Travel & Outdoors | January 2008
|Flying the Fido-Friendly Skie|
My dog and I just returned from an exotic travel adventure. After spending an exhilarating week rolling in the sand and dog-paddling in the surf on the Yucatan coast, I can see why the celebrity lifestyle includes the luxury of vacationing with four-legged friends.
Without a doubt, my dog is the best traveling companion that I have ever had. She is never late, doesn't complain about the food, and is always digs into any adventure. I am amazed by how easily she adapts to new experiences, and our most recent journey together has made me realize just how cool it can be to travel with a pet. To be sure, my pup and I are already seasoned interstate road-trippers, but one of the exciting aspects of our Mexican adventure was the fun of flying the Fido-friendly skies.
Fortunately, my 9-month-old puppy only weighs 12 pounds, so she easily met the weight and size restrictions imposed by the airlines that enabled her to fly right beside me in the cabin of the plane. In preparation for earning her wings, I had my puppy practice staying in her airline-approved travel bag for periods of time every day so that she would feel relaxed on travel day. We also got our paws on the necessary puppy travel papers, such as proof of vaccinations and a veterinarian-approved health certificate, which are required for the transport of live animals between the U.S. and Mexico.
On travel day, we brought my suitcase and our reservation information to the check-in counter at the airport where we also received our seat and "under-the-seat in front of me" assignments. We went together into the security area, and just like the two-legged passengers, my dog had to take off her jacket and the metal buckle that she was wearing. While her carrier was being X-rayed, I presented our identification and boarding passes to the security attendants. As I carried her through the metal detector I made notice of how her wagging tail got more that a few smiles from onlookers.
By the time we boarded the plane, my pet was settled inside her travel bag and gnawing on a super-sized chewy that I hoped would keep her busy for our four-hour flight south of the border. As we took off, I crossed my fingers that she wouldn't cry or get airsick, and I was soon delighted by how calm she was. She never made a sound, and at one point I could see that she was flopped on her back and sleeping with her legs stuck straight in the air. I noticed this because her snoring was almost drowning out the sound of the in-flight movie that I was watching.
When we did finally arrive at our destination, a woman who was exiting the plane noticed my little darling. As she walked past us, I heard her remark to her husband, "Oh, did you know that there was a dog on this plane? That dog was quieter than that annoying kid behind us who kept screaming and pawing at the back of my seat." Maybe dogs should fly free.
TRACIE LALIBERTE-BAILEY of Attleboro is a professional lecturer, educator and published writer on the subject of dogs. She is pursuing a doctoral degree on the human-canine bond. You can contact her with any dog-related questions at tracie(at)dogpawse.com.