October 28, 2016
Janny Rodriguez, WTLV
The hustle and bustle of an airport parking garage can be overwhelming - especially for a cat.
"Before I could get the door closed he peeped out. We spent a couple of hours calling him looking under cars walking the parking garage," said Debbie Walko, the cat’s owner.
There was no sign of Joey. The kitty had traveled with Debbie and Bernie Walko from California to Jacksonville International Airport and would later drive to their new home in South Carolina but got lost during the transition period and his owners had to head home without him.
"Our new house was so empty," said Debbie.
Joey was officially missing… but the search for him continued. "We put out fliers to all of our tenants," said Michelle Neeley with JIA.
After days of searching, a call came in that a cat fitting Joey’s description had been found - but it turned out it was just an imposter; a cat that was also lost and looked just like Joey but it wasn’t him. To make matters worse, Hurricane Mathew was on its way to the First Coast and Joey was still missing
"I just I kept praying, but I thought this is going to be the last try, he's been missing for a while and now with this hurricane you know how is he going to be safe?” said Debbie.
The prayers seemed to have worked - but it was almost a month before the good news.
"He went home with me that night, spent the night until the Walkos could drive all the way from South Carolina," said Neeley.
But the reunion was well worth the miles.
"The people at the Jacksonville airport were so wonderful and so warm and caring I can't say enough about them," said Debbie.
She also told First Coast News that Joey is eating a lot, sleeping and being his cuddly little self again.