Wayward dachshund reunited with Olathe teen at KCI

Holiday travel can be a hassle, but Addison flew in style Monday.

No complaints. Plenty of leg room. Of course, coach would have given that to the 7-year-old dachshund, but Addison got to fly first class on Delta from Tampa, Fla., to be reunited with her owner, an Olathe teen, just in time for Christmas. And greeted with a hunk of Cracker Barrel ham on arrival at Kansas City International Airport.

A bit much for a dog, you think? Well, wonder what she would say about humans.

First off, she was perfectly happy in Arizona. Great place for sunning the belly. But then they decided they didn’t want to live there anymore so they loaded her up and took her to Florida. Somehow — she declined comment Monday — she got loose down there and wandered the streets of Tampa. People can be so rude. She was almost relieved to get picked up and put in lockup.

The whole thing started when Abby Mason, 14, who got Addison as a puppy, left the dog with family members in Arizona while she went to visit her father in Olathe for the summer. At summer’s end, Abby decided she wanted to stay here and go to school.

Meanwhile, her Arizona family had moved to Florida.

“I didn’t know for a long time that Addison was lost down there,” Abby, a freshman at Shawnee Mission West, said Monday.

When she found out, she started calling and emailing every animal shelter she could find in Florida. Finally, workers at Hillsborough Animal Services in Tampa traced a microchip back to the uncle who had taken Addison to Florida.

The decision was made to somehow reunite Addison to Abby.

By then, a woman named Crista Banks, a dachshund owner and volunteer, had seen emails from Abby and decided to help. She had some frequent flyer miles going to waste so she offered to use them to fly Addison to Kansas City.

Hey, it’s Christmas, she’d just come along, too.

And when Banks bought tickets, they got an upgrade to first class.

“I really wanted to get this dog back to Abby,” Banks said.

And when she saw the reunion at the airport, she knew those miles couldn’t have flown anywhere better.

“Just in time for the holidays. These two belong together.”

Banks was soon on a plane headed back home.

Abby called the stranger, “My lovely friend Crista.”

“I didn’t know if I would ever see Addison again,” Abby said. “This means the world to me.”