Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

The Return of Puka

nstively
Not applicable

It was just a regular morning at the Española Valley Humane Society in New Mexico when a car pulled up and a woman stepped out holding a small dachshund mix that had recently given birth. Soon after being settled into a kennel, our staff took a closer look at the little red dog, Puka, and was surprised to see she was microchipped with her owner's contact information.
 
We called to pull the information from the microchip, and we learned that the dog had been reported lost or stolen 18 months prior.  I never would have imagined that this would be the beginning of reuniting Puka with her owner, Mandi Smith, an Army wife living in Nashville.  
 
Although the staff at Española Valley was eager to return Puka to her original family nearly 1,500 miles away, we knew this would be no easy feat! Thankfully, loyal Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Member and shelter volunteer, Claudia Inoue, heard about Puka's rescue.  Claudia offered to donate her Rapid Rewards Points for Mandi to travel to Albuquerque and pick up her missing dog. Claudia even donated a Southwest pet carrier for Puka to make the trek back home, with Southwest kindly offering to waive Puka's pet fee. Two weeks later, Mandi was on a plane to pick up Puka to finally bring her home. 
 
Mandi and all of us from Española Valley Humane Society are so grateful to Claudia Inoue and Southwest Airlines.  With their kindness and longing to go the extra mile, we were able to witness a beautiful reunion, and one little dog was able to return to a family that should have never lost her. 
 
- Nina Stively
It was just a regular morning at the Española Valley Humane Society in New Mexico when a car pulled up and a woman stepped out holding a small dachshund mix that had recently given birth. Soon after being settled into a kennel, our staff took a closer look at the little red dog, Puka, and was surprised to see she was microchipped with her owner's contact information.
 
We called to pull the information from the microchip, and we learned that the dog had been reported lost or stolen 18 months prior.  I never would have imagined that this would be the beginning of reuniting Puka with her owner, Mandi Smith, an Army wife living in Nashville.  
 
Although the staff at Española Valley was eager to return Puka to her original family nearly 1,500 miles away, we knew this would be no easy feat! Thankfully, loyal Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Member and shelter volunteer, Claudia Inoue, heard about Puka's rescue.  Claudia offered to donate her Rapid Rewards Points for Mandi to travel to Albuquerque and pick up her missing dog. Claudia even donated a Southwest pet carrier for Puka to make the trek back home, with Southwest kindly offering to waive Puka's pet fee. Two weeks later, Mandi was on a plane to pick up Puka to finally bring her home. 
 
Mandi and all of us from Española Valley Humane Society are so grateful to Claudia Inoue and Southwest Airlines.  With their kindness and longing to go the extra mile, we were able to witness a beautiful reunion, and one little dog was able to return to a family that should have never lost her.