Where’s Waldo? Lost puppy reunited with owner at Sea-Tac Airport

By Mark Snider
Aviation Media Officer

Most of the reunions at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport are near baggage claim, but not so much for this duo. Waldo, a two-year old black lab mix, was flying to his new home in Seattle from a Houston shelter on September 21. The trip was uneventful until Waldo arrived outside the cargo facility and he got away from his new owner, Wes Boswell.

“We were crouched down right in front of it, but this guy just shot right out of the crate, slipped right through my arms, and just bolted,” Boswell said. “We couldn’t catch up with him that night, and we lost sight of him. We’ve been spending the past two weeks just looking for him. We’ve finally got him here.”

Wes is grateful for the work of Sea-Tac staff who helped reunite him with Waldo. Equally happy is Steve Osmek, the Airport Wildlife Manager. Osmek said the wayward pooch was spotted on the airfield on October 1, running across all three runways and disappearing on the west side of the airport. “We had no idea where the dog had been. There had been no sightings on the airfield for a week, so we assumed the dog had left again.” Still, Boswell had not abandoned his search for his new pet. As a recent transplant to Seattle himself, Wes was impressed with how the community reacted to his plight.

“Many, many sleepless nights. Posting flyers, posting on the Internet, talking to all the local shelters, the police. This city has been awesome. I had multiple – dozens of strangers reach out to me online, telling me, ‘hey, I live in the area, I’ll look for him.’ I had a couple of guys out of nowhere say, ‘hey, I want to help you look for nothing.’ Just complete strangers. And the airport staff here has been great – it’s been stressful, but I’ve had some great people helping me out.”
On the morning of October 8, Waldo was spotted again. Osmek contacted Boswell, who brought pieces of Waldo’s blanket. They put the fabric and treats in some traps, in an attempt to snag the wayward pooch. “We found a spot where it looked like the dog had been hanging out for a couple of days, we had no reason to believe the dog was still on the airfield – typically they go back to where they escaped, where the kennel had been,” Osmek added.

“A short time later, we caught him,” Osmek said. “Great story, very happy ending.”

Waldo was adopted from a shelter in Houston, Texas that needed to make room for animals displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Besides losing some weight and an apparent hurt left front leg, Waldo is in good shape. Boswell reports that the initial checkup from the veterinarian is positive and Waldo is getting used to his new home. Noting the irony of his dog’s name with an elusive cartoon character, Wes added, “He’s been Waldo his whole life. I guess he wanted to live up to his name.”

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