pushing too far

travelYesterday, I boarded a flight from Zurich to JFK airport. On this particular flight, a woman brought her small dog along in its carrier. The flight was not a quiet one. I never saw this dog, but it annoyed pretty much all the passengers, in that it was yapping for almost the entire flight. Being an animal trainer though, this sort of thing doesn’t annoy me as much as the other people on the flight. I began imagining that this particular dog was a puppy and that it really just wanted to be in someone’s lap instead of in a small carrier under the seat.

My imaginings were a lot sweeter than what the reality of the situation was. While in line for passport control, I finally got a look at the dog situation and it horrified me. In fact, it nearly brought me to tears. What started out as a little annoyance on a flight, turned into pushing an animal too far and being cruel.

I got to see first hand that the dog did not enjoy being in the carrier. It would bark, bite and claw at the carrier mesh. When it was silent, you could hear it wheezing with its face smashed against the carrier door in exhaustion. I suddenly felt really sorry for this dog and angry at its owner. I was able to see what was going on with this dog all 8+ hours of the flight. When it was yapping, it was trying to get out of the carrier and when it was silent, that meant it got exhausted and was pant wheezing. Most likely in desperate need of water too. I was furious at the owner.

This is a perfect example of someone pushing an animal too far and beyond what it is mentally capable of dealing with. I suspect this woman never “trained” her dog to be comfortable in a carrier and just felt it was perfectly alright to shove it in a carrier for 8 hours of flying. Despicable and so unfair to that poor dog.

When I knew my dog would be making the trip from Atlanta to Zurich, I bought her a crate months in advance to get her used to being it. Though my dog is small, she is too tall to be in a carrier small enough to be under the seat. So, she had to ride in the cargo area of the plane. In any case, she is comfortable being in a crate. She doesn’t bark, claw, bite or panic while in it. She never did exhibit those behaviors but it was good to make sure before putting her on a plane.

If you ever find yourself traveling with a pet, please keep their sanity in mind. Get them prepared for any journeys. Not only will the people around you be thankful you have a well behaved pet, your pet will be much happier and not stressed out. Be responsible!

© Semi-Charmed Life

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2 thoughts on “pushing too far

  1. OMG!! Surely the owner must have had some inkling into the distress of the poor dog! I always think that for pets, it is better for them to be in the cargo hold, where it is away from the smell & hubub in the actual cabin. At least in a proper crate, the animal will have space to move, have food & water. I also think the Airline should also have a say in whether the container the animal is in, is appropriate.

    • I do know that the airline did have a say when I took my dog with us to Switzerland. She was required to be able to stand fully upright in her crate, with the ability to turn around. It is for this reason that she could not ride with us on the plane. She is too tall to be in a carrier that can go beneath the seat in front of me. The dog that rode on the plane was shorter and could be in the carrier and still stand, he just was not prepared for such a flight. If the owner’s had an inkling that their dog was in distress, they showed no distress themselves over it. It really made me sad for that dog.

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