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Tag: coast guard

Best available fare? For this Coast Guard officer’s mastiff, it’s $31,000

A U.S. Coast Guard officer serving in Japan says the best rate she can get to fly her English mastiff back to the states is $31,000.

Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer McKay, a liaison to U.S. Forces Japan at Yokota in western Tokyo, paid $3,200 to bring her 220-pound dog, George Jefferson, to Japan two years ago.

But with United Airlines having temporarily suspended shipping dogs in the cargo hold, McKay has few other options — and they are all expensive, Stars and Stripes reported.

United suspended its pet transportation service last week after three dogs were sent to incorrect destinations — including one dog that was sent to Japan instead of Kansas. A fourth dog died after its owner placed it in an overhead bin during a flight from Houston to New York.

While the airline is honoring existing reservations it is not accepting new ones for dogs traveling as cargo. The suspension does not effect dogs traveling in the cabin.

“I am a single-parent service member just trying to get home to the U.S. with my dog and my son,” said McKay, who’s headed for a new assignment in Washington, D.C., in June. She had hoped to fly to Texas with her dog and pick up a car she stored there.

She’s hoping United reinstates its travel program as scheduled, on May 1.

“The alternative options to do this are financially unreasonable — but my dog is my family and I won’t leave him behind,” she said.

The suspension has also stranded military-owned pets on Guam, as United was the only airline operating in the U.S. territory that permitted pet transport to and from the mainland.

Other options exist for shipping pets from Japan — but when it comes to large animals they can be expensive and inconvenient. Only United and All Nippon Airways offer direct flights from Tokyo to Houston, McKay said.

ANA told McKay that because of the size of George’s carrier, they would have to charge extra — about $31,000.

An Air Mobility Command flight — the usual way for military pet owners to transport their animals to and from Japan — isn’t an option. The command sets a maximum weight of 150 pounds, including the pet’s carrier, and only travels to Seattle.

Many airlines, such as Japan Airlines, Delta, American, Alaskan, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Singapore Air and Air Canada, refuse to carry English mastiffs outright, McKay said.

Swept away, rescued, and now reunited

That dog we showed you Saturday — the one who was rescued from atop the rubble of a home after being swept more than a mile out to sea by the tsunami in Japan?

Today she was reunited with her owner.

The reunion took place at an animal shelter in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, where the dog, named Ban, was returned to an overjoyed owner, three weeks after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan.

Ban, a two-year-old mixed breed, was plucked off the wreckage of a house drifting in the sea Friday by a Japanese helicopter rescue crew. You can see that video here. Apparently, she spent more than three weeks adrift.

The dog’s owner, whose name was not made public, saw the rescue on television and rushed to claim her pet, according to both Voice of America and the Associated Press.

Thousands of people and countless pets are still missing three weeks after the disaster, which left more than 12,000 people dead.

Dog who survived tsunami rescued at sea

A dog who survived the tsunami was found atop the rubble of a home that had floated more than a mile out to sea — and, we’re happy to be able to confirm this time, rescued by the Japanese coast guard.

According to a report and video in The Telegraph, the dog apparently spent three weeks at sea before being spotted on the floating roof of a house, about 1.1 miles from the coast of Kesennuma.

It took a rescue team more than an hour to grab the brown brown dog, who they wrapped in a blanket and carried on a stretcher aboard the rescue boat.

Once back on the main ship, the dog, who has no identifying tags on its collar, warmed up quickly — at least to his rescuers.