Woman whose dog died on flight told to collect remains or they will be 'thrown out'

She had decided to move home to Canada from China to be with family.
She had decided to move home to Canada from China to be with family. Photo credit: Instagram/Monique Collette

A Vancouver woman has been left heartbroken after the death of her dog on a flight to Canada from China.

Monique Collette decided to return to her family in White Rock due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and arranged for her dogs Maverick and Chocolate to fly back to Canada too.

However, when her beloved pets arrived in Canada, Collette was told "her beloved pet arrived dead in a bloody, urine-soaked crate". 

Colette had been living in Shenyang teaching English until her move back home and had arranged for her dogs to travel ahead of her and for her mother to pick them up.

She made bookings with China Southern Airlines for the dogs to fly to Vancouver via Guangzhou.

Colette said the dogs were fine when they arrived in Guangzhou. She had been sent photos and video by staff at the dog daycare centre upon their arrival.

When her mother, Dorice Bastarache, arrived to collect the dogs she was made to wait for several hours.

"A China Southern representative brought out Maverick's crate with his dead body inside," she said.

A vet had determined Maverick had attempted to chew his way out of the cage, and that a metal bar had punctured through his mouth. However a private vet hired by Collette's family concluded the dog likely died of a heart attack or a stroke. 

The family say that was due to poor oxygen and temperature levels in the aircraft cargo hold.

Canada's Border Services Agency advised China Southern Airlines should take Maverick to a veterinary hospital and then have his remains cremated to be collected by the family.

Instead, according to Bastarache, she received a text message asking her to collect  Maverick's body, or it would be treated as abandoned cargo and thrown out.

Both Collette and her lawyer have contacted China Southern Airlines in search of answers.  They believe Maverick had been moved before the final flight, and the captain hadn't been made aware, meaning they may not have set the correct oxygen and heat settings in the area Maverick would spend his final hours.

Talking to local media, Colette described Maverick as a bit of a goofball who had never quite worked out that he was much larger than his sidekick, Chocolate.

"He was a little fluff ball. Very goofy and floppy. He didn't know he was a big dog," she said.