TORONTO - The new owner of a rescue dog that went missing after being let out of a crate at Canada's busiest airport said he's relieved his pet was found before any harm came to the animal.
Jordan Wong said he and his family were anxious throughout the hours-long hunt for Emily, a 4.5-kilogram dog that had been brought to Canada from Greece as part of a rescue effort.
Emily had been on Canadian soil for barely an hour when customs officials allegedly opened her crate to give her a walk on Monday. At that point, Emily bolted and raced across the highway near Toronto's Pearson International Airport, according to Stray Paws from Greece, the rescue group that co-ordinated her adoption.
Wong said he and his family waited at the airport for eight hours while searchers scoured the area for Emily, but eventually had to go home without the pet they'd been eagerly awaiting for the past three weeks.
On Tuesday morning, however, a Toronto woman found the dog and brought her to a local veterinary clinic where the pup was eventually identified.
Wong said he's relieved the dog was brought to safety before being injured by a car or being lost indefinitely.
"I think we definitely had our doubts at times, but we definitely tried to stay positive most of the time," he said. "It worked out in the end, and we're really grateful."
Stray Paws could not immediately be reached for comment but alleged in a Facebook post that Emily was lost while being processed through customs in Toronto.
The company accused the Canada Borders Services Agency of not following proper protocols when handling Emily and four other dogs who had made the journey. The group also alleged the border agency did not assist with the search or contact the proper authorities.
Wong echoed the criticism, saying his family has yet to hear from the agency over their new pet's disappearance.
"They never spoke to us directly. They never apologized," he said. "It's pretty unethical for them to do something like that."
The ordeal was trying for other families waiting to receive dogs off the flight, he added, since no one knew for some time exactly whose new pet had gone missing.
CBSA declined to offer comments on allegations from either Wong or Stray Paws.
Wong said the family plans to take Emily to her new home as soon as possible, adding they've spent the past few weeks getting the house ready for her arrival.
"We've done so many home renovations just for her and we're super-excited to have her," he said.