Search underway in Hamilton for dog put on wrong WestJet flight – Hamilton

A search is underway in Hamilton for a labradoodle named Cooper, who was put on a WestJet plane to Hamilton instead of Newfoundland by mistake.

The dog’s owners flew into the city and have been searching desperately Thursday for it, while the city is in the middle of a massive rain and thunderstorm. 

“My legs are aching and wet, and I’m starting to feel hopeless,” said Terri Pittman, who lives in Halifax but is in Hamilton to search Thursday. 

Pittman put her dog on a flight from Halifax to Deer Lake, N.L., on Wednesday. Her parents were supposed to pick him up to take care of him while Pittman and her roommate are planning to fly to Jamaica in a few days to go to a wedding.

But instead the dog was put on a flight to Hamilton.

“We’ll stay out as late as we have to.”
– Lori Brodie, animal search and rescue volunteer

WestJet called to tell her that Cooper had arrived about midnight on Wednesday. “I got a call saying they’d put my dog on the wrong flight to a totally different province,” she said. 

When airline staff let the dog out to pee, it escaped its collar. 

At one point yesterday, Pittman told Westjet over the phone to put Cooper’s crate, left open and with familiar-smelling things inside, by the road so that he might come back to it. It was there for several hours, Pittman said, “but someone stole it a few hours ago,” she told CBC Hamilton on Thursday evening.

‘One of the worst days of my life’

Pittman flew to Hamilton herself Thursday morning and has been searching ever since. She said several people came along to search on Airport Road and nearby.

“I heard about it on the 6 ‘o clock news,” said Shannon Sacco, an area resident. “So my mom and I decided to come and help.” Sacco said she saw about eight other cars on the road outside the airport, driving slowly with their blinkers on.

“The community of Mount Hope and Hamilton have been amazing,” Pittman said. “Random people have messaged me saying they want to help.”

But unfortunately, as of late Thursday evening, there’s still been no firm sign of Cooper.

“It’s been one of the worst days of my life,” said an exhausted Pittman, standing inside the door of the airport in Mount Hope on Thursday evening, as torrents of rain battered down outside. She said she hadn’t slept in at least two days.

But tips and sightings continued to roll in through social media. “He’s in Brantford,” Pittman said at one point, as a new sighting was reported on Facebook.

Pittman is getting support from 3 women from a volunteer organization called “the Dream Team.” They perform searches and rescues for lost animals regularly. They advised Pittman to temper her expectations about the Brantford sighting.

The Dream Team, a group of local volunteers who help with search and rescue initiatives for lost pets. (Dave Beatty)

But they were resolute about continuing the search.

“We all have fur babies,” said Lori Brodie, one of the volunteers. “That’s why we do this.”

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