March 15 (UPI) -- A family in the process of moving to Kansas said they took a flight to their new home state, where they were told United Airlines had accidentally flown their dog to Japan.
Kara Swindle, whose family is in the process of relocating from Oregon to Kansas, said she and her children arrived in Kansas City on a United flight and went to one of the airline's cargo facilities to pick up their 10-year-old German shepherd, Irgo.
Swindle said her family arrived to discover Irgo was nowhere to be seen and in his stead was a great dane, which was supposed to have been flown to Japan.
"They had no idea where the dog was," Swindle told CNN. "I burst into tears instantly because this has just all been a whirlwind. They didn't know [where Irgo was] until 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday when the plane landed in Japan."
United officials said the dogs had been mixed up when catching a connecting flight in Denver.
"An error occurred during connections in Denver for two pets sent to the wrong destinations. We have notified our customers that their pets have arrived safely and will arrange to return the pets to them as soon as possible. We apologize for this mistake and are following up with the vendor kennel where they were kept overnight to understand what happened," the airline said in a statement.
Irgo was checked out by a veterinarian in Japan and United said he will be put on a private charter flight to Wichita, which is expected to arrive Thursday.
Swindle said she is concerned because Irgo is suffering from an ear infection and hasn't had his medication in three days. She said she is also worried about the stress of flying on the elderly canine.
"I don't know if he's going to be able to sustain this flight, because he is a 10-year-old dog, and he's never been on a flight before," she told KCTV. "I honestly don't know if he's going to survive this flight."