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Soldier's dog goes AWOL before deployment

Posted July 24, 2008

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— Fort Bragg soldier John Weisner was preparing for a year-long deployment to Saudi Arabia with his dog, Jeddah, two weeks ago when the dog turned up missing.

Now, Weisner and his wife are scouring the Washington suburbs to find Jeddah before the end of the month, when Weisner has to ship out.

Weisner and his wife, Ronia, traveled from Fort Bragg to Dulles International Airport outside Washington on July 10 for John Weisner's trip overseas. He had planned to take Jeddah with him to the Middle East, but shortly before he was to board the United Airlines flight, an airline employee told him the dog was missing.

United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said Jeddah escaped a kennel issued by the airlines as it sat on a Dulles ramp waiting to be loaded onto the plane. The airline is investigating how the 4-year-old, tan-and-white hound could have broken out of the kennel, which are usually screwed shut, she said.

The Army granted Weisner a temporary reprieve to find Jeddah, but has told him he needs to deploy by the end of July.

The Weisners have spent the last two weeks in northern Virginia, searching for the dog. Dulles employees and area residents have joined in the search.

The couple started a Web site to collect tips on Jeddah's whereabouts and provide updated information about the search. They also posted a $2,500 reward, which United matched, for the dog's return.

23 Comments

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  • kewlmom Jul 25, 2008

    Have any of you ever travelled with a pet? When I flew with my cats, the only time I got them during the flights was when we had to clear customs. I didn't have access to them during lay-overs because they were down below with the luggage. If he left NC, and was in DC, then perhaps he was on a layover. I'm pretty sure he had nothing to do with it...and maybe, just maybe, this was an ACTUAL accident. (shocking thought I know!)

  • PowderedToastMan Jul 25, 2008

    I'm surprised there hasn't been some sort of Rover Alert issued. Someone probably found the dog and hopefully is keeping it safe until they hook up with the owner.

  • bomanicous Jul 24, 2008

    I hope they find Jeddah. i'm sure the planes probably scared him out of his mind. As far as people criticizng the soldier taking his dog overseas...Get over it, my God. That dog is doing more for this country that you ever will. Whether you like it or not this soldier is protecting you so let him bring a companion for a little sanity. Some people never miss an opportunity to criticize the good people of the world. Keep criticizing, I like it when you expose yourselves.

  • rescuefan Jul 24, 2008

    "United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said Jeddah escaped a kennel issued by the airlines as it sat on a Dulles ramp waiting to be loaded onto the plane. The airline is investigating how the 4-year-old, tan-and-white hound could have broken out of the kennel, which are usually screwed shut, she said."

    Yeah, it sounds just like he let the dog out and is blaming United as a cover up. By the way, that is sarcasm. United has admitted to having the dog get away from them

    I hope they find her. This must be so scary for her and her family. I wonder if it is fenced in the way it is at RDU?

  • oldschooltarheel Jul 24, 2008

    poor Jeddah going to Jeddah, Saudia Arabia - my Father was there in the 70s - hideous climate, "culture" leaving much to be desired as well for my American tastes; poor dog would definitely have to be shielded from climate & populance. Clearly the soldier did not release the dog - no accounting for airline workers though.

  • Richard_B_awesome Jul 24, 2008

    He definitely let it go at the airport to get out of the deployment and now is blaming it on United, no way it is United's fault if they screw the doors shut.

  • beachboater Jul 24, 2008

    I does sound strange. Why would he take a personal pet overseas? Why would the military let him take a personal pet overseas?

    But I agree with comments to the first poster, how can you possibly say the soldier let him go. And why in blazes would he offer a $2,500 reward for a dog he let go?

    Makes no sense. WRAL needs to give more details.

  • thelewisclan Jul 24, 2008

    The dog's owners put their lives on hold as they try to track down their beloved pet who has been gone for days. "We don't have kids, we have Jeddah," said owner John Weisner. "She is my child, she is. She's everything to me. I don't know how I can go on without her. I have to find her," said owner Ronia Weisner.

    Jeddah, who is trained as a rescue dog, has lived with the couple since she was a puppy. John Weisner bought her overseas and raised her at the family’s home in the Stoney Point area.

    Two weeks later, after thousands of hours searching, the Weisners are facing another deadline — Uncle Sam’s. Weisner was able to get a temporary stay of orders, but he will have to ship out at the end of the month.

  • keeprightexcepttopass Jul 24, 2008

    Aww....that poor dog. I would love to know how on earth United can explain how a dog got out of a "screwed shut" kennel. I pray for the safe return of his beloved pet.

  • thelewisclan Jul 24, 2008

    If it were a military dog, the military would be looking for it - just like an AWOL soldier. And the military would have issued a statement for it, not the owner. The Army can give temporary passes and hardship waivers for deployment in family situations. The owner is offering a reward for it's return - it's a family pet that was traveling with him to Saudi, not Iraq...the whole situation is a little odd. Maybe I can send our dogs with my husband next time.. :)

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