Pee, pooch, PEEEEE! I silently begged the dog sitting on the floor in front of me. There was a knock on the door.
Pee, pooch, PEEEEE! I silently begged the dog sitting on the floor in front of me. There was a knock on the door. I panicked. “Just a minute!!!” I cried. “Katie, it’s me. How’s it going?” my friend Rosemarie called through the door. I breathed a sigh of relief “umm, not so well. I’m still waiting for something, anything, to happen”. She sighed. “Ok, well umm hurry up. People are waiting.” Right. People were waiting…
It was Monday, August 11, 2008, and I found myself on an airplane, thousands of feet above the Atlantic Ocean with my best friend and two dogs. I had spent the summer in Hungary, volunteering for four weeks at horse camps, and was now helping my best friend and her family move back to the U.S. after 10 years in Hungary. Part of that process was bringing home the family pets. I had been in charge of carrying their family cat, Silky, back home on the plane with me, and my friend in charge of carrying her Pomeranian, Sniggles. However, when we found Silky dead behind the bunk house one day, we had to tweak that plan.
“Jo Reggelt Kivanok, kosznom hogy meghivaltal Air France, Szegithetek? (Good morning, thank you for calling Air France, how can I help you?). In my broken Hungarian, I began my explanation. The cat I had been planning to carry home had died 48 hours ago. “So, you do not want to carry the cat back with you?” No, I do not want to carry the dead cat home with me. “So you want to remove the carry-on pet from your ticket?” No, I want to carry a small dog instead. “Your cat became a dog?” NO my cat did not become a dog. “So you have a different dog you want to carry home instead?” Yes. “Is it still under 8 kg?” Yes. “Are you sure you do not wish to carry a cat?” YES I’M SURE. “Ok, I will change your reservation to a dog instead of a cat”. Koszonom Szepen. (thank you very much)
That taken care of, we headed to the airport on departure day. We arrived at the check in counter, checked our luggage and then handed over the pet passports. The lady at the desk looked at her computer and declared “So, you have one cat, and one dog, correct?” NO. The lady on the phone didn’t change the reservation. Just our luck. “You have to call the airline and change it.” I did change it. “No you didn’t, it wasn’t changed in the system.” I called the lady. “Oh you called the lady?” Yes, I called the lady! “And she said she changed it?” Yes she said she changed it! “Well, it isn’t changed here.” “Well, she said she changed it and our flight is in two hours so you better change it.” At that, she gathered our passports, the pet passports, boarding passes, put on a fake smile and bid us a good flight home.
And that was only the beginning. So, here I was, perched on all fours on top of a toilet seat begging the dumb dog to pee. If you thought an airplane bathroom was small, try sharing it with a dog. Finally, I gave up. I packed the dog and all its newspaper and headed out the door, avoiding the eyes of those waiting in line for the bathroom. I set up camp once again on the floor near the emergency exit, but was quickly notified that I was not allowed to remove the dog from its cage and was sent back to my seat. Lunch was served and I sacrificed my ham sandwich for the sake of the pooch. And I don’t even like dogs.
Finally, the flight was over. We landed safely, gathered our bags, and headed for customs. Since we had been on a farm all summer, we were required to go through extra screening. After the man laughed at us, inspected our dogs, tested the bottom of our shoes for soil, confiscated our dog food, and asked us a million questions, we were free. We headed out the large automatic doors and easily spotted my parents. We gladly allowed them to push the three carts of luggage as Rosemarie and I kept reign of the dogs. We headed out to the parking lot, the dogs walking proudly behind us. Suddenly, we felt a tug on the leaches. We stopped, and looked back, right as they stopped to pee.
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