Cat-Sniffing Dog Aids Search For American Cat Lost and Found at Islamabad Airport

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Can you imagine? Birdy’s pet parents work for the US Govt. and were leaving Pakistan to come home when she escaped her carrier. Amy Hamelin returned to Islamabad and managed to find and capture the disoriented cat with the help of a special cat sniffing dog.

Birdy traveled in 2010 with her pet parents to live in Pakistan for a year. The family  booked a flight to return home on July 3, when Amy, her husband Chris De Angelis and the family’s two cats, Tiger and Birdy, who were firmly secured in pet carriers, headed to Benazhir Bhutto Airport in Islamabad. Chris happened to notice a brown cat running on the airport tarmac before takeoff but thought nothing of it … not until later.

The family’s baggage was all accounted for when the plane landed in Doha on the way back home, but a Qatar Airways representative stopped Amy and Chris at the loading gate and informed them that one of the cats was missing. The family continued the trip back to the States in a distraught state, landing in Northern VA, at which point Amy made a formal complaint and inquiry and sought free fare from the airline so she could return to Pakistan and look for her missing cat, since discovered to be 3 year old Birdy.

Amy did not necessarily feel confident of finding Birdy but wanted to know she had done her best to search for her, so she made the long trip back to Pakistan.

The airport and airline were both very cooperative and a cat-sniffing dog was brought in to assist with the search. A few cats were rounded up in the process but none fit Birdy’s description. Amy had managed to have missing cat flyers posted in Islamabad, so anyone spotting her cat could have reported the sighting, and a confirmation might have been made with the dog.

Once back on the scene, Amy at first walked around with an electric toothbrush running, since Birdie was known to respond and come around at the sound, but the ploy didn’t work. After about 15 minutes with Amy following the dog and his handler around the tarmac the dog started barking and the handler said he’d seen a brown cat run off. Luckily, the dog cornered the cat, who was in fact Birdy. Birdy said it with claws when her mom reached out and grabbed her, but she was back in safe hands once again.

In this instance there was a benefit to the cat when she was sniffed out, barked at, chased and cornered by a dog. Thanks, doggie, for doing your job.

After the trip back home to VA Amy and Birdy rested and restored themselves after their ordeal and a vet check showed that Birdy had only minor cuts on her feet and would be fine.

We can only try to imagine the feeling of learning a family pet has been lost in transit halfway around the world, and then the joy of finding them again.

0 thoughts on “Cat-Sniffing Dog Aids Search For American Cat Lost and Found at Islamabad Airport”

  1. Hi. This is Birdy’s mom. Thanks for writing such a nice feature on her adventure. All of this coverage is starting to go to her head!

    She seems to have recovered fully and is enjoying life as a lap kitty. To think she would have become an airport stray struggling to find food and water in a totally inhospitable environment if we hadn’t found her – or I should say if the dog hadn’t found her.

    I know very little about the dog – it was small with a red coat and very business-oriented. He wasn’t much interested in being petted. When I held out some of Birdy’s toys for the dog to sniff, the owner sort of laughed and said “Don’t worry madam, my dog can find all cats.” The point was that I wanted him to find MY cat. And he did.

    By the way, she escaped when her kennel fell 4 feet from the conveyor belt onto the tarmac as she was being loaded onto the plane. The kennel broke in several places and the door flew open and she ran out. For all those traveling with kitties, be sure to invest in a good kennel and reinforce it with security ties, duct tape, bungee cords, etc. to be absolutely sure that your pet will not be able to get out should something terrible happen.



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