Dog Lost at Atlanta Airport Found After 3 Weeks

Delta says Chihuahua mix Maia was hiding in cargo facility
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2023 6:03 PM CDT
Dog Lost at Atlanta Airport Found After 3 Weeks
The airport shared this photo of Maia.   (Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport)

A dog that disappeared at the world's busiest airport three weeks ago has been found alive and will be reunited with her owner. Officials at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport tweeted Sunday that Maia, a 6-year-old Chihuahua mix, had been found "hiding near the North Cargo facilities," NBC News reports. "Tired but in apparent good health, she was transported to a vet and is expected to return home soon," the airport said. The drama began on Aug. 18, when Maia escaped from a carrier in the middle of an active runway while being transported to a facility for pets, reports the Washington Post.

The dog was in Delta's custody because her owner, 25-year-old Dominican Republican resident Paula Rodriguez, had the wrong kind of tourist visa and was denied entry to the US. She had planned to visit friends in California with only a brief layover in Atlanta. Rodriguez spent the night in immigration detention and had to fly back to Santo Domingo the next day without Maia after airline workers said they couldn't find the dog. Days later, she was told Maia had escaped. Rodriguez, who said the experience was like "living a nightmare," sent her mother to join search efforts at the vast airport, CNN reports.

Delta spokesperson Drake Castaneda tells the Post that airline personnel spent weeks searching for Maia, sometimes using night-vision goggles. " We are thankful for the teamwork that has led to our customer's dog's recovery," Castaneda says. "Delta is working to reunite the dog with our customer as soon as possible." On social media, Rodriguez said she is "over the moon." (More uplifting news stories.)

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