A Labradoodle named “Cooper” who was placed on a wrong WestJet flight, landed in Hamilton, Ont., and escaped while being taken out of his kennel by a staff member to pee, has been found after two days on the lam.
A photo of the dog re-uniting with its owner was posted on a “Lost and Found Pets” Facebook group Friday morning.
Searchers had found the dog in a fenced area of the airport near where a trap was set up with treats.
“It’s the most overwhelming feeling of happiness,” Chelsea Simon, one of the dog’s owners, said shortly after finding the dog around 9 a.m.
The dog was wet, dirty and starving, but otherwise healthy, she said.
The Nova Scotia family that owned the pooch planned to have Cooper flown to Newfoundland on Wednesday so they could attend a wedding in Jamaica. But the animal somehow ended up on a different WestJet flight and landed in Hamilton.
The dog went missing after a WestJet staffer took Cooper out of his kennel for a bathroom break.
The dog somehow became unleashed and a ground search took place until Cooper was found on Friday.
Robert Widdup, an area resident who was part of the search team, said he was one of the first people to spot Cooper.
“At first I thought he went through a hole in the vents,” Widdup said. “Then I sat in the area and waited. Then I saw him again.
He was in this caged area. He was running. He was afraid.”
A WestJet spokesperson said via email prior to the dog being located that the airline was “very sorry this happened but the intention was to make the dog comfortable given the journey he was on.”
The airline said Friday they are offering to pay for Cooper’s vet bill and are working on getting him back home. The carrier also vowed to review how staff managed to confuse the flight destinations.
“In the days ahead, we will review our procedures in an effort to determine what happened and make changes if needed to prevent future, similar occurrences,” WestJet spokesperson Lauren Stewart said.
This is far from the first time that a dog has been lost on a flight.
Two years ago Levon, a Bernese Mountain dog puppy, was being shipped to Winnipeg aboard a WestJet flight to meet his new owner but didn’t turn up when he was expected to.
Levon later turned up in Calgary because he never left the flight. He was later reunited with his owner.
- With files from The Canadian Press