This is a pretty heart-wrenching story, all told. And it'll be even worse if you're a pet owner — Delta Airlines lost a passenger's dog, and frankly, the mere thought of receiving news like that is upsetting to consider. The man in question, Frank Ramano, is making as public a plea as he can in the hopes of finding the little guy, whose name is Ty, but to this point he hasn't been found.
Ramano was set to depart from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) en route to Florida, where had had to be for a few weeks, as he told Tampa's local CNN affiliate WTSP. He didn't want to leave his beloved pit bull terrier behind for that length of time, however, so he decided to bring him along. But Ty never made it to Florida, instead apparently vanishing from the airplane's kennel hold, and hasn't been seen since. Now, Ramano is expressing outrage at Delta for their response, accusing the airline of changing their story about what happened to Ty, and not treating the situation with the urgency it demands.
Posters with his photos are currently up around LAX, so hopefully somebody spots him somewhere — he went missing all the way back on Oct. 31, however, so the situation is pretty bad.
It's all about as heartbreaking as it gets — in the interests of full disclosure, I own a dog myself, so I may be particularly susceptible to fearing this sort of thing — and it's even worse to hear Ramano's story in detail. After boarding, according to his account, Ramano was called off the plane and was told by a Delta employee that Ty had run off, but had been recovered, and that they needed him to identify the dog. Minutes later, however, Ramano says the story changed, with Delta saying Ty had chewed through his kennel bars, run away onto the tarmac, and hadn't been found.
He went missing October 31, in the nighttime, and they wouldn't give me a straight answer, no concrete answer. They kept flipping the story.
Ramano also claims he received a call from Delta days after Ty's disappearance, erroneously claiming that he actually had arrived in Florida, which further fueled Ramano's suspicions that he was being misled. Not that the story needs any more heartache, but it's worth noting that Ty was apparently a pivotal part of Ramano's life. Ramano was homeless when he adopted Ty, hopping from motel to motel, and he credits him for helping him endure his hardest times.
He also claims Delta offered him a $200 credit for another flight to compensate for all the trouble, which Ramano refused, vowing he'd never fly on Delta again. While there's no certainty yet how exactly this all played out, if Ramano was indeed offered a $200 credit, I can't say I'd blame him for balking at that offer, and feeling pretty enraged about it. The idea of trying to compensate for something as traumatic as a lost dog — in a very real sense, a lost loved one — with a couple hundred bucks is a little outrageous, regardless of the circumstances that led up to it.
Ramano is in Florida currently, despite delaying his trip for days to try to track down his missing dog — while it's unclear what he's out there for, it seems pretty clear he'd rather be back home hunting for Ty. He told ABC News as much on Wednesday:
I keep praying and wishing for him to come back. He’s my best friend. He would cheer me up when I was down. He would put his head on my leg or stomach and look at me with his puppy dog eyes. ... If I could I would go back to LA in a heartbeat. I bet I could find Ty faster than Delta can.