'I only hope that we can do half as good a job of taking care of him as the United staff did,' said the pilot.
The tales of pet animals being abandoned because the owners don't want to or can't take care of them are heartbreaking. While some people are responsible enough to look for a new home for their furry friend, some abandon them in the streets with nobody to look after them. This is what happened to an adorable puppy as he was abandoned at the San Francisco International airport, reports The Guardian.
According to the San Francisco SPCA and press sources, the young puppy, named Polaris, arrived at a US airport on an international trip, but his owner opted to continue traveling without him due to paperwork issues for the animal. However, Polaris proved to be extremely lucky as the animal welfare organization and United Airlines worked together to find a new home for the adorable pup. Fortunately, he was eventually adopted by Captain William Dale, a pilot for United Airlines, and his family just in time for the holidays.
A puppy was abandoned at an airport. Then a United pilot adopted him. 🥰https://t.co/ZCNiPTE5iR— United Airlines Pilots (@UnitedPilots) December 24, 2022
Dale told Washington Post, "I only hope that we can do half as good a job of taking care of him as the United staff did. More than one employee said to me, ‘You better take good care of him … or else.’ There was even a wag of a finger." When a traveler on a United flight from China—one of the nations with a high risk of rabies—failed to produce proper documents for importing an animal, the puppy was not permitted to enter the US by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as per the regulations for animals. The owner chose to give up his 6-month-old german shepherd mix and take a flight to the East Coast. The CDC advised United to choose between returning the dog to China or leaving him at SFO. However, neither option would result in a good conclusion for the dog.
Polaris, whom they had called after the airline's business class, was in danger but Vincent Passafiume, United’s director of customer service and his SFO crew would not accept it. They made the decision to take a different path and sought assistance from the company's governmental affairs departments in Washington and San Francisco. The staff urged the CDC to overturn the decision. Polaris was given a respite, but the organization mandated a four-month quarantine. During this time, the pup lived on the airport premises and was provided with a bed, toys and somebody to look after him at every hour. United Airlines then flew him to San Francisco in first class to complete his quarantine. Meanwhile, they started looking for a forever home with the help of the San Francisco SPCA.
“An international passenger had arrived from China at SFO without the proper paperwork and his travel companion had abandoned him at customs” https://t.co/vWvOu5beoX— Bill Bishop (@niubi) December 24, 2022
Polaris' ideal family would be chosen by the SPCA, but United set one restriction that only airline employees may apply. “We really wanted him to go to someone in our United family, because of how much our team rallied around him,” Passafiume said. The crew narrowed down the best five applications from 35 received by the rescue center. The winner was then selected from the proverbial (dog) bowl. It was Dale and his family of four with a young son and daughter. He expressed his joy by saying, "I thought his story was incredible. but I honestly didn’t think we were going to get lucky."
Passafiume said, "It’s a great feeling to see this story come full circle and that Polaris will have a loving home with United Airlines Captain Dale and his family – just in time for the holidays." He added, "I am going to miss the heck out of him." Lisa Feder, chief of rescue and animal welfare at the San Francisco SPCA, said, "Without question, the United team went above and beyond for this animal. There’s a saying in the animal welfare world: ‘One dog won’t change the world, but the world will change for one dog.’ "