February 16th, 2006, 03:50 PM
This story is so sad, how can they just stop looking? Whippets are not ment to be out in the elments, especially when it's this cool outside.
February 16th, 2006, 04:04 PM
Oh this is sooo sad! I really do hope that they find her soon. The poor thing is going to be cold. I get the feeling though that someone must have taken her, if not directly from her kennel, when they found her. Hopefully, someone did find her and will return her to her rightful owner, but in the meantime she would be warm. I too don't know how they could just stop searching.
February 18th, 2006, 12:05 AM
I dread ever having to bring my doggies on a plane. When I worked for an airline for a short time, I heard horror stories. These ones usually start along the lines of "an employee let the dog out of its crate" because it was cute or something. Nevermind all the noise and unfamiliar surroundings.:rolleyes:
February 21st, 2006, 11:22 AM
Vivi may have been spotted.
February 22nd, 2006, 08:41 AM
The following is from Bo Bengtson, Vivi's breeder. He has asked me
to forward to as many dog lists as possible. Permission to forward
to all lists where permitted.
UPDATE ON THE SEARCH FOR VIVI
Following is an update on the search for Vivi, the Whippet who
was lost at JFK Airport on Wednesday morning, Feb. 15. As of Saturday
evening there is still no confirmed sighting, but the search
continues with assistance from the Port Authority, Animal Control and
many concerned helpers.
Since much incorrect and contradictory information has circulated
over the internet and in the media we want to establish the actual
sequence of events. I am sorry this is so long but for my peace of
mind want to get it all on record.
Vivi's owner Jil Walton and her sister checked Vivi in at the
Delta terminal at JFK approx. 9:45 AM on Wednesday morning. She was
travelling in her usual crate in which she has flown many times
before; it has a security bar across the gate (which I find difficult
to open even under normal circumstances). As all who know her are
aware, Vivi is totally unfazed by flying and loves her crate. As far
as is known nothing extraordinary occurred during the check-in. Vivi
was wearing a dark brown/black woollen coat and a broad collar with
Jil's phone number.
When Jil and her sister boarded the plane they saw the crate
being loaded. They then noticed a baggage handler peering into the
crate as if he were looking for something; a few minutes later the
stewardess came up to Jil and told her the crate was empty. Jil and
Jamie immediately disembarked and were told that Vivi had escaped
from her crate at some point between check-in and departure. No one
appeared to know exactly what had happened.
(We do not believe that any airline employee would deliberately
open the crate door, and even if they did Vivi most likely would stay
in her crate. I am personally convinced that the crate must have been
dropped hard enough for the gate to open and for Vivi to be startled
enough to get out. We will most likely never find out what happened.
The crate has been returned and appears undamaged except for the
broken spring lock.)
Vivi was spotted on the runway by Port Authority officials, who
tried to catch her. She was obviously disoriented and took off at top
speed, followed by several Port Authority vehicles. At one point they
managed to corner her, and the officer who approached her (in the
correct manner, kneeling down and talking to her) said she was
obviously panicked and only responded by escaping him. She was last
seen getting through the barbed wire fence which separates the
airport from the marsh and open water. This would have been any time
after check-in but prior to Jil being informed that Vivi was lost.
When Paul and I arrived, after having received a phone call on
our way to the airport approx. 3:00 PM, the airport authorities had
already escorted Jil and Jamie on a search around the entire airport,
with special emphasis on the area where she was last seen. They were
joined on different locations by several other Port Authority
vehicles and helicopters. The airport consists of 4900 acres of
almost completely flat land with only two small areas of dense brush
and trees. Our fear is that Vivi in her panic got too far out into
the water to get back; a Port Authority official searched the marsh
in a wetsuit without finding anything.
Searches of the areas immediately outside the airport during the
afternoon and evening proved fruitless. We had good help from Animal
Control officials, friends and the media, who broadcast the
disappearance and Vivi's photograph more widely than we could ever
have hoped for. The following day Jil, Jamie, Paul and I - in
different groups - were all given permission to search the airport,
accompanied by Port Authority officials. We found no new tracks in
the snow, which by then was already melting: the weather fortunately
has been exceptionally mild for New York in February this week.
Several other vehicles and helicopters were also searching.
A large number of dog lovers and friends, some in groups, helped
by searching the areas around the airport and passing out flyers. By
this time the media coverage had been so extensive that almost
everyone we talked to was aware of the lost Whippet. We gave as many
interviews as possible in the hope that someone might recognize Vivi
if they saw her.
One brief hope on Friday morning was a report that Vivi had been
sighted at 2:00 AM close to a construction site outside the airport.
Since no later sightings have confirmed the first one we believe it
must either be discounted (dozens of other "reported sightings"
turned out to be the wrong dog; Animal Control gets around 700 calls
per day), or that Vivi is hiding in the residential area nearby,
perhaps in a garage or a shed. I spoke to the woman who reported the
sighting and she gave a good description of Vivi, but by this time
her photo had appeared in most of the NY newspapers and on TV.
Paul and Honi Reisman once again gained access to the airport,
with special attention to the areas where Vivi might be hiding, all
of which are highly restricted and normally off limits to anyone
except police and specific airport employees. Traps have been set up
in different areas, inside the airport by the Port Authority and
outside by Animal Control. I accompanied a local journalist for
several hours cruising the streets where Vivi may have been sighted
and asked road crews, gas station attendants and people with dogs if
they had seen her. Everyone knew about Vivi but none had seen her.
With Paul staying behind, I left late Friday and got back to
California at 2:00 AM to take care of my dogs and try to deal with
some work, as well as several hundred emails, faxes and phone
messages from concerned dog lovers. Paul, together with Honi Reisman,
who is providing invaluable support, have been given permission to
search the cargo hangars which are the most likely areas Vivi might
be hiding. Several psychics who have offered their assistance agree
that she is hiding behind what seems to be cargo, that she is safe
but very afraid. There are approx. 150 of these cargo hangars, many
of them abandoned, but all of them heated, and most with openings
which would make it easy for Vivi to get in and out. She can hide
there for a long time. There is no shortage of water but we hope she
will soon get hungry enough to let herself be spotted and eventually
One very promising fact is that the airport radar spotted a solid
body moving across the runways towards the cargo hangars during the
night. A Port Authority vehice was investigating within minutes but
did not find anything. This appears to support our hope that Vivi may
be hiding in the cargo hangars, however.
We want everyone to know that the search in spite of reports to
the contrary continues unabated, both via helicopter and patrolled
cars. (The perimeter of the airport, included 21 miles of waterfront,
is circumnavigated non-stop every few minutes 24 hours every day of
the year.) The Port Authorities have been exceptionally helpful,
granting unique access for us to search the airport: this is not
easily given, and never to more than two persons at one time. Since
9/11 airport security has tightened a lot, and although we wish that
admittance could be given for Search and Rescue teams, other whippets
or even horses (since Vivi spends most days in a horse barn), we have
to realize that this will not be granted for security reasons. The
Search and Rescue dogs were also called off since the lack of tracks
in the water which covers most of the airport would make their job
I am hoping to get back to New York early next week, depending on
the developments. This is a hellish situation which I don't want
anyone to ever have to experience. My only comforts have been my dogs
and the wonderful support we have been given by everyone, both
friends and unknow dog lovers.
On behalf of Vivi's owners, Jil and Paul, I want to thank all of
you for your help and kindness in these trying days. Vivi is lucky
to have so many people who care for her. I hope somehow that she can
feel it, wheverever she is. We are still hoping that there will be a
happy ending and will keep you informed as far as possible. I will
try to get back to everyone who has written personally when I can,
but that will take some time.
I hope the above makes sense. My mind is not functioning really
well right now.
Again, thank you.
February 22nd, 2006, 09:21 AM
I sure hope she is found and this turns out to be a happy ending.