January 15, 2015 9:34 am
Updated: January 15, 2015 6:04 pm

Puppy safe after going missing on flight to Winnipeg

Bill Friday holds his new Bernese mountain dog, Levon, after the pup finally arrived in Winnipeg Thursday. The dog was lost for several hours Wednesday when WestJet staff failed to remove him from a plane and he ended up in Calgary.

Randall Paull / Global News

WINNIPEG – A nervous dog owner was finally united with his new puppy Thursday at Winnipeg’s Richardson International Airport, after an airline mix up.

The eight-week-old Bernese mountain dog was found in Calgary after WestJet staff failed to remove him from the plane in Winnipeg, but not before his story went viral on Facebook.

Jennifer Lennon, a Picton, Ont., woman who breeds Bernese mountain dogs, said she shipped her dog Levon to Winnipeg for pickup at the airport by Bill Friday, his new owner.

When Friday, who travelled to Winnipeg from Kenora to get his new pup, went to get the dog at about 3 p.m. Wednesday, WestJet staff told him Levon had already been picked up.

Cue the panic button.

“I thought, ‘How could this happen?’ ” Lennon said. “It’s Winnipeg, who would steal a dog here?”

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The Winnipeg Humane Society and vets were contacted and told about the microchipped dog, which Lennon and Friday presumed had been stolen. Lennon also posted a Facebook plea for “help and prayers.” That status was shared more than 800 times and almost 200 comments were posted under it.

Lennon then went back to WestJet and asked if there was surveillance video of the dog pickup.

“Every second counted, so I asked WestJet employees to look at security footage,” she said.

When it was viewed, Lennon realized the dog that had been picked up was not Levon – it was not in the blue crate Levon travelled in.

It turns out Levon just hadn’t gotten off the plane and he was in Calgary. Luckily, Lennon has a friend in Calgary who picked up the dog and cared for it until it was shipped back to Winnipeg.

A WestJet spokeswoman said in an emailed statement that the company is investigating.

“The mishap is unusual. It’s not very often that cargo is overlooked – this rarely happens,” Brie Thorsteinson said. “WestJet takes this very seriously. We are looking into what happened.”

A second email emphasized that WestJet is “very sorry” about what happened.

“Pets are not just cargo, they are beloved family members and we do understand that.”

Levon was finally picked up by Friday at the Winnipeg airport on Thursday.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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