Fly Like a Beagle

6 Aug

Do you have a dog?  We do.  Last October we brought home Henry and now all you dog people can shut up because I finally get it.  I was raised a cat person and I can’t imagine life without them but I have noticed a distinct difference.  Cats are like roommates.  They check in when you get home then they get back to what they were doing.  You interact with each other on your own terms.  They don’t need you but they like you.  Being loved by a cat is a pretty special thing.

Dogs, however, are like kids.  They need you.  They couldn’t be happier when you get home or sadder when you leave.  Their innate trust in their hoomins means we feel we need to earn it.  I’ve seen many a bump sticker that read “Lord, please let me be as a good of a person as my dog thinks I am”.  I don’t think that’s possible but I do think that we can try to do right by our dogs and, for that matter, all animals.

That’s why the Humane Society recommends leaving the animals at home when you travel by air.  They cite reasons such as extremes in temperature, issues with ventilation and being treated like the rest of the baggage.  So, in addition to losing our luggage, airlines have lost pets.  Animals do become ill, get injured and even die on flights. 

Boarding time at Pet Airways. Yet another reason that I want to be a dog in my next life. A rich dog.

Domestic airlines are required to provide this to the Department of Transportation and you can check out there latest reports here.  I read the one for July of this year and found that there was one injury and one death on board this year.  It’s fantastic that this number is as low as it is but… what if that was your pet?  I read the report of a pug that arrived at the Minneapolis airport in 2010 no longer breathing.  I can’t imagine how his owner felt when they opened his carrier.  You can read reports by region by visiting PetFlight.com which is an amazing resource.  They have information by carrier and suggestions for keeping your friend safe.

Despite all the cons, you may still find yourself traveling with your pet.  The best thing to be done in this scenario is to research it.  Petfinder.com, where I met up with Oona and Higgins, started doing a review of the most pet-friendly airlines in 2010.  Here’s the link for 2011.  At the top of the list is a carrier called Pet Airways.  And they are called that because they don’t have passengers, they have “pawsengers” according to the airline.  Everybody gets checked on every 15 minutes and potty breaks are available to the animals on the go.  It’s spendy and the routes are limited but this would be a really good option.  Everybody gets their own crate and their own bag of peanuts.  Okay, I lied about the peanuts.

Henry is not going with us on our trip next year.  Actually he’s bumming us out because we know we’re going to miss him like crazy pants while we’re gone.  I guess we’ll just have to teach the little buddy how to use Skype.

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