7 On Your Side
Man reunited with dog after United Airlines paperwork snafu
Imagine hoping to come home on a plane with your dog and your dog didn't make it back with you. That's what happened to a military man who was coming home for a reunion with his family. Josh Bulla is a Bay Area native and has served in the U.S. Navy in Guam for three years. He was heading back stateside, but It wasn't until after he landed that he got the disturbing news about his dog.
Bulla and his wife Inna Gehnin have had Congo since he was a puppy. Bulla is a Navy petty officer and has been stationed in Guam for three years, with Congo at his side.
Gehnin lives here in the Bay Area. She was completing her nursing degree when she got word that Bulla was being transferred stateside.
"It's always amazing. I always run out and give him a huge hug and I never want to let him go after that," Gehnin said.
Bulla and Congo flew into San Diego on United Airlines where Bulla will be stationed at Camp Pendleton. When he landed, Bulla immediately went to the cargo area to reunite with his best friend.
"They said he wasn't there and that they didn't even know where he was," Bulla said.
"I was thinking the worst case scenario, you know someone forgot about him. No one is feeding him," Gehnin said.
Bulla felt helpless while he waited for news about Congo.
"It was more stressful, that, you know, he's like my son. You know, my best friend," Bulla said.
"I called and I didn't give up. I kept calling, calling. I was on hold for hours on end, got hung up on," Gehnin said.
Finally friends suggested the couple call 7 On Your Side. They did, and 7 On Your Side contacted United and within hours, the airlline was able to locate Congo. He was found in Hawaii.
United provided this statement by phone: "We didn't provide him the service he would have liked and we aim to offer to our customers. We went ahead and refunded him that fee."
"He was happy and he seemed well fed and they played with him with toys and everything," Bulla said.
He said several United employees went above and beyond to help find Congo. The couple was also thankful for 7 On Your Side.
"Definitely 7 On Your Side because they think if it wasn't for them, we would probably still be looking for Congo," Gehnin said.
According to the Department of Transportation, six dogs have been reported lost on commercial flights in the last 3.5 years. In this case, United says that a paperwork snafu caused the mishap and it has apologized to Bulla and Gehnin.
united airlines, animal, navy, 7 on your side, michael finney
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