Finally—an airplane mishap story with a happy ending. A Labradoodle named Cooper went missing last Wednesday after first being put on the wrong plane and then escaping when a member of the airline staff took the dog out to relieve himself. But luckily he was found two days later, safe and sound.
According to The Star, Cooper was supposed to be flying WestJet to Deer Lake, Newfoundland/Labrador from Halifax so he could be taken care of while his owners, roommates Terri Pittman and Chelsea Simon, went on vacation in Jamaica. But somehow the airline screwed up and put the Labradoodle on a flight to Hamilton. Then, when the plane landed in Hamilton, Cooper managed to get off his leash during a potty break.
A WestJet representative called Simon to let her know that Cooper was missing at about midnight on Wednesday night. The co-owners immediately flew to Hamilton (which the airline paid for, thankfully) to start looking for their dog.
Hans Ashton, Pittman’s cousin, said there had been several sightings of Cooper near the airport on Thursday. On Friday morning, someone saw the dog and lured him into a fenced area, where they kept him until Simon and Pittman arrived. According to Ashton, the dogs was "frightened, muddy and wet, but uninjured." On Friday, Pittman told The Star that finding Cooper was “amazing and overwhelming."
On Facebook, Pittman posted about her happiness and relief at finding Cooper, writing:
A very very overwhelming amount of mixed emotions in 2 days. This dog is everything to me, and the thought of losing him for good was sickening. It has felt like a nightmare/dream for 2 whole days. Don't ever underestimate the love of an animal, especially if you don't own one. The moment I finally had eyes on him, and submitted myself to him on his level and when his head perked up after realizing it was me, and ran to approach me... I'll never forget it. After him being so spooked and absolutely terrified of everyone else and knowing he finally had a feeling of comfort, it's such a wonderful feeling.
WestJet spokesperson Lauren Stewart issued a statement on Friday, saying, “We have offered to pay for Cooper’s vet bill and will work on getting them back home as soon as they are rested. 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.”