Plane passenger’s dog lost by Delta airlines weeks ago is found hiding in Atlanta airport

A Delta passenger’s missing dog was found at the Atlanta airport more than three weeks after the traveller accused the airline of losing her beloved pet.

The chihuahua mix named Maia was found hiding near the airport’s North Cargo facilities on Saturday, the airport said.

The dog allegedly escaped into the airfield of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the airport authorities wrote on social media X.

Maia was “tired but in apparent good health” and sent to a veterinarian for a check-up, the airport said, adding the dog is “expected to return home soon”.

The dog had been missing since mid-August when her owner, Paula Rodriguez, was forced to fly back home to the Dominican Republic after being denied entry to the US by the Border Control officials.

After authorities cancelled her visa, Ms Rodriguez had to stay overnight in an airport detention centre where her dog was not allowed.

“They called a Delta agent, who took Maia from me,” she previously told CNN. The next day when Ms Rodriguez was waiting for at the flight’s gate, the dog was nowhere to be found.

Ms Rodriguez said she was in tears as she told border officials that she wouldn’t board without her dog, but was informed that the officials couldn’t have her in the airport for “more than 24 hours”.

She flew home without knowing the whereabouts of Maia.

The Delta staff later informed that the dog had “broken out of her kennel” and was last seen on 18 August.

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Delta Air Lines in a statement previously said that they remain dedicated to finding the dog. “Delta teams have been working to locate and reunite this pet with the customer and we remain in touch with the customer to provide updates,” a Delta representative added.

Ms Rodriguez shared the news of her pet’s return on Sunday evening with a story on Instagram where she captioned the picture: “MAIAAAAAAA IS COMING HOMEEEE!!!”

Paula Rodriguez to be reunited with her dog Maia

(Screengrab/ @pcrod)

“Lots of salt water for us,” she wrote in Spanish.

Robin Allgood, an Atlanta resident who works to find lost dogs, had put up flyers around the airport for Maia. She said the dog was found under a rack used to move big cargo containers around the airport.

Ms Allgood said a FedEx employee recognised the dog from the flyers and informed her about the discovery.

She told CBS News that after a wildlife biologist failed to catch Maia with a net, she jumped into action. “So I just started scooting on my back under the rack and nobody even knew I was under there and I just reached and grabbed her and then somebody said ‘Oh my gosh, she’s got her’,” Ms Allgood added.

After back and forth between Ms Allgood and Delta, the airline said it would “facilitate” how the owner wants to be reunited with her dog.

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