On Tuesday, Mandy, a 12-pound Manchester terrier, did which of the following to make airline history:
1. Grabbed the public address system from a flight attendant and barked, “I’ve had it. That’s it,” before grabbing some treats and running down the emergency slide.
2. Dared a TSA agent to give her an enhanced pat-down. “Go ahead, make my day,” she allegedly kept growling.
3. Was forced to give up her pilot’s license after she and her copilot, Monty, were so engrossed in their laptops they flew 150 miles past Minnesota.
4. None of the above. Correct. It was a much more mundane canine caper that forced a US Airways Newark-to-Phoenix flight to make an emergency landing in Pittsburgh: Mandy, agitated because her flying sedatives were wearing off, bit two people after getting loose from her carrier, according to news reports.
For a fee, most airlines allow small dogs to travel in cabin if their carrier fits under the seat. Otherwise, animals travel in the cargo hold.
Since Mandy’s owner is 89 years old, let’s pretend the passenger was Paris Hilton with her dog instead so we can get properly outraged.
The continuing “purse-ifcation” of little dogs is unnatural. Just because people keep breeding dogs smaller and smaller doesn’t mean they are meant to be lugged around in a handbag that nattily matches the dog’s collar. Dogs are not pocket pets. Yet, many people now believe that wherever they go, their dog goest, too.
But dogs, even the mini-mini ones, are dogs. They have basic dog needs: Exercising, socializing, marking, sleeping and eating. “Pampering,” which is code for “not training,” is not on the list.
Many misguided owners act like they think, or wish, the dogginess has been bred out of mini dogs. (Unfortunately, it does seem they are getting close to breeding the bladder right out of them…)
Perhaps such owners have never understood what dogs like and need, or they don’t care.
But no matter how many pretty bows you put on Princess, she will always prefer to roll around in dead fish than get a makeover. Given the choice, she really would prefer to play with other dogs than go to the mall with you. Given the chance, she would rather sniff other dogs’ butts than update her Facebook status.
And just because a dog in a carrier can be shoved to fit beneath an airline seat doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. It might be easier for the dog to sleep undisturbed in the cargo hold. And it might be safer for other passengers.