Traveling With Your Dog
Before I met Guy, I visited my friend and God-children in Toronto at least once a year.
The cost of renting a wheelchair-accessible van in Toronto was outrageous, so I traveled with my manual chair. The airlines were very accommodating and assisted me in every way possible (especially post 9/11 when security restrictions prohibited my caregivers from escorting me to the gate). And, of course, I always boarded first.
On my first flight to Toronto, I wasn’t sure how I’d maneuver down the plane’s narrow aisles in my chair. No worries, every plane carries “aisle chairs” and offers assistance from very courteous Flight Attendants. Well, every plane except the one I was on. Their chair happened to be broken. Again, the friendly Flight Attendants came up with a solution I wasn’t going to argue with. They moved me to the front row of first class, close to the door and bathrooms.
Now that I’d mastered the art of traveling with a disability, or at least felt comfortable with it, I decided to add my puppy to the mix. While trying to find someone to care for Cinder during my two week absence, my Toronto friend suggested I bring her along. So I did.
Traveling with my dog, was surprisingly easier than I expected, and quite rewarding. Cinder is ten pounds dripping wet, so she fit in a small carrying case that could be stowed under the seat in front of me. She was unfamiliar with flying/dog-crates and whimpered quietly the moment we boarded. The kind gentleman in the seat above her tried unsuccessfully to calm her by touching the crate. Fortunately, the Flight Attendant took pity on Cinder and allowed her to sit in my lap (this was a Canadian Airlines).
The trip was uneventful from that point on, with the exception that I made lots of friends with my adorable puppy sleeping peacefully on my lap. The Flight Attendant even brought me a fresh cookie from first class and offered to assist me with my return trip to Seattle, which she just happened to be scheduled on.
I don’t necessarily recommend doing this unless you have a service companion, which are allowed to sit under your seat, uncrated. But I was fortunate to have had a wonderful experience the two trips I made. However, the U.S. airlines I flew with did not allow Cinder to sit on my lap. Luckily she was used to flying by then and slept quietly under the seat (in her crate).