Atlanta– After nearly a month of heartache and anxiety, dog owners can finally rest after their missing dogs were safely found at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport on Saturday, according to airport officials.
Delta Air Lines passenger Paula Rodriguez’s 6-year-old dog Maia went missing in August at what is considered the world’s busiest airport.
According to a post on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), the airport operations team discovered Maia hiding near the northern cargo facility. “She was tired but appeared to be in good health and was taken to a veterinarian and is expected to return home soon,” airport officials said.
On August 18, Rodriguez and Maya set off from their home in the Dominican Republic for a two-week vacation in California.
However, when they arrived in Atlanta for a layover, Rodriguez was told by Border Patrol agents that her tourist visa did not meet the necessary requirements. Rodriguez previously told CNN they canceled her visa and told her she needed to get on the next flight back home.
The next day, the next flight to Punta Cana was scheduled to leave the next day, and Rodriguez faced the painful reality that she would spend the night alone in a detention center with her beloved canine companion. separate.
“They called a Delta agent and he took Maya away from me,” Rodriguez told CNN.
Rodriguez arrived at the gate early the next day, eagerly awaiting his reunion with Maya. To her dismay, Maya never arrived.
Unable to stay in the U.S. for more than 24 hours without a visa, Rodriguez had no choice but to board a flight to Punta Cana without Maya, an experience she said left a lasting impression on her return home. caused panic on the way.
“Everyone who knows me knows how much she means to me,” Rodriguez said of her beloved pet. “I don’t go anywhere without her. She’s very well behaved, I take her to restaurants, pretty much everywhere. She’s my companion in everything.”
Two days after Maya disappeared, a Delta representative contacted Rodriguez to share the sad news. “He said she was being transported to the plane on the runway and staff opened her kennel and she escaped into the middle of the runway,” Rodriguez told CNN.
Despite Rodriguez’s repeated calls to Delta seeking updates, weeks passed without any new information.
A Delta spokesperson previously told CNN in a statement: “The Delta team has been working hard to locate and reunite the pet with the customer, and we are in touch with the customer to provide updates.” The customer and the dog are deeply concerned, and we are committed to working closely with the City of Atlanta Aviation Department and other stakeholders as we continue the search.”
With her tourist visa revoked, Rodriguez flew her mother to Atlanta to join the search at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport’s 4,000 acres.
Rodriguez previously told CNN she shared the pain caused by Maya’s disappearance, describing her experience as “living a nightmare.”
On Saturday, when Atlanta airport officials announced the discovery of Maia, three weeks after her disappearance, her worst fears disappeared.
CNN has contacted Delta about Maya’s escape.