Pup left behind at airport due to lack of papers finds forever home with United airlines pilot

As a pet owner, you’d want to travel anywhere together with your pet. Whether it’s the beach, the mountains, or the city, the trip would be even more special if you have your four-legged love with you.

Thankfully, it’s possible to do that these days, even if it means more documents to prepare, permits to secure, and fees to pay. All that’s worth it if it means not leaving your pet behind in a kennel or alone in your home.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the foresight to prepare for these things when traveling with pets, especially from one country to another. As a result, pets usually get left behind because of incomplete or invalid entry requirements.

United Airlines plane in the hangar
United Airlines

Such was the fate that befell Polaris, a six-month-old German Shepherd mix, who arrived with a traveler from China in late August.

Because the traveler had no proper documentation to import an animal, they decided to just travel on without their animal.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dogs entering the U.S. must meet specific criteria depending on where they’re coming from. They may need to quarantine, particularly if they’re coming from places with a high risk of rabies.

Polaris found a loving makeshift home in one of the airport offices
United Airlines

Polaris was quarantined at a facility in Los Angeles because there was no adequate quarantine facility in San Francisco. He stayed quarantined from September to early December until he was deemed safe to remain in the U.S.

Polaris, named by United Airlines employees after its business class, has been in good hands since then. The San Francisco United team took care of him 24/7 until they got permission to keep him in the U.S.

The pup stayed in one of the airport offices, where he was given his own bed and showered with treats, toys, and attention.

Employees of United Airlines holding the abandoned pup
United Airlines

And once it was time to find Polaris’s forever home, United got in touch with the San Francisco SPCA, stipulating that only United airline personnel could apply to adopt him.

According to Vincent Passafiume, Director of United Airlines’s customer service, they wanted Polaris to go to someone in their United family because of how much their team supported and cared for him.

The customer service team of United made sure that Polaris would have a safe and loving home. Four months after landing on U.S. soil, he found his forever home with William Dale, a United Airlines pilot.

It’s definitely a nice ending to the story of the abandoned puppy, just in time for the holidays.

Last December 15, United Airlines threw an adoption party for Polaris at the San Francisco airport where he was abandoned. Of course, the star of the party showed up in an adorable Santa costume together with his new family.

Polaris at his adoption party last December 15, 2022, with his new family
United Airlines

The airline also donated $5,000 to the San Francisco SPCA, which facilitated the dog adoption. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has the knowledge and expertise when it comes to adopting animals, with nearly 155 years of caring for and protecting pets.

As Polaris’s new owner, Captain Dale hopes to do a good job caring for their new family member as the United team did.

According to Dale, several employees sent their good wishes and even jokingly warned him to take care of the pup or else.

We love a happy ending for our four-legged friends. Polaris and United Airlines pilot William Dale’s story is much like this flight attendant’s story of how she came to be this dog’s parent.

The new fur parent shared that Polaris is adjusting well to his new home. He’s very thankful to the United team at San Francisco International Airport because their love and care made it easier for Polaris to transition to his new environment.

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