Now that I have “Part 1: Traveling with a service dog” done, I want to go on to a topic that more directly affects my readers that do not have a service dog. So without further hesitation, I present… Part 2: a dog on a plane! Aka, a refresher on service dog etiquette.
Let me start by saying this public service announcement (and small rant). Currently there is a huge epidemic in the United States and I talk about it a lot, faking service dogs or emotional support animals. DO NOT DO THIS. It is illegal and ruins things for the people who truly need SD’s and ESAs. If you type into google “fly with my dog” a ton of sites will provide you with “documents” to “Make your dog a service animal” in order to avoid paying a pet fee to travel with your dog. I have said it before and will say it again, it is illegal to use these registration sites, they are scams so please do not do it. Because of the amount of people bringing fake ESAs on planes, the Air carrier access act (ACAA) is currently under reconstruction. After having ESA turkeys and pigs, the validity and important of true ESAs are being put in to question. So if you want to travel with your pet, please just pay the pet fee, or look in to leaving your pet at home. Honestly, if your taking a vacation, look in to good border or find a family member or friend to leave “fido” at home with. Traveling can be stressful on animals who are not trained for it so you might be doing them a favor. Or just pay the pet fee and things will be fine. If you have an Emotional support animal that is legitimate, and by that I mean required by a medical illness, make sure you check out part 1 to see how to prepare to fly. ESAs are great when used correctly and legally.
Okay, sorry, rant over. Back to the topic at hand: dog on a plane. If you’re traveling this holiday season you are almost guaranteed to see a dog, or other animal, in the airport. You might even have one on your plane, and if you do, don’t panic! It’s just a dog, a dog with a very important job so don’t distract it.
Things not to do:
1) Scream and run over to dog and start petting it.
2) Ask the person “what’s wrong with you?” or any variation of it. It is not your business what their disability is.
3) Take pictures
I shouldn’t have to say this, but one time the guy sitting next to me kept taking pictures of Bella on his phone and I finally told him I would start charging him for them. He thankfully stopped
4) Video the team
This also should be a no brainer but it has happened more than once.
5) Question the validity of the team
You are not the service dog police. If the dog is behaving, don’t worry about if they are or aren’t breaking the law, by that point it’s not worth fighting.
6) Baby talk: just no.
7)Yelling or getting mad at the person for not letting you play with their dog.
8)Feed the dog: it’s like a gremlin, so just don’t.
9) Tell stories about how you know a guy who knows a guy who has a dog.
While this may seem nice, if I stop for everyone who wants to talk, I might miss my flight. And honestly, do you like strangers stopping you at busy airports? The answer is probably no.
10) Stop the boarding process because there is a dog on the plane.
Things you can and should do:
1) Ignore the team and let them travel in as much peace as you can have in an airport
2) Be a decent human being and mind your own business.
3) If you do talk to them, be polite and don’t cross boundaries.
4) Talk to airport personnel if there is a problem.
If you see the dog misbehaving, like peeing on things or biting people, don’t handle it yourself, find an airport employee to handle it.
5) Not sure how to title this… Switch seats?
If it looks like you are boarding a plane with a dog and you have allergies or are afraid of dogs, it is totally in your rights to ask to move seats. You cannot ask to move the dog but you can ask to be located at a different part of the plane. Just please don’t do this by standing in the isle yelling about the dog. Flight attendants can be very nice accommodating people as long as you are not yelling at them and holding up the boarding process
6) Smile because you see a nice working dog and then go about your traveling business.
I am sure there are more or nicer ways to say things but I am running out of steam, as it was a long week. So I will end with this; have a Happy Holiday Season! (which ever holiday you may be celebrating) And safe travels. Don’t let the travel get to you and enjoy your vacations.