Thursday, September 30, 2010

Puppy Travel submitted by Penelope Persons

Special thank you to Penelope Persons for sending me these comments on Puppy Travel!

Puppy Travel
There is some debate about the best way to get your new puppy or travel with your dog, and of course, ever time we step out the door, there are risks attached. Same with shipping cargo, taking puppy in the cabin or leaving her at home..... I wrote this in response to a interesting post at another group about Pet Airways, yet another way of getting Rover from A to B.
Pet Airways kindly lists the pet carrying policies of a number the other airlines, who fly to destinations other than those covered by themselves.  Since "my" airline, Air Canada was (alphabetically) at the top of the list, I noticed that the info on AC is not up to date. Might be a good idea to check any airline's website for the most recent info.
Air Canada has reversed the policy of no pets in the cabin, and they seem to have enlarged the dimensions of the pet carriers they will accept there. Carrying a dog under the seat is $50 - which is one of the cheapest prices of any airline - assuming you want to fly AC. When they say they don't accept pets in "Executive First", they mean a special class on a certain aircraft type, which I don't remember offhand. I think they are used mostly for long haul flights to the Orient. I flew Executive from Montreal to Vancouver, with Chanel under the seat.

I must say that, after 31 years as a Flight Attendant, I didn't see too many horror shows, but the ones I did see, convinced me that shipping in cargo should be a last resort. On one flight from London to Edmonton, the Second Officer discovered that there was no heat in the cargo compartment the dogs were in, and the temperature at altitude was -68.(Who cares, when it's that cold, whether that was Fahrenheit or Centigrade?) He did his best to fix it, but nothing could be done, and we were all sick with worry.... So when the aircraft pulled up at the ramp and the mostly-small dogs were off-loaded, we didn't know if we even wanted to look out the windows. I did, and thankfully, they were all alive.

Animals were always getting out of their crates, for some reason, and more than a few disappeared, never to be found again. Up here in the frozen north (I wish!) there are plenty of coyotes at most of the airports, as well as eagles and owls. 

A good friend of mine shipped her 17 year old cat to a US destination, and when she went to pick it up, discovered the crate going round and round in the baggage carousel, with the door wide open!! It should, of course, have been handed to her personally by ground personnel. Of course, she was appalled, thinking her cat could be anywhere, but fortunately, kitty was glued to the back of the crate in horror.... Crates should always be secured with those plastic ties you get at the hardware store, so this can't happen, yet if need be, the airport staff can cut them...

A Korean girl, flying back to Korea from Calgary, in the middle of winter, was rejected by the competition, because the Rottweiler's crate was too big for the smaller aircraft. so she changed to AC. As it turned out, it was too big for our aircraft, too, although she would be changing to a larger aircraft in Vancouver. While she was waiting to board our flight, she looked out the window at the departure gate and saw the dog crate sitting out there in the bitter cold.... with nobody around. I had to go down to the ramp myself and hunt up someone who could help, only to be told that the crate was too big for our aircraft and they were waiting for a later flight on a larger aircraft!! Leaving the dog outside. Nobody had thought to tell the paying customer, any of this! And they weren't very happy, when I told them they had to get the dog inside!

Needless to say, then, when I learned that la Cotonnerie refused to ship the puppies, I didn't blink an eyelash! Chanel was a great passenger, sleeping - without drugs (please)!! - almost the whole way. The big mistake I made - forgetting all my training - was feeding her bits of kibble in flight, and water. When we got to Vancouver, the puppy pad in her crate was soaked through, and she threw up all the kibble. Had to do a "bit" of a cleanup before getting a cab home! Poor little thing. That was a 5 hour flight, btw, so a bit of water was probably a good thing anyway. The food - not so much.

Penny (& Chanel)