Actually, Paula Rodriguez from the Dominican Republic was looking forward to a relaxing holiday with her dog Maia in the USA. But the trip turned into a nightmare. As several US media reports, Rodriguez left for California on August 18 for her two-week vacation. When she landed at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, she was stopped by border officials who told her she did not qualify for a tourist visa and that she had to be on the next flight home.
However, since the flight was not scheduled to leave until the next day, she had to spend the night in a reception center for migrants, where dogs are not allowed. A Delta Airlines employee then picked up the dog. "They told me not to worry, she would be taken to a facility where the staff was trained. They would give her food and water and take care of her," she told CNN about her experience. "It wasn't my wish, but I understood it. There was nothing I could do and I trusted him."
When she was supposed to board the plane back to the Dominican Republic the next morning, her dog wasn't waiting for her at the gate as agreed. The passengers were already boarding, but Maia wasn't there. The airport staff called and told her that the dog was still at the facility but that they didn't have time to look for her right now and that she should get on the plane.
"I panicked and said, 'Sorry, I can't get in if you tell me you don't know where my dog is'". Although her flight was rebooked on a later plane, the dog still did not show up and since she was no longer allowed to stay in the USA without a visa, she had to fly back without her dog with a heavy heart. A nightmare for the woman who found the six-year-old dog on the street when she was a little puppy. Since then, the two have been inseparable.
For two days, she filled out complaint forms, filed complaints against the airline, and called every animal shelter and doctor's office in Atlanta. Since Maia is microchipped, she was hoping that if someone found her, she would be dropped off there. She also launched an appeal on the Facebook page "Atlanta Area Lost and Found Pets" and wrote about a photo of the dog: "This is Maia. She was lost by Delta Airlines employees at Atlanta airport." Two days after her return to the US, a Delta employee called her. He explained to her that the staff in the car had opened the kennel and when the car stopped, the dog escaped and ran off across the runway. Despite the planes taking off and landing, they chased Maia, "but she ran faster and faster and eventually escaped. That's all I know," Rodriguez said.
Her mother made her way to the United States on August 24 to look for the dog. But the airport area is more than 4000 hectares. "She could be in many places. I'm in agony," Rodriguez said. Ever since her dog went away she's been living in a nightmare: because I know my baby is out there somewhere and might be scared or hurt. All sorts of thoughts run through my head and I can't do anything. Every minute feels like a day."
Operations teams are conducting runway and airfield inspections throughout the day, a spokesman for the airport told CNN. If she was seen, staff would attempt to capture her and return her to the airline and her owner." When asked how the dog even escaped, CNN said there was no answer.
Watch the video: Taking a trip with your dog requires good planning. The more thorough your preparations are, the more pleasant the trip with your four-legged friend will be. In the video you will learn three tips for traveling with a dog.
Sources: CNN, CBS, Facebook