Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the busiest in the world, has thousands passing through it every day. They in-clude locals throughout the ATL (my last time there was in May 2018 in a memorable trip to Croatia), international visitors, folks from around the country, and let’s not forget cats, dogs and animals that travel.
Back in late March, an international prize-winning show dog named Gale went missing at the Atlanta Airport (and environs). In an improbable series of events—and a spoiler alert is appropriate here—she was thankfully found.
It all began when Gale, a 22-month old purebred Staffordshire terrier, was set to be loaded on a Dutch Airline KLM 622 bound for Amsterdam. Observers said that Gale was secure in her crate after going through airport security. But later the cri-sis began—10 minutes before boarding the plane handlers realized they’d lost the dog. No one to this day knows how Gale managed to get loose, but she did, incredibly left the terminal, and reached the wilds surrounding airport runways.
Give credit to Hartsfield-Jackson, which used all of its resources to find the lost dog. They included 2 wildlife airport biologists. Their usual duties are to keep wild animals off airport property but they adapted to guide intense searches on the 4,700-acre airport campus. Various partners, including the FAA and various airlines, monitored the flying fields as the search for lost dog Gale was underway.
The first big break came when searchers spotted Gale way out on the airport perimeter in a place called the rock quarry. Looking for her continued the next day in bad weather (remember our early spring hailstorm?). It appears that poor Gale was so terrified and disoriented that she wouldn’t come out of the quarry where she was hiding. She’d found shelter in an area below the flight line that wasn’t so loud.
After another day, searchers tried a new strategy: they brought Gale’s owner to the rock quarry to lure the terribly scared dog out. He called the canine over and over, taking about 20 minutes more to entice her out. But when she finally emerged, it was a touching reunion with pure joy. Gale excitedly jumped into her owner’s arms as shown in our headline photo and the two literally embraced each other. It was a case of all’s well that ends well, for the lost dog was finally found.
– Dr. Paul Hudson