COM0011 BLOG # 2 – By Tracy Hogg
Does your pet travel?
I was amazed recently at a major news and social media headlines that talked about an emotional support peacock being denied a seat on an airplane. How silly I remember thinking, who would take a bird on a plane. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/emotional-support-peacock-barred-flying-united-airlines-180968010/
I want to clearly state that I am not an animal hater. I grew up with dogs, big dogs; cats as well. And I truly understand the need for companionship, protection, and family life with a pet.
During a trip to Phoenix last week however, my animal patience and senses were tested by people travelling with their pets. The first irk was being barked at by 2 different dogs as I walked down the aisle of my southbound plane searching for my seat.
My second OMG moment came checking into my hotel. A lady in front of me, with a full luggage trolley and an accompanying hotel bell-cap; was adjusting and re-adjusting items from her luggage to try to make her Chihuahua more comfortable in his rolling pet carrier. The poor bell-cap was standing there, frozen in disbelief, along with me and everyone else waiting in the check-in line; for FLUFFY to be more comfortable so we could all check into the hotel.
After a week in the sunshine I once again returned to the airport and last call before boarding the return plane was a stop in the ladies’ room. In front of me, a lady took 2 dogs into a bathroom stall. All I could do was stare (with raised eyebrows I am sure). The lady in the lineup next to me whispers in my ear, “so I guess you aren’t a dog lover?” “Not in the bathroom”, I mumbled.
Lining up, boarding passes checked, passport looked at (please don’t mind the prison matron look on the passport photo, yes, that really is me), and we start our way down the gang-plank to the plane. A long queue of people stops dead. A mother at the bottom of the walkway is struggling with a stroller, 3 Air Canada attendants are helping her with what appears to be a ton of gear and stuff. I assumed from the back of the line she had a couple of babies or toddlers with her. After an 8-minute wait for at least 20-30 of us on the gang-way, time and attention of multiple attendants, and she lifts out a little tea-cup poodle from the collapsible stroller.
These events prompted me to do some research when I got home about travelling with pets and emotional support peacocks. What are the rules? And when exactly did we start allowing dogs in bathrooms etc.?
It was an eye-opening experience for me. There is a plethora of websites dedicated to the safe and comfortable travelling of our pets all over the world, even a dog friendly hotel rating website.
My even greater surprise came surfing social media to find pets that have their own social media pages. DEXTER the emotional support peacock, for example, has his own Instagram page (see my jpeg below) with, quite frankly, more followers than I do.
As someone who had one pet or another for the first 35 years of her life, but none in the last 18 years, I was astonished at what I read. There are social media posts, websites, blogs and groups all over the internet to support pet owners. Checkout Facebook groups like “A dog abroad: travelling with pets” which boasts almost 1400 members, or pages called “Travel Dogs Europe”.
Reading many of the hotel and airline rules about travelling with pets, it seems a simple set of rules, if Fido or Fifi fit their size parameters, you can bring them. My guess is the emotional support Peacock didn’t fit the grid.
I am oblivious as to when we became such a pet friendly world. And I am not sure who all these haute couture, world travelling animals are; but in my next life I want to be at the front of the line, wearing my dog bling, in my luxurious rolling pet carrier, with a ton of people fussing over me.
1st photo – (FREE Photo Courtesy of UNSPLASH – photographer Pete Bellis)
JPEG of DEXTERTHEPEACOCK from Instagram, TJH photographer.