When the owner of Larry the Italian Greyhound died of cancer, a friend found him a good home with a family in British Columbia, Canada. He just had to get there. She put him on an Air Canada flight with strict instructions not to let him out of his crate…but an Air Canada employee did. He ran away, and no one knew what happened to him for more than two weeks. Larry, it turns out, was hit by a car outside of the airport and rushed to a nearby vet. He was too badly injured, and euthanized at the clinic.
Of course, Larry’s case was famous not just because a cute dog went missing. No, Larry’s story made headlines because an employee of Air Canada’s public relations department mixed up the “reply” and “forward” buttons. When a Sacramento TV station asked for details about how the animal got out of a secure crate, they received this now-infamous response intended for another member of the PR staff:
I think I would just ignore, it is local news doing a story on a lost dog. Their entire government is shut down and about to default and this is how the US media spends its time.
It was the media attention and search effort that helped find Larry in the end. Early rumors were true, and he was hit by a car on Highway 101 near the airport. Some Good Samaritans, and apparently not the driver of the car that hit him, picked him up and brought him to the hospital. His injuries were critical, and the couple who picked him up off the highway stayed with the dog until he was euthanized. However, no one at the veterinary clinic made the connection between the critically injured dog they had treated and the dog missing from the airport. How this oversight happened isn’t clear, especially when volunteers and Air Canada staff were supposedly checking with local vets.
“Finally, one of their staff members was going through the records, saw this Good Samaritan record and said, ‘Oh my goodness, this is the dog everybody is looking for,'” Larry’s guardian explained to the Vancouver Sun.
The dog’s crate had been sealed with zip ties, and airline personnel were instructed not to open it. Apparently an Air Canada worker in San Francisco cut the ties to take Larry for a walk when his flight was canceled. The employee must have meant well, but didn’t know that greyhounds can be skittish and fast. Instead of being loaded on a later flight as planned, Larry escaped the airport and ended up on the highway.
The temporary guardian who found Larry a new home and couple who planned to adopt the dog were all very sad to learn that the dog didn’t survive, but glad that he died surrounded by caring people, and not in pain. The adopters in Canada will adopt Larry’s brother instead, and Air Canada will fly them to Ohio to pick him up. They will fly home with the dog, which is small enough to fit under an airline seat, in the cabin, not in cargo.
B.C.-bound dog lost by Air Canada staff dies after being hit by a car [Vancouver Sun]
Death of Larry the greyhound confirmed; dog lost by airline while on way to Island [Times Colonist]
Larry The Italian Greyhound Euthanized After Getting Loose From Air Canada Workers [CBS Sacramento]