After nearly a month of heartache and stress, a passenger's dog was found at an Atlanta airport three weeks after Delta Air Lines lost it.
The 6-year-old pooch Maia, who belonged to passenger Paula Rodriguez, was found safe on Saturday at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport after going missing in August, officials said.
"ATL's Operations team found her hiding near the North Cargo facilities. Tired but in apparent good health, she was transported to a vet and is expected to return home soon," the airport said on X.
Maia's family flew in on Sunday to take her home.
The mishap began when Rodriguez and Maia were heading on a two-week vacation to California from their home in the Dominican Republic, according to CNN. During a layover in Atlanta, Rodriguez was informed by border patrol that her visa did not meet necessary requirements and told she would have to return home on the next flight.
Rodriguez was separated from her beloved Maia and informed she had to spend the night alone in a detention center to await a flight to Punta Cana the following day.
"They called a Delta agent, who took Maia from me," Rodriguez told CNN.
When the time finally came that she could reunite with her pooch, Maia was nowhere to be found.
Rodriguez was forced to return home alone as she was not allowed to remain in the U.S. for over 24 hours without a visa.
"Everyone who knows me knows what she means to me," Rodriguez said. "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."
Two days after Maia had gone missing, a representative from Delta contacted a panicked Rodriguez.
"He said that she was being transported (to the plane) on the runway, and staff had opened her kennel, and she had escaped into the middle of the runway," she said.
Since Rodriguez's tourist visa was canceled, she sent her mother to Atlanta to help search for the dog. A GoFundMe was also set up to escalate search efforts for the pooch — it raised nearly $7,000.
Weeks went by without updates from Delta, until the good news came this past weekend.
Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is the busiest airport in the world.
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