A show dog that was flying home to Amsterdam after her last competitive event was found after she'd been missing from Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport for four days, the airport tweeted.
Gale, a 22-month-old American Staffordshire Terrier, was traveling with her handlers after participating in a dog show in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday.
Officials said that Galebroke out of her crate in the airfield as workers were loading the crate into the cargo area of a KLM flight.
"They were waiting at the gate, about to board the flight, when they were called to the desk and told the crate was empty," dog owner Floris Van Essen told CNN. "All of us were freaked out to be honest."
The Louisville dog show was Gale's last event before she retired to live with the Van Essens full time, the owner said.
Gale was spotted on the airfield about 3:30 a.m. Monday by pilots, said airport spokesman Andy Gobeil.
Authorities set up a trap involving food to catch her, he said.
KLM expressed its "sincerest regrets," the airline said in an earlier statement to CNN.
Van Essen and his wife flew to Amsterdam separately.
He said that they appreciate the efforts of all involved.
"All the people willing to help, the volunteers, everyone at the airport," he said. "It's been heartwarming."
CNN's Marylynn Ryan and Trisha Ahmed contributed to this story.