A Hawaiian vacation with your dog? Sounds great, unless your furry best friend is taking the trip without you. That’s what happened to a US Navy petty officer who flew United Airlines to his home in San Diego from his assignment in Guam. The officer arrived in San Diego — his dog traveled all the way to Hawaii!

Airlines lose luggage all the time, but typically that luggage doesn’t consist of a living, breathing friend of yours. Luckily, United Airlines returned the dog to his anxious owner and no one was harmed beyond the stress of a missing pet.


An Unplanned Doggie Vacation

Getting to head home after a long deployment is always exciting and Josh Bulla was particularly excited to be coming back home to California. A native of the Bay Area, Bulla was going to fly into San Diego, where he’d be stationed at Camp Pendleton for a while.

His dog Congo was supposed to come with him, but when Bulla landed in San Diego, the pup was nowhere to be found.

United Airlines didn’t even seem to know what they had done with the dog, which was understandably more than just a little bit stressful for Bulla (not to mention for Congo).

A color photo of a pretty Hawaiian beach.

Hawaii is a great place for a summer vacation — but not a lost dog!

Worried that his dog wasn’t being fed or looked after, Bulla spent days trying to get United to find the dog and return him home. He spent hours on hold, got hung up on, and generally had to deal with a tidal wave of unpleasantness just to get the airline to return Congo.

It wasn’t until Bulla got attention from the press that United was finally able to locate the poor canine. Turns out they had sent him to Hawaii.


Back Home, Safe and Sound

A color photo of a pup sleeping in its carrier.

United attributed the puppy mix-up to some erroneous paperwork.

When Bulla was finally able to get Congo home, he was happy to report that the dog appeared to have been taken care of during their time apart. Reports The Consumerist:

‘He was happy and seemed well fed and they played with him with toys and everything,’ says the owner, who is just satisfied to get his buddy back.

United has only been willing to say that the pup was misplaced due to a paperwork mix-up. The airline has since refunded Bulla for travel fees associated with the lost dog.


Share Your Travel Tips and Travel Nightmares With Us

Even with the best travel tips, sometimes your vacation can still turn into a nightmare. There are plenty of ways to make your trip easier, though, and we’d love to hear some of your advice.

Share your travel tips or horror stories in the comments.


See Also

Dance School Kids Lose Over $60k in Alleged Disney World Vacation Scam
Back From Sabbatical: Phony Airline Phishing Scam Resurfaces
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Airfare Prices & How to Fly Cheaper

About The Author

Sean Boulger is a freelance writer and storytelling enthusiast living in LA. He loves television, pop culture, minimalism, and two cats.

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One Response

  1. Josh bulla

    United said they refunded me but I haven’t seen a penny since the incident…


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