Photo Credit: United Airlines
Dog Abandoned At San Francisco Airport Gets Adopted By United Airlines Pilot
A United Airlines pilot gained a new companion while on the job. The pilot adopted an abandoned 6-month-old German shepherd at San Francisco International Airport.
The pup arrived in San Francisco in late August from China. The original owner abandoned the German Shepherd and headed to New York after not having the proper documents.
United Airlines’ representative Vincent Passafiume told the Washington Post, “The (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) had some concern about the validity of the paperwork. It was part of our responsibility, too.”
Few options for the abandoned German Shepherd
Due to the CDC’s strict restrictions about animals arriving from high-risk countries for rabies, the dog was not allowed to enter the country.
“The initial options were very grim. He would be euthanized upon getting back to China or locally put down,” said Passafiume.
United Airlines urged the CDC to reconsider its decision about the dog. The airline even gave the pup a name after its business class — Polaris.
The CDC compromised and allowed Polaris to enter the country as long as the dog quarantined for four months. Polaris spent his time at the airport and garnered fame among travelers and staff. He was then flown first class to the quarantine station in Los Angeles.
Airline officials began discussions with the San Francisco SPCA regarding Polaris being adopted. However, the only way he could have been adopted was through a company employee.
“We really wanted him to go to someone in our United family, because of how much our team rallied around him,” said Passafiume.
35 employees applied, and the SPCA ultimately chose Captain William Dale, who had recently moved to San Francisco with his family.
Dale tells the Washington Post, “I only hope that we can do half as good a job of taking care of him as the United staff did.” He shares, “More than one employee said to me, ‘You better take good care of him…or else.’ There was even a wag of a finger.”
Polaris’ adoption party
Polaris received a warm adoption party at the airport’s Terminal 3 on December 15th. The airport’s team of comfort dogs attended, and they turned up to canine treats and cupcakes.
The adoption was completed last week, and Passafiume shares, “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.”