Ausgang: Flight

I moved to Denmark from Central Illinois with Chai, the dog on August 31, 2010 . This meant I had to fly with Chai. I was not looking forward to this for several reasons. She barks at bikes was a top one. In Denmark, so many people bike that there are stoplights just for bikes.

One month before our flight she wedged herself into a tight space to avoid the terror of fireworks and abraded her chest. She had to have surgery, wear a cone, and take antibiotics. I read on the Internet that it is not recommended to fly with a dog.

A few weeks before our flight we lived with friends on whose property a giant oak tree grows. Chai developed a fear of being bombarded by acorns and refused to go into the back yard to pee during the daytime. At night squirrels sleep so the acorn onslaught lessened and she would creep out the back door along the edge of the yard farthest from the tree.

My dog is highly sensitive. I asked the vet about sedatives for flying. The vet said try Acepromazine and see how she does.

I tried Acepromazine, an animal sedative. I gave her two mixed with peanut butter and cheese. We went on a walk. She looked stoned. She snapped at me and peed on the floor. My friend said when she gave her large dog half of one sedative, her dog feel asleep. I read on the Internet that it is not recommended to sedate your dog when flying.

I decided not to sedate her. Instead, I wrote a letter for her and taped it to the outside of her crate.

My friend, Becca, in Chicago went to the airport with me. I begged her to go with me, actually. I had a ten PM flight and Peter at SAS did not recommend getting the airport early with a Live Animal. They would just sit around and wait to be loaded on the plane. They could get scared or hot, two of the several things I was worried about.

I thought about Chai not knowing what was happening to her, surrounded by the loud noise of the airport and being hot. I cried. We waited until 7:30 to leave for O’Hare from Logan Square.

We all ate McDonald’s in the car. I shared my fries with Chai; her last meal.

At the airport we parked far away from other people and got lucky with a SkyCap cart left on the edge of the parking lot. Becca held the crate and I put Chai in. She will always go into her crate. It is a small safe space, for this I was thankful. I felt devious for luring her into the ‘safe space’ only to be leaving her to be put on the plane.

We walked into the airport. Right away I made eye contact with an old hippie couple with two large dog crates, red and white Live Animal stickers on the side. We exchanged what kind of dog we had stories. They flew back and forth from Italy all the time with their dogs. Grand.

Okay, this whole flying to Europe with dogs thing was not so strange.

We got in line for check in. I cried at the SAS counter. The blonde ticket lady was nice about it. On my flight there were two other people with crated Live Animals and a therapy poodle that went on the plane, uncrated. In line, a girl with two small dogs in one crate offered me an herbal sedative for Chai.

We took Chai over to security where we had to take her out of the crate so they could search inside. What kind of person would use their dog crate and dog to smuggle something? I hated that person. I also hated taking Chai out of the crate in the airport. The security guy said, ‘It’s wet,’ when he put his blue gloved hand in to search for smugglables. ‘You wanted to search it, guy.’

The other security dudes wanted to pet her. No, not a good idea.

After the search she went back into the crate. She likes the crate. It’s a perfect hiding place. Then we left her to be carried out to cargo on a little cart.

When we arrived in Denmark the next day, I saw the little cart driving her crate across the tarmac to baggage claim. She made it. Chai, the international dog.

Also, here in Copenhagen, the city of cyclists, she doesn’t bark at bikes anymore.


- Bonnie Fortune