ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) – An appreciated show dog is back with his loving owner on Tuesday after a wild adventure at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Gale, an American Staffordshire Terrier, was missing Saturday after being checked in for a flight near the international terminal. Officials said that Gale came out of his coffin and walked on the airfield.
The airport called in two of its experts on staff. Steven Boyd and Jeff Miller are airport wildlife biologists. They are usually instructed to keep the wildlife away from the runway and the property, but they quickly switched gears to help the domestic animal.
An intensive search of the property of 4,700 hectares began almost immediately, but their first major break came on Sunday when Gale was discovered in a part of the airport called the quarry. Boyd and Miller spent the whole day on Monday looking for the evening, even during a hail storm, to track down the missing dog.
"We had some pretty serious searching all over the airport but we knew she moved into the quarry," Miller said.
Monday morning, Gale was again revealed in the same area at the airport.
"We focused most of our search there because we knew she wouldn't come out," Miller said.
"We were under the impression that she was there for protection and water," Boyd said. Adding the area is also below the route, which makes it a bit quieter than the rest of the property.
"It's a sewage base, so with the rain last night there could have been a low level of water that could have been dangerous to her," Miller said.
But fortunately Gale stayed in the perimeter and covered in some of the bushes under the heavy rain and the hail Monday evening.
Tuesday morning, they t ried another tactic. They brought Gale owners to the quarry to try to lure her out. He went down into the rocky area and began to call his name. It took about 20 minutes or so for the show dog to be pulled from her hiding place, but when she did it was pure joy.
"Just to see that dog and the connection with the owner. And that dog jumped four-feet high and was super excited and easy that she didn't have to spend another night out in the wild," Boyd said.
Boyd and Miller are a jack-of-all-trades at the airport in their efforts to keep wildlife and air travel safe. They fix fences, shed animals and even use pyrotechnics to spread animals, but this week they can add dog tracking to the list.