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Good Fortune, Great Friends, and a Poopy Plane

As most of you know, last week I was working in Fresno, California.  The Alaska airlines flight was direct from SEA to FAT, on a regional jet.  As there is essentially no overhead storage on these planes, and as people insist on carrying-on their behemoth suitcases, most of the luggage gets loaded and unloaded at plane side.  I noticed a large mixed breed dog crated in the cargo area while I was boarding, thinking that it was a really bad idea as these planes are very noisy and bumpy.  Well, apparently he got pretty stressed during the flight and had explosive diarrhea, which he managed to squirt out of his crate.  The baggage handlers moaned when they opened the cargo door in Fresno, and for whatever reason decided to take the dog out of his crate.  The dog was spotless.  The luggage, however, was smeared, covered and soaked in doggy diarrhea. ..except mine, which was unscathed.  Feeling pretty fortunate at that point I drove to the hospital.

After I got the call from Cindy that Kona had gone missing I felt desperate and helpless, particularly since I was already on call as the pediatric surgeon for Children’s Central California,  and I couldn’t just stop what I was doing and return home to Washington.   I knew that if I asked for help the dog community would come through once again, and the response was simply overwhelming.  While  I would like to personally thank everyone who helped out, people who didn’t know me or Kona also responded to my FB post.   Just knowing that people cared and were concerned about Kona’s welfare was reassuring, particularly since I was stuck in the OR in Fresno.  I am eternally grateful to have such great friends and to belong to such a supportive community.  I still can’t believe that Nancy and Jody roamed through the woods for hours and hung posters on the way home and checked shelters and coordinated searches, and that Julie had the presence of mind to create a FB page and drove to my house to get scent articles and kept everyone organized and called me constantly with updates, and that Tammy called all of the animal clinics in the area and notified Seattle pet detectives and started looking for live traps, and that Liz and Dawn were able to recommend where to find a SAR dog for dogs, and that Jo went out with the SAR team, and that Lisa and Dan checked the King County animal shelter, and that Lisa put up more signs, and Nancy F., who I’ve never met, also went up to Monroe and spoke with all of the neighbors…what a fantastic village, I truly appreciate everyone’s  extraordinary efforts.   While I know I would do the same if the roles were reversed, being the recipient of so much caring and compassion has been humbling and mind boggling.  Really, I just can’t thank everyone enough. 

I did think that Kona would return that first evening, given that she’s a foodie.  It was disheartening when she didn’t return by nightfall.  I do suspect it was Kona that ate all of the treats in Cindy’s driveway.  Kona probably even teased Lucy who had been left outside in a crate as a lure.  Who knows what she did for over 30 hours?  She was completely unfazed and quite pleased with herself upon her return from her adventure in the woods, and the rest of us have been completely traumatized.  The “Makin’ Mischief” collar she had on was too accurate a description, and I’m pretty sure someone took the collar off of her as it was a buckle with a snug fit.   We’re also pretty sure that the SAR dogs were correct and that she got picked up off of Ben Howard road, then returned, as Cindy did receive a phone call asking if she “got the puppy” and Kona was clean when she reemerged.  There could have been so many horrible outcomes, yet Kona returned, and good fortune struck again.  I tried to call all of you as soon as I got the news, but started bawling, which is why most of you got emails or text messages.  We are all finally home.  Thank you all so much, I hope that none of us have to live through a lost dog experience again.  Yes, Kona will be getting a microchip today, and a tattoo when she gets spayed, and an ear tag if I can find someone willing to do it for me.


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Super glad she made it home!

I am so happy your story had such a great outcome.

Immediately after I learned that Kona had escaped a kennel I knew exactly how you felt because it happened to me. 2009 AKC Nationals I left 2 of my dogs in a kennel in VT and we drove down to North Carolina. The night before we were due to start livestreaming and after we had driven 17 hours to the AKC Nationals I got a call that one of my dogs had escaped her run and was let out of the perimeter fence by a staff member who "thought she would come to her". I had to make that horrible choice to go home or stay for work. I had to stay because there was no other way to do it. The stream wouldn't have work, our contract would have been broken, it just wasn't an option. The dog community reached out and helped and made it that much easier. My dog was lost for 7 days so I just knew in my heart that Kona would be okay.

It's stories like Kona's that teach people about preventative measures, teamwork, empathy, and genuine heartfelt good deeds. My guess is Kona was sent here to teach everyone a lesson in friendship and humanity.

Good girl little Kona, you did :-)

Yes, you're right. Yet another life lesson delivered by our four legged family members.

Like I said on FB, GPS transmitter... ;-)

I think everyone who helped out could so easily put themselves in your shoes and feel your pain way too intensely and it made the decision to help out a no-brainer. I am SO GLAD this story had such a happy ending.

And VERY interesting about the "got the puppy" phone call Cindy received. I'm glad whoever found Kona was kind enough to return her. And I hope Cindy is enjoying her cruise!

Lucy had some kind of trial GPS transmitter put in at UC Davis. Needing a power source is still a limitation (can you tell I've thought about this already). Apparently Neat, Solar's dam, is an escape artist and Bindi, Kona's dam, is a climber. Now I know I have the perfect family tree for climbing and escaping, sigh.

Kona should have come with a warning label... ;-)

I can't even imagine how helpless and awful you felt not being able to search yourself but how wonderful that so many people chipped in to help. Agility folk rock!

Thanks, agility folk really do rock.

I'm so glad she's home. I was so worried.

I am so glad Kona returned safely. That had to be so scary. She is just the most adorable puppy.

No need to say thank you. I know what its like to lose a dog. I can only imagine how much worse it is when you are out of town and cant do anything. I was glad to help.

A day or two before Kona went missing my Rift got spooked by thunder while out to pee at 2am and jumped our 6 foot fence in literally 5 secs. My husband and I were driving around in our PJ's in the pouring rain. Luckily we found him quickly. We have lots of farm land etc closely. I knew exactly how you felt. It is heart wrenching for sure. I am so glad you got Kona back relatively quickly too. Rift's father is an escape artist too so I think he inherited the gene. Anyway Kerilyn glad you have her back and are home again.

The day Kona went missing I looked at the house we're buying. The fence is six feet tall, PVC, and has a two foot deep concrete foundation AND rollers on the top.

I chuckled. Such overkill. Who would install uch a silly fence.

I have SUCH a different perspective on that fence now.

I'm so glad she turned up. For her sake, for your sake, for Cindy's sake (she was SOOO upset) and just in general.

I do get to spank her when I see her though.

"The baggage handlers moaned when they opened the cargo door in Fresno, and for whatever reason decided to take the dog out of his crate."

What the hell? That is a really REALLY bad idea. Now I know why I ziptie Ten's crate about 8 times to make sure it won't come open and no baggage handler will decide to OPEN her crate. Gah. Scary, scary.

So glad to hear that Kona is home!!:) Such a scary circumstance but how wonderful it had such a good outcome. As for the poopy plane...*gag*!:) The poor dog though...I am sure he was a bit traumatized by the whole affair, and his owner had a bit of a rude awaking waiting for them at baggage claim for sure!:)

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