Delta Just Found a Plane Passenger's Missing Dog After 3 Weeks

A happy ending to a nightmare situation.

An airline losing your luggage is one thing—lost socks and beauty products are a pain, sure, but they are ultimately replaceable items. But it is an entirely different matter when the lost item is a member of your family: your pet. A few weeks ago, this nightmare happened to Delta passenger Paula Rodriguez—her chihuahua Maia went missing during a flight from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to San Francisco, California. But don't worry, it ends with reunification, three weeks later. 

It was already a stressful trip. Rodriguez, who is from the Dominican Republic, arrived at customs in Atlanta only to be told that visa entry requirements weren't met. She would have to spend a night in a detention center and fly back to DR the next day. In the meantime, her dog was to stay under the care of Delta. Except, the next day, Maia was nowhere to be found. She had gone missing at the world’s busiest airport. Because of Rodriguez's visa situation, she couldn't stay and look for Maia. She had to leave without her 6-year-old chihuahua.

"Everyone who knows me knows what she means to me," Rodriguez said about Maia, according to CNN. "I don't go anywhere without her. She's so well behaved that I take her to restaurants, literally everywhere. She's my partner in everything."

Rodriguez said that Delta had been attempting to transfer Maia on the tarmac at Atlanta International Airport when she made a run for it, and escaped. Her mom arrived to help search the airport, but for weeks, there was no site of the pup. Until Saturday, September 9. Airport officials called Rodriguez to inform her that Maia had been found near the airport's North Cargo facilities.

"We are thankful for the teamwork that has led to our customer’s dog's recovery," a statement from Delta said. "Delta teams engaged our colleagues throughout the Hartsfield-Jackson airport community when searches first began and as we followed every lead presented since then. Delta is working to reunite the dog with our customer as soon as possible."

Maia was reported to be in good health overall, if not a little tired from her three weeks on the lam. 

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.