Traveling on an airplane with children can often be trying. My boys were seasoned travelers at very young ages and if plied with enough snacks and toys, they did rather well. Traveling with a dog, our dog Dashiell, was well...a different animal.
Dash is a German Short-haired Pointer/Brittany Spaniel mix. Until our move to Boston, he’d never been on an airplane. He had never been in a crate before that either, and I must say that neither one of those things found favor in his eyes. As traumatic as the physical moving was for me, physically moving Dashiell was worse and then some.
Airlines have many rules and regulations for traveling with a pet, the majority of which are based on their weight and size. The weight of the animal plus the crate must not exceed a certain amount, the size of the crate must be large enough so that the animal can stand up and turn around in it, and so on. Dashiell weighs almost sixty pounds, and he is pretty tall. We purchased the crate, which I liked to call “mini castle," about a week before our flight and we strategically placed it in the family room so that Dashiell would get used to seeing it, and become attached to it. Unfortunately the only thing that became attached to the darn thing was the drink dispensing device we also had to buy. As regal as we thought the thing looked,Dashiell would have none of it. His blanket and some toys went in it, as did some treats. Nothing doing...he quickly snuck in to get the treats and just as quickly snuck out once he had them. The first time he really spent any time inside was on our trip to the airport.
I won’t bore you with the gory details of that trip, but suffice it to say that the ride in the car we hired that was big enough to fit us, our luggage, the dog, and the crate was not pleasant. Seeing the airline personnel take Dashiell in the "mini castle" away to the bowels of the airplane was also not pleasant. (To their defense I must say that American Airlines was very organized and very professional.) The plane ride to Boston where every half hour I swore I heard a dog whining and crying from far below my seat was even less pleasant. And, the sight of Dashiell when we were finally able to get him out of his crate at Logan Airport was the least pleasant of all--he had been sick during the flight and he and the crate smelled like something you would encounter, but not go near, at the zoo.
Once the ordeal of getting Dashiell to our new home was over, I assumed all our concerns about him and his adjustment were over as well. In a perfect world.... But I’ll save those stories for another day. In the meantime, a great website to turn to for information regarding traveling with a pet is http://www.petflight.com.