Last updated: 10:08 AM ET, Mon May 04 2015

United Steps Up To Reunite Lost Pooch With Family In Style

Airlines & Airports | Tom Bastek | May 04, 2015

United Steps Up To Reunite Lost Pooch With Family In Style

PHOTO: Sam Lambert, the Yorkshire Terrier who found his way home after a decade. (courtesy WGNO)

A perserving pooch who had through a hellish journey returned to his family via a first-class plane ride thanks to United Airlines.

Some folks may never fly first class their entire lives.  Many of the folks who do consider themselves to be a lucky dog.  Not as lucky as a persevering Yorkshire Terrier named Sam.

The Lambert family of New Orleans lost Sam in 2011, just shortly after giving the then-six-year-old dog as a present to their daughter. They had basically given up hope until they received a phone call just two weeks ago. Four years after Sam had gone missing, he was located 1,000 miles away in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

“Somebody had to take it to Iowa. It had the microchip in it,” Thomas Lambert explained to ABC News when asked it the dog could have been stolen. “We were waiting to hear around here if someone found him. They would have called us. After four years, you kind of give up hope."

But there was a problem.  The dog was in Iowa and they had no money to fly him home.  They had raised a portion of the money they needed through a GoFundMe page but were unsure how they would get the rest. 

That is when United came to the rescue.  They decided to pay for the first-class flight for the pooch to come home to New Orleans.

When the dog and a shelter worker arrived, they were greeted by Sam’s original family as well as balloon and refreshments to celebrate the reunion. 

“This just makes all of us feel really, really happy that we can make this miracle come true for this family and their little dog," Diane Webber, Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control program manager, said in a statement. "Sam was found during Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week, and all of us taking care of this dog and finding a way to reunite him with his family really bonded us together in a special way.”

The owners said that they were unsure where Sam had been for the last four years, but were glad that when he finally ended up at a shelter, that they had microchipped him. 

"All those years, I  thought I would never see him again, and here I am with my dog back home,” teenager Karisa Lambert told New Orleans TV station WGNO. She had received Sam as a gift for her 10th birthday, but he went missing soon after. “I’m really happy about it." 

The money that was raised to pay for the pooch to fly will now be used to bring him back to health.  When he was found at the shelter he weighed a little over five pounds and was quite straggly.

So the next time you are lucky enough to score a first class seat and are happy to go home to see your pooch think of Sam, who is now snuggly at home with his owners.


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