What did they do with my puppy?

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Local St. Bernard breeder recounts struggle with airline

    Alpine Mountain. Night Blu Sky v,Cache Retreat (her American Kennel Club registration name), is the newest addition to Jeff Creasey’s Notorious Tru Saints kennel in Bedford County. Creasey is a nationally known St. Bernard breeder and show dog handler. The 11 week old St. Bernard puppy looks like a big, fluffy stuffed toy, wags her tail and likes to sit in laps and kiss faces if given the opportunity. Her arrival in Bedford, however, was not so pleasant. The airline that was shipping her from Utah to Roanoke lost her, didn’t know where she was and, according to Creasey, didn’t seem particularly interested in solving the problem. It took Creasey more than 30 frantic hours to find her.


    Breeders typically ship puppies by air to other breeders. Therefore, the airline in question wasn’t doing anything unusual when Alpine Mountain, the Utah kennel where the fluffy puppy was born shipped her by air to Roanoke.
    Creasey said St. Bernard breeders in the U. S. all know each other. He describes them as being like a family. Like a family, they may not all like each other, but they are a family. The folks who own Alpine Mountain apparently like Creasey and contacted him asking if he would like to buy the puppy for his kennel. He agreed and paid $10,000 for her. She has an AKC pedigree that consists of a line of multiple national champions that goes back to 1962.
    She was shipped by air on an itinerary that Creasey was assured would be the fastest, least stressful route for the puppy. Creasey said he paid for a climate controlled flight.
    “This was supposed to be the best puppy care you could buy,” he said.
    The puppy left Utah at 12:15 p,m. and arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport at 4:15 p.m. This is where things went wrong. A woman was having a German Shepherd puppy shipped from Dallas, Texas to  Roanoke. Her puppy also had a connecting flight at O’Hare and the airline somehow failed to get the dog on that connecting flight. The airline apparently thought it had a quick and dirty solution to the problem.
    “They bumped my puppy off her original flight,” Creasey said.
    Creasy’s puppy was officially scheduled for a later flight. The airline appears to have thought it solved the problem, delaying the delivery of Creasey’s puppy by only two hours.
    The airline’s solution ended up creating a nightmare for Creasey. The flight the puppy was supposed to be on was cancelled, but that may not have mattered because the airline appears to have forgotten all about her. Creasey, who had a tracking number for the puppy, was able discover during the course of his ordeal that that airline had scanned her aboard her original connecting flight, but had failed to scan her off when she was bumped. It appears that, from that point on, they had lost track of her.
    Creasey said that what really disturbs him is the lack of concern on the part of the airline’s representatives in Roanoke. What especially disturbs him is that this was not a case of lost luggage or a misdirected package.
    “This is a living animal,” he said.
    Creasey is passionate about St. Bernards and loves his dogs. He actually investigates his customers to ensure that he’s selling a puppy to people who will provide a good home.
    “These guys are my kids,” he said.
    As time went on, and his puppy didn’t arrive, Creasey became increasingly frantic. He also became increasingly insistent and, at one point, the airline representative threatened to call airport security on him when he refused to be satisfied with a 1-800 number and no answer about his puppy’s whereabouts. Creasey called this a “1-800 screw you” number and he knew the airline representative had direct numbers to people who could give him answers.
    Creasey called the puppy’s breeder in Utah, but the airline representative didn’t want to talk to the breeder. Creasey ended up putting his cell phone on speaker phone and turned it toward  the airline representative with the camera on. According to Creasey, the airline representative’s constant reply was that the missing puppy was not her problem. He said she then got her supervisor who, Creasey said, had an even worse attitude.
    “They were more interested in defending themselves than fixing the problem,” Creasey said. “I just wanted my puppy found.”
    Eventually, after a 10 hour wait, Creasey learned that the airline didn’t know where his pup was. They didn’t know if she was in Dallas, Chicago, or Orlando, Florida.
    Eventually Creasey, with the help of some dog-breeder friends, came to the conclusion that she was still at O’Hare. He insisted that the airline put him on a flight to O’Hare. By the time he got there, airline employees had found his puppy. Creasey believes the airline’s employees at O’Hare hadn’t even looked in the airline’s freight storage area to see if they could find the dog before then.
    Creasy pulled a frightened, hungry, thirsty puppy out of the pet carrier. The dog had not had food in 30 hours and the water in the two water dishes in the pet carrier was completely frozen solid. Creasey said this indicates that the puppy did not get the climate controlled flight he had paid for. Fortunately, St. Bernards have long, very thick coats. Creasey said a flight like that would have killed a puppy from a thin-coated breed.
    “They were very lucky that she was still alive,” He said.
    A week of tender loving care has calmed her, although Creasey said she’s crate shy, now, after her experience.