Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Now boarding

"Never argue about religion or politics" was a watchword in my youth.

But there's a third topic that brings out even more of an emotional response—pets!

I'm one of about four people on the planet at the moment who doesn't have or want a pet. (Fortunately, my husband is one of the other three.)

I like to keep myself isolated from the animal kingdom. I don't own one; neither would I hurt one, hunt one, or eat one or any part of one. I don't hate them, I just don't want to be friends with them. I barely have enough time for lunch with my human friends.

So, imagine my distress when my recent red-eye flights to Boston were filled with them. Dogs, mostly. The flights were fully booked with people in the seats and at least six dogs under them in my immediate vicinity.

They yapped all night. Wouldn't you, if you were in a cage under a seat for 8 hours?

I don't get it. I'm assuming the passengers with the dogs are pet-lovers. It seems funny to me, because as a non-pet lover, I would never put an animal through such an ordeal. Even though they put me through the ordeal of 2 sleepless nights.

I wonder which sub-genre of cozy mysteries allows offing a pet-owner.

Recently an owner of two dogs, who keeps the dogs in cages in the house while she and her husband are at work all day, told me that actually dogs like cages. "They like to nest and be cozy," she told me. [I find that confusing, since they have twice as many legs as we do, and we don't like to be in cages.]

Is that true? Were those yapping dogs on my flights full of joy and contentment? To me, it sounded more like "Get me out of here!"


Sheila Connolly said...

We have cats, and in the past we have traveled with one. It's not fun for the humans OR the pets. Nowadays when we want to travel, we find a petsitter, or a neighbor who will come in and feed the animals. Much more sane, and much less wear and tear on everyone. Animals do not belong on airplanes.

Ellen said...

I once traveled with two cats, in a carrier in the back of a station wagon. They yowled and screamed until they were hoarse, thumped and bumped and clawed, and eventually escaped. Following the escape we had cats clinging to us, and investigating the foot pedals.

Thank your lucky stars it was dogs, Camille.

Anonymous said...

No, animals do not belong on planes. As Sheila stated, it is much more human to leave the animal in their normal surroundings and have someone come in to feed them. My husband would even leave messages on the answering machine for our cat, saying we would be home soon. What people do for their pets, but home is much more humane...xoxoxo

Terri Thayer said...

Wow. That would be a nightmare, especially on a red eye. On my flight on Christmas day, this adorable four-year old sang most of the ride. She was so full of joy, so uninhibited, it was fun to listen to.

Camille Minichino said...

Some happy singing would have been welcome!

I LOVE the story of leaving answering machine messages for the cat! I wonder if a cat would understand text messaging?

trek said...

While I really do love animals and have had pets in the dim reaches of the past, my allergies and asthma are set off quite easily by cat and dog dander. Nervous animal generate more dander. Animals stuffed in cages under airline seats are nervous.

How would the airline/pet owners feel about me suing them for medical damages from their pets' dander being under the seat next to me? How would they feel about my estate suing them for my final expenses due to the anaphylactic shock which their animals engendered?

Linda O. Johnston said...

As a pet lover, I both understand and abhor the situation you described, Camille. I love having my pets with me. But I would think hard about subjecting them to the difficulties of flying. Their disturbing you reminds me of having crying kids nearby, and that happens a lot. Not much can be done about that, either.
Dog crates are a good way of training, and I keep my pups' crates available for them to sleep in, although I seldom lock the doors now. But the ones I use for them wouldn't fit under the seat in a plane.
And my cozy mysteries do sometimes result in the murder of pet owners, but never the pets!