PSYCHICS HAVE been brought in to help with the search for a prize-winning Whippet that made a dramatic bid for freedom at New York's John F Kennedy airport and then comfortably outran its pursuers.
The bitch, whose full name is Champion Bohem C'est La Vie, but normally answers to Vivi, had just won second place in the whippet section at the prestigious Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden two weeks ago when she gave handlers the slip while boarding an aircraft bound for California.
As sightings of the elusive dog have failed to provide any likelihood of her capture, Paul Lepiane, Vivi's joint owner, has brought in no fewer than a dozen animal mediums to try to divine where Vivi might be.
Four of the psychics agreed the dog was inside a building, an insight which Mr Lepiane described as "a huge breakthrough". Beatrice Lydecker, of Portland, Oregon, assisting in the search, said she believed that Vivi could see yellow machinery and was hiding under folded boxes.
"She said Vivi could hear a person calling to her, but she didn't recognise the voice," said Honi Reisman, a friend of the owners. "They are telling us that she is alive and they are telling us she is warm. They are saying she's in a building, but there are hundreds of buildings." The dog's co-owner Jill Walton, 39, from Los Angeles, was distraught, fearing that Vivi might have drowned in the marshes near the runway.
"I was on the plane waiting with my little tag to tell me she was on too, then they pulled me off and told me Vivi was lost," she said. "Somehow she got out of her kennel.
"She’s a skinny little thing and I don't know if she’ll make it, that's what's killing me. She sleeps in my bed at night. She's priceless." The airport police gave chase and were soon joined by a New York Police Department helicopter. Airport workers pursued Vivi in a truck for three miles.
The frightened dog is believed to have reached speeds of 25mph. Miss Walton was driven around the area using a loudspeaker to shout "Vivi" but to no avail.
Bobbi Giordano, who runs the airport dog shelter, said dozens of pets escaped while in transit at JFK airport. "We feel terrible about this show dog. But lost dogs are nothing new to us here."