Keep your friends close, enemies closer, and your pets the closest. This could be the moral of Ekaterina and Eva’s story. Ekaterina (Katya, or Kate, as she calls herself on Instagram) was in a vacation mood as she boarded her flight to Simferopol at Domodedovo airport in Sochi, Russia. She and her family were going to the sea, and along came Eva, their rescue dog. They wanted to have Eva by their side, but the company said that there were no more places left, so they sent her to the luggage section. The staff secured the animal carrier and sent her off for processing. In Simferopol, the family waited for their dog, but after an hour of waiting, they realized that she never took the flight… And thus an odyssey began.

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Meet Eva and Ekaterina, who wanted to bring Eva to Simferopol along with her family for a vacation

Image credits: iamkate_thegreat

They wanted Eva in the passenger section, but there were no places left, so they had to bring her in the baggage section

Image credits: iamkate_thegreat

Katya put Eva in a brand-new carrier and gave her to the handling staff at the Domodedovo airport. The employees secured the carrier with a zip-lock tie. At this point, everything was going as per usual.

As they arrived to Simferopol, they waited for Eva to show up, but she never did, and they realized that the staff hadn’t boarded her

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However, after they arrived at Simferopol, a sea resort destination in Crimea, they waited for Eva for a whole hour, but she never showed up. That’s when they realized that she wasn’t even boarded into the flight. They submitted a lost luggage application at the airport of Simferopol, and the airport allegedly sent it to Domodedovo airport. However, the next day, Domodedovo airport claimed that they hadn’t even heard from the Simferopol airport. Keep this in mind, as the blame game got a little bit more complicated as it progressed.

The employees at Domodedovo airport said that the dog escaped, but the owners were not informed about it

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Katya soon learned that the staff at Domodedovo airport was well aware that the dog wasn’t boarded—she had run away before getting loaded onto the plane—and that they were looking for her. What surprised Ekaterina was that Domodedovo didn’t contact her immediately to tell her. The next day, Domodedovo changed their stance and said that they’re not obliged to look for dogs, and nobody knew about the fate of the dog. Then they said that they even used search dogs to look for Eva, but Katya’s relatives said that they never saw such an effort, even though they stayed there from 2 PM to 2 AM almost every day.

The indifference and the refusal to take responsibility about the situation shocked Ekaterina

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Despite denying accountability, Domodedovo assured her that they sent the application to the airline company, but the airline stated that they never received such an application. This continuous mix of indifference, avoidance of responsibility and blaming was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and Katya contacted the media to exert pressure, and the companies took action only after the police were involved.

The handling company issued a statement that the dog managed to break the lock by herself, but it seems highly unlikely

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The responsibility finally fell on the handling company. Interestingly enough, the company was accused of killing two cats due to mishandling not that long ago. Apparently, they treated animals just like any other luggage, and were throwing them around without care. After that infamous incident, they promised to update their standards, but as Eva’s case shows, they never implemented them.

While the handling company said that no one could catch the dog, the leaked video shows that the dog was seen, but nobody really cared

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The handling company also claimed that the dog snuck by without anyone ever noticing, but as the leaked footage shows, some people actually did see Eva, but were indifferent. As the attention to the incident ramped up, so did the insanity. Some people actually tried to accuse Katya and her family of buying a bad carrier, that they just wanted to make money out of this whole farce, etc., etc. Katya ardently denied these accusations.

As the public outrage mounted, Domodedovo airport let the volunteers inside its territory to look for the dog

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But not all of the people were the villains in this story. Many people volunteered to help search for Eva. Even though the Domodedovo airport was reluctant to let people inside their territory, they gave in to the public pressure, and let the search party look for the puppy.

Ekaterina’s parents and volunteers searched day and night. Katya returned from Simferopol to help the efforts

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For three days, Katya’s hands were tied because she was in Simferopol and couldn’t do much over the distance, but eventually, she came back and joined the search efforts.

In a desperate attempt, they decided to lure the dog in with the smell of her treats and Ekaterina’s sweatshirt

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Nothing seemed to work, and as each day passed, everything seemed more and more hopeless. They wanted to try one last thing before they hired a professional animal catcher. Ekaterina left her sweatshirt and her treats in a carrier box that Eva was more used to. All they could do was wait.

And finally, at 4AM, someone managed to spot Eva and catch her

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And finally, someone caught her in the middle of the night. The plan worked! Eva was lured by a familiar scent.

The dog was scared, hungry and tired, but quickly recovered after Ekaterina rejoined with her

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“I was crying all morning from happiness”

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Ekaterina was over the moon when she heard the news. “The best news that you can ever hear is when they call you and say that your dog has been found.”

Ekaterina urged others to learn from her mistakes, and recommended choosing airlines that accommodated pets

Image credits: iamkate_thegreat

Katya warned others that the same could happen to anyone. She recommended choosing airlines that accommodate pets and stated that she would never fly like this ever again. Following the public outcry, the handling company issued a somber statement about updating its standards, but only time will tell if they’re honest.

But in the end, all’s well that ends well

Image credits: iamkate_thegreat