When I first started my job on the Southwest Airlines Social Media Team, my Coworker, Brooks, told us that every tweet is a story – and he is right. One week in early March this year, I saw a tweet from one of our Customers, Steven Frischling (@flyingwithfish). He and his family recently adopted a nine-week-old Weimaraner puppy from a breeder in Longmont, Colorado. Another puppy from the same litter had been adopted by a family here in Dallas. Though the family that adopted the puppy had waited awhile to adopt him, after nine days, they were unable to care for him anymore. Steven reached out to us on behalf of the breeder to see if anyone at Southwest Airlines would be able to fly this puppy back home to Colorado to be with his family. As a dog lover, I was immediately interested in helping. I spoke with Steven and to the breeder, Christine, to develop a plan. Christine, whose dogs names all carry the prefix of "Cheyenne Weimaraners," has had weimaraners as part of her family since 1992. “We breed infrequently,” Christine said, “but to date, we have produced four generations of champion Weimaraners. We primarily compete in dog shows, but have also done hunt tests, obedience, agility, and tracking with our dogs. Weimaraners are a very versatile breed ... there’s only one thing you can’t do with a Weimaraner – nothing!” Christine and Jett I picked up the puppy from his owners in Dallas and we hopped on a Southwest flight to Denver the next day to be with Christine and his family. Although I only kept him for one night, he was the sweetest, most loveable houseguest I have ever had – it was puppy LUV at first sight. He was the perfect gentleman on our trip to Colorado, which was not a short flight! The Crew on our flight immediately fell in love with him, and he patiently waited in his carrier during the whole trip. This puppy, born on Christmas Day in 2012 along with his brothers and sisters, is one of the sweetest Weimaraners Christine has ever bred. Once back home with his family, “It has impressed me to no end with how he’s handled each new situation in stride,” Christine said. “I’ve found him a new forever home where he can shine and I will still have the opportunity to see him several times a year. He’ll be a Junior Showmanship and Therapy dog.” There is also a chance he could end up at the Westminster Dog Show! Although the puppy had been given a name by his previous owners, when he returned to Colorado, he was quickly given a new name. “We decided that ‘Jett’ was the perfect name for him,” said Christine, as the little guy logged 1800 miles in the sky before he was 3 months old – talk about an experienced traveler! Christine said that Jett is registered as “‘Cheyenne’s Comeback Kid,’ in honor of his rocky start in life.” She refers to his journey as “Operation Boomerang,” since he ended up right back where he started – and where, undoubtedly, he belongs. The phrase “everything happens for a reason” comes to mind when I think of Jett’s journey. Because of our help, he got to go home and be with his family and is now on his way to a new home, and a new journey. We at Southwest Airlines will always LUV you, Jett! "Christine, who's dogs names all carry the prefix of "Cheyenne Weimaraners", has had weimaraners as part of her family since 1992. "
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Last November, our Social Media Team noticed a post on our Facebook page from Joey the Two-Legged Chihuahua" that said, "Hey Southwest, I was rescued from euthanasia and I am going to Denver in December to get a new life and a mobility device from Ortho Pets. I need all the help I can get." This post, plus the picture below, got our immediate attention. Joey is a 9-month-old Chihuahua from Davis, California who, at the time, was being fostered from a rescue program by Ashley Dunleavy, who fosters animals with medical needs. Joey is a happy, playful, healthy puppy who happened to be born without her two front legs.
Through Dunleavy’s blog, “Rescue Bows,” (rescuebows.com), money was raised for Joey’s medical needs. This blog features rescue animals with medical issues like Joey and sells items such as bows and collars. It wasn’t long before people started hearing Joey’s story, and wanted to help her out. Support started pouring in when Joey’s story was featured in the Sacramento news and on Yolo County SPCA’s website, where Joey was designated as the “Angel Fund” animal. When Ortho Pets in Denver heard about Joey, they chose to give her a whole rehabilitation process, which includes a cart that she can use as a mobility device. Ortho Pets selects one animal per year to receive treatment and go through rehabilitation. With this cart, Joey can finally learn to put her weight on her back legs, instead of hopping. When Dunleavy and Joey started planning for the trip to Denver, they reached out to Southwest Airlines for help covering the $75 pet fee. Southwest’s Social Media Team’s heart was captured by this tiny miracle, and we pulled together to donate the money to cover Joey’s pet fee. We couldn’t resist her story, or miss out on an opportunity to help. On December 15, Joey, her foster mother Ashley Dunleavy, and friends, Stacy Beckley, and Jenn Doll Vogel, flew Southwest Airlines from Sacramento to Denver. Joey became an instant celebrity in the airport and on the flight. By pure coincidence, the Pilot on Joey’s flight flies rescue animals in his spare time. Joey LUVed the attention and special treatment she received from the Southwest Employees in Sacramento and the Flight Crew and Passengers onboard her flight. It was hard for Dunleavy to say goodbye to Joey in Denver, but she knew she was leaving Joey in good hands. “I want to see her run, that’s my goal,” Dunleavy said after she took Joey to Ortho Pets. She hoped that Joey would be a therapy animal for children with special needs; there is so much children and adults alike can learn from her and her story. “Joey really is as cute as she looks,” Dunleavy said, “and she can’t tell you, but she really appreciates everything.” Since her trip to Denver and celebrity appearance on “On the Fly,” Joey, who’s name is now Giada, has been adopted by Maria, a rehabilitation specialist at Ortho Pets. She now comes to work with Maria every day to play with the other dogs (and is quite popular). She is adapting to her “hoppy vest,” her new mobility device, and is working on becoming more active in the vest and a mobility device with wheels. Joey even got to attend an event called “The People to Know,” put on by the Chanda Plan Foundation. This foundation helps people with disabilities live better lives, and Joey brought smiles and hope to many people at the event. She’s still the same dog with two legs, one tail, and a heart full of LUV! Joey, we wish you the best of luck – you have stolen my heart, and the hearts of many!
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April Young met her fiancé, Papus Keitas, when April was a nursing student and Papus was a medical student. They met while studying at the same bookstore, and developed a friendship that turned into a romance. When April left for a three-month mission trip to Honduras, Papus began to plan his proposal. April’s return flight from Honduras flew into Houston, and Papus rearranged her return from Houston to Charleston so it would be on Southwest Airlines.
“From the moment he called Southwest, everyone was so excited about the idea and so helpful, that he rebooked my return flight through Southwest. Encouraged by the Company’s feedback, he set to work planning,” April said.
On December 20, 2011, April rushed to her flight to Charleston, having no idea about the inflight surprise waiting for her. While talking to the Customer next to her on the flight, April heard the Flight Attendant make an announcement for a special event.
As the Flight Attendant sprinkled rose petals down the aisle, April tried to read her facial expression to discern any clues, but the Flight Attendant didn’t give the secret way. As she began to get nervous, she heard, “Will the Passenger April Young please come forward?”
I’ll let Papus and April’s photos and video tell you the rest of the story. “I got engaged to the love of my life and my best friend!” Amidst applause, the Flight Attendants gave the happy couple a bottle of champagne, and two Passengers even gave them money for their wedding. “This whole engagement experience has been a real blessing from above as I can honestly say that I have experienced true joy. I am sincerely thankful to Southwest Airlines and to everyone who helped make this day so special,” April said.
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