Heartbreaking Loss: Woman’s Beloved Dog Goes Missing at Atlanta Airport

In a harrowing turn of events, Paula Rodriguez’s journey took a nightmarish twist when her beloved dog, Maia, went missing at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The incident has left her in agony, grasping onto the hope of reuniting with her cherished companion.

Paula’s trip from the Dominican Republic to California via Atlanta turned into a traumatic ordeal when she was unexpectedly turned away at customs, reports The Washington Post. As she was held in detention, awaiting a return flight, the unimaginable happened – her loyal canine companion, Maia, who was accompanying her in the cabin, was left behind.

“They told me very kindly, ‘We’re so sorry but you don’t meet the requirements to enter the U.S., you’ve been denied entry, and you need to be sent back home to Santo Domingo,’” Rodriguez said. “They told me, ‘You’re going to have to sleep in a detention center and your dog can’t come with you.’”

A woman's dog, Maia, went missing at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Photo: Pexels
A woman’s dog, Maia, went missing at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

“This happened on Friday and I found out on Monday,” Rodriguez said. “They knew that my dog was lost when I boarded that plane, and they didn’t tell me.”

A Heart-Wrenching Separation

Stranded in detention, Paula was unable to bring Maia into the facility with her. Alone and anxious, Maia managed to escape her carrier, disappearing into the bustling airport. Paula’s distress was immeasurable as she faced the reality that her four-legged friend was out there somewhere, scared and vulnerable.

“I’m in agony. I’ve been living a nightmare…knowing my baby is out there somewhere scared, or might be injured,” she said. “All kinds of thoughts come into my head, and I can’t do anything. Every minute feels like a day.”

Alone and anxious, Maia managed to escape her carrier, disappearing into the bustling airport.
Photo: Pexels
Alone and anxious, Maia managed to escape her carrier, disappearing into the bustling airport.

Once returned to the Dominican Republic, Rodriguez’ search for Maia continued at a frantic pace.

“I started making calls, I started making claims, nobody knew where she was,” she said.

Delta’s Determined Efforts

In response to the heart-wrenching situation, Delta Air Lines has launched a tireless effort to locate Maia. The airline is conducting active and around-the-clock searches, even in the darkness of night, aided by the use of night-vision goggles.

Although Paula is unable to be physically present in the search, her mother is standing in her place, representing her interests. Delta has offered her mother accommodation, free of charge, during this challenging time. Additionally, her mother is being granted access to secure areas of the airfield to help in the search.

Delta has initiated an internal investigation to uncover the circumstances that led to Maia's escape from her carrier.
Photo: Pexels
Delta has initiated an internal investigation to uncover the circumstances that led to Maia’s escape from her carrier.

The Power of Microchipping

Maia’s situation has shone a light on the importance of microchipping pets. In collaboration with local shelters and veterinarians, Delta and Paula are hoping that Maia’s microchip will aid in her safe return.

In a statement, the airline expressed their sympathy, stating, “Delta people are heartbroken over what this customer and her family are going through. Delta remains in contact with her as we continue to keep all eyes and ears open for her dog.”

“She’s been missing for more than 72 hours in the biggest airport in the United States. Without food, without water, she must be scared,” Rodriguez said.

Pet parents will go to great lengths to ensure the safety and well-being of their animal companions.
Photo: Pexels
Pet parents will go to great lengths to ensure the safety and well-being of their animal companions.

Seeking Answers And Searching for Maia

As the search for Maia continues, Delta has initiated an internal investigation to uncover the circumstances that led to Maia’s escape from her carrier.

“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. Delta people feel deeply concerned for the customer and the dog and we’re committed to ongoing search efforts, working closely with the City of Atlanta Department of Aviation and other stakeholders,” Drake Casteneda, a communications representative for Delta, told WANF.

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