Monday, January 30, 2012

Buffy’s On A Plane!!-Part II

About two years ago I wrote this post about Buffy’s first time on a plane and how taking dogs on a plane works. This was a nerve-racking experience but we felt that it was worth the extra stress and since then we have continued to take Buffy on trips with us. A couple weekends ago, Buffy completed her tenth plane ride, flying a little bit more the 14,500 miles total.

Flying on planes and airports are stressful and adding a dog into the equation doesn’t help. One of the biggest concerns about taking a dog on a plane is the dog’s need to go to the bathroom. Most airports have some green space around the terminal that dogs can use to go, but none of these places are past security. Buffy is usually so excited at the airport she rarely goes at these places before flights. So usually right before we drive over to the airport, we try to time it so Buffy goes and she usually does.

When we get off plane we hustle to get outside of the baggage claim so Buffy can do her business. Sometimes she has more of a desire to run in circles and stretch her legs out than actually going potty, but after a couple minutes she usually does.

Walking through the airport Buffy is greeted to “ahh’s” and request to pet her. Airports can be such a bleak and depressing place and it’s really amazing to watch how Buffy can bring a smile to the face of bedraggled travelers.

Buffy’s presence seems to invite people to tell us about their dogs. Many people relate how they are looking forward to going home to their puppy and we are asked often about the logistics of having her on the plane.

Airplane employees have a variety of responses to Buffy. Most are so enamored by her cuteness that they simply ask to pet her. Many flight attendants don’t mind if during the flight she sticks her head out the top of her bag while others are really strict about her being completely in the bag.

We did have one horrible incident when we were about to board a plane. One of the ticket agents thought we were being cruel to Buffy by making her be in a bag that was too small for her. Diana and I are very conscientious about this and Buffy is in regulation for the bag we use to carry her. This flight was already late and numerous airline employees had seen Buffy, checked her in and made no comments about her bag being too small.

This situation escalated until a manager had to be called in who really didn’t care about Buffy being on the plan. She let us on the plane to the objections of the one ticket agent. Even though I was angrier during the confrontation than I had ever been at an airport, Buffy quietly sat in her bag the entire time.

Probably my favorite thing about flying with Buffy is when Diana carries her down the aisle to our seats. We are usually part of the last group to board. So as Buffy’s head sticks out from the top of her bag and we make our way to our seat, almost all of the passengers turn their heads to watch Buffy go by. Some people smile, others point Buffy out to people they are traveling with, while a chorus of “ahhs” accompany Buffy as she passes by.

Buffy is much better traveler than most people.  She doesn't get stressed out, pushy or irritable like many of us do when we get on plane flights.  She makes being at an airport and a plane, somehow not as bad for the people who encounter her.

In the past ten plane flights with Buffy, she's never given me a reason to feel stressed out, she's only given me reasons to be proud of her and love her even more.

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