An Australian couple plans to shell out tens of thousands of dollars hiring a private jet to fly their stranded dog home from New Zealand in time for Christmas.

Munchkin, a former Bali street dog, is stuck in New Zealand unable to travel to her owners’ home on Australia’s Sunshine Coast due to COVID border rules and flight disruptions.

Owner Tash Corbin said after a five-month separation from Munchkin and her fiance, David Daynes, she had decided to hire a private jet costing Aus$45,000 (US$32,000) for her pooch and partner’s trip to Australia.

“The money part is not the number one driver, it’s about who can most certainly get them home before Christmas,” she said. “Christmas is a really big deal for us … I just want us all to be together.”

Pandemic-related disruptions mean there are few flights operating between New Zealand’s South Island and airports near the Sunshine Coast.

And traveling via New Zealand’s North Island, where there is currently a virus outbreak, would put Daynes in a two-week quarantine lasting through much of the festive season.

The couple is hoping to split the costs by recruiting passengers, offering to foot half of the jet bill while selling four remaining seats to other travelers, or perhaps hitching a ride on another private charter.