupors all the best in her new kiwi homeland.
The team at SPAW