More than 11,000 miles and about 48 hours later, Irgo has finally arrived at his new home in Kansas.
The Swindle family reunited with their beloved dog Thursday in Wichita, two days after United Airlines mistakenly sent the 10-year-old German shepherd across the world to Japan.
“He instantly jumped up and was crying,” Kara Swindle told CNN affiliate KSNW of the moment when they were reunited. “When he’s super excited, he cries.”
“It feels actually amazing to finally have him back,” she added.
The Swindles were in the midst of moving from Oregon to Kansas this week. They had sent Irgo on a cargo flight to Kansas City, but when they went to retrieve him, he was nowhere to be seen. In his place, they found a Great Dane that was supposed to be en route to Japan.
The mix-up had sent the Swindles into a panic. It was Irgo’s first time flying; on top of that, he had come down with an ear infection before the flight, Swindle said.
The airline apologized and said it would arrange the return of the pets to their owners as soon as possible.
On Thursday, Irgo was flown from Narita, Japan, to Wichita on a private charter.
The flight was more than 11 hours long, but Swindle said she was glad to see Irgo “being treated like the king he is.”
“Ready to go home now?” Swindle asked Irgo as she helped him get to their SUV at the airport.
The Great Dane that was mistakenly sent to Kansas is also currently on his way back to Japan, the airline said Thursday.
The mixup was the second embarrassment this week for United Airlines. On Monday, a French bulldog died on a Houston-to-New York flight after a flight attendant told its owners to put the dog, in its carrier, in an overhead bin. The airline said it was investigating the French bulldog’s death “to prevent this from ever happening again.”