Usually it’s no big deal, but when it’s an airline making the mistakes, and they’re strictly the result of carelessness, we have to wonder a bit.
In this case, the first boo boo came when an Air Canada employee in San Francisco decided that, due to a flight delay, a dog being flown to a new adoptive home in Canada needed a potty break. When he let the Italian greyhound out of his crate, Larry escaped.
Jutta Kulic, while attending a dog show in Sacramento, had dropped Larry off at the San Francisco airport. She zip-tied the crate, and instructed the airline not to open it for any reason. Larry, who belonged to a friend of Kulic’s who died of cancer, was on his way to a new home — or so she thought.
That flight ended up being delayed, and later that night, Kulic received a call from Air Canada telling her Larry had run away.
After talking with Kulic about what had happened, CBS13 in Sacramento reached out to Air Canada (that’s what TV news people do these days, “reach out”) which generally means sending an email.
That’s when the airline made its second blunder.
The email an airline representative sent to the station, apparently accidentally, wasn’t meant for public consumption. Instead, it was an internal exchange about how to handle the media inquiry:
“I think I would just ignore, it is local news doing a story on a lost dog,” read the email from Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick. “Their entire government is shut down and about to default and this is how the US media spends its time.”
Later the airline sent another email to the station, this time with the requisite apologies and saying the incident was being investigated.
Kulic said she is afraid she’ll never see Larry, who is brown and white and two years old, again.
But the family in Canada says they’re still hoping he might be found and delivered to them.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accidents, air canada, airlines, airports, animals, canada, dog, dogs, email, government, italian greyhound, larry, loses, lost, mistakes, pets, san francisco, shut down, shutdown, transportation, travel
The parents of a 10-year-old girl have been charged with endangering the welfare of a child after holiday travelers spotted the girl riding in a crate with the family dog.
Authorities received multiple calls about the girl Monday evening after she was seen in the crate, in the back of a pick-up truck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
The girl did not appear harmed, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Abbey Carlson, 29, and Thomas Fishinger, 30, were arraigned Tuesday morning and released on their own recognizance. They are due in court June 6 for a preliminary hearing.
An eastbound motorist on the turnpike in Beaver County called state police at 7:01 p.m. to report seeing a girl in a dog cage in the bed of the pickup, troopers said. Troopers received a second call a few minutes later from another motorist near the Butler County line.
Motorists provide a license number of the pickup, state troopers said. They traced the registration and alerted officers in Millvale, where the family lives. The truck was pulled over near their home. The couple told police they were driving home from his mother’s house in Beaver County.
According to The Smoking Gun, Fishinger was arrested less than a week ago on charges of identity theft and access device fraud, but released from jail after making bail.
(Top photo, an obscured image of the girl in the crate, taken by another motorist and posted on Reddit; bottom photo, Facebook)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 29th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, caged, charged, child, crate, crated, daughter, dogs, endangering, endangerment, girl, highway, kennel, memorial day, parents, pennsylvania turnpike, pets, photos, pickup truck, transportation, travel, travelers, welfare
Try as I might, I couldn’t figure out what these long tubes I kept passing on Interstate 94 in Montana were.
Airplane wings? Some new form of irrigation equipment? Space shuttle components? Pieces of some secret governmental weapon?
I was tilting at windmills.
Which is what they turned out to be — windmill blades, to be precise.
I found that out later at a truck stop in Rocker, just west of of Butte, where several of the oversized loads, having just negotiated the winding stretch of interstate on Butte’s eastern side, had pulled over for a rest.
According to the Associated Press, the explosive growth of the wind energy industry has led to dozens of trucks a day toting the blades down the nation’s Interstate highways to their new homes, mostly in the west.
Commonly traveling in convoys, the oversized loads haven’t caused too many problems. They’re not any wider than a normal truck, but they are longer — much longer. Some of the blades extend 180 feet, about triple the length of regular semitrailer loads.
That means it takes about three times as long to get around them, but considering the clean, renewable, independent energy they will go on to supply, I’m a fan.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 1st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, blades, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, energy, environment, highway, interstate, montana, oversized load, pets, road trip, transport, transportation, travels with ace, trucking, trucks, turbines, wind, windmills, wings
Since I decided nearly three months ago to get on the road again — that I was going mobile — I’ve reached a few conclusions: Life is a highway. Every day is a winding road. And, though I may not be a highway star, or king of the road, I have been runnin’ down a dream, and I think, just maybe, I can see paradise by the dashboard light.
Or is that a Waffle House?
We’ve discussed songs and the road before, and how they intertwine. Now NPR has come up with a road mix of its own — in celebration of Interstate 95 and the beginning of a $1.4 billion construction project that will fill in it’s missing link.
The nation’s most traveled Interstate, I-95 stretches nearly 2,000 miles from the top of Maine to the southern tip of Florida — but there’s a hole in it. It disappears for a few miles near the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, forcing travelers to divert onto other roads.
Now, the missing 12 miles is finally going to be built, prompting NPR’s Weekend Edition‘s to produce ”I-95: The Road Most Traveled,” a series exploring the social, cultural, economic and environmental impact of the I-95 highway renovation project.
As part of that, Philadelphia’s WXPN — as part of putting together its 885 Ultimate Road Trip Songs Countdown – has put together a mix of 95 classic road songs in honor of the Interstate. The mix is available via the NPR Music iPhone app (just select “Streams” at the top of the “Rock/Pop/Folk” channel).
A few days from now, Ace and I — lacking both iPhone and app, but with our own collection of road music — will be hitting I-95, northbound, to head back for a visit to Baltimore, where we hope to rest up and contemplate the next leg of our journey, and the pros and cons of continuing it.
The cons include being weary of motel rooms, and short on funds. The pros include the people we’ve met and the places we’ve seen, and that, even if we do sometimes wake up not being sure what town we’re in, we get to spend virtually all of our time together.
Which is good, because, as you might know, we’ve got a thing that’s called radar love.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 22nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, construction, dog's country, dogscountry, highways, I-95, interstate, music, npr, ohmidog!, project, radar love, road trip, roads, songs, transportation, travel, traveling with dogs
A shipper last week checked 14 puppies in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for a flight to Chicago, according to SmartTravel.com. Despite the airline’s policy against carrying pets when outside temperatures are expected to exceed 85 degrees, the puppies were in the cargo hold as temperatures on the tarmac rose to 87 degrees by the time the delayed flight departed.
When the flight arrived in Chicago, the puppies were lethargic and in visible distress. They were taken to a vet’s office, but five died initially and two others died later, according to the Associated Press.
The airline declined to identify the shipper, or the breed of the puppies. Animals traveling as cargo on American must be at least eight weeks old, and the airline doesn’t allow dogs or cats that have been sedated.
An airline spokesperson said cargo holds carrying animals are routinely kept between 50 and 70 degrees.
But experts — and statistics – say we shouldn’t count on that.
The deaths come a month after the U.S. Department of Transportation warned that short-snouted dogs such as pugs and bulldogs accounted for about half of the 122 dogs that died during U.S. flights in the last five years.
Add in the tales of dogs getting lost at airports and the best advice is to, whenever possible, avoid shipping a pet as air cargo. There are other alternatives — from using Pet Airways, where pets ride in crates in the cabin, to driving, as Ed Perkins of SmartTravel.com notes in a recent column.
The ASPCA recommends that owners avoid shipping pets in the cargo hold, and offers these tips for those who can’t.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 14th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air, air travel, airlines, american, american airlines, animals, cargo, cargo hold, chicago, deaths, died, dogs, fly, flying, heat, pets, puppies, pups, short, snouts, temperatures, transportation, travel, warning
Route 66 through Tucumcari is like Route 66 through a lot of places — a step back into the past that leaves you wondering if the old road and the motels that line it have much of a future.
Bypassed decades ago by Interstate 40, they fought to survive — and many have managed to do so nicely — but the economic downturn has made that a far fiercer fight.
Some, like the Blue Swallow (above) seem to be hanging on, thriving even. For others, the neon has burned out, the windows have been boarded up and weeds rise waist-high in the parking lot.
The Relax Inn, for example, is a ghost motel — and I’ve seen at least a dozen of them in my travels on Route 66 in New Mexico and Arizona: Its outdated sign remains, but glows no more.
Route 66 was established in 1926, originally running from Chicago through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and ending in southern California – 2,448 miles in all.
It served as pathway for migrants moving west during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Mom and pop businesses began popping up along it around then – restaurants, gas stations, motor courts, curio shops and more. Most of those businesses managed to survive the Depression, even prosper from it, catering to those moving west in search of a better life. World War II led to more westward migration, further bolstering businesses along Route 66. By the 1950s, the road served as the main highway for vacationers headed to California, or to see the sights of the West, and Route 66 thrived.
It would become a cultural icon in the decade that followed – featured in songs, TV shows and movies. It was distinctly American – and even today, some of the motels tout, in addition to their color cable TV and Internet connections, their American-ness.
The Tucumcari Inn, for example boasts that it is “American-owned”, but right next door, the sign at The Historic Route 66 Motel — as if casting aspersions on whether its neighbor is true-blue American — reads “Genuine American.” (Apparently, genuine American-ness, is worth an extra $2 a night)
The beginning of what many thought might be the end for Route 66 came in 1956 when President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Interstate Highway Act. Interstate 40 offered a speedier alternative, one in which motorists wouldn’t need to go through or slow down for towns like Tucumcari.
Despite the opposition of business and civic leaders in many of the bypassed towns, I-40 stretched on absorbing some parts of Route 66, sidestepping others.
In 1963, the New Mexico Legislature enacted legislation that banned the construction of interstate bypasses around cities by local request – but that didn’t fly. The federal government threatened to withhold federal highway funds. Instead some towns, Tucumcari included, worked out agreements with the federal government, in hopes that the new Interstate would at least come close to their businesses.
By the late 1960s, most of the rural sections of US 66 had been replaced by I-40 across New Mexico, and in 1981 the section bypassing Tucumcari was completed.
Route 66 would be “decommisioned” in 1985 when the federal government decided it was no longer “relevant” – given the presence of the Interstate Highway System.
Since then, there have been many efforts to preserve Route 66, and the businesses along it. In 1999 the National Route 66 Preservation Bill was signed by President Clinton, which provided $10 million in grants for preserving and restoring its historic features.
Today, Tucumcari, whose billboards attempt to lure travelers off the Interstate and into town — “Tucumcari Tonight,” they urge – has fewer motels, fewer restaurants. It’s down to one bar, and the signs of struggle are apparent in boarded up buildings, bargain rates and beckoning neon.
Some of it, like hope, flickers at times, but it still shines bright. Long may it do so.
(Photos by John Woestendiek)
(To read all of “Dog’s Country,” from the beginning, click here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 21st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, animals, arizona, blue swallow, buckaroo motel, bypass, bypassed, clinton, culture, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, economy, eisenhower, historic route 66 motel, history, holbrook, i-40, icon, Interstate 40, interstate highway system, motel, motels, motor courts, neon, new mexico, nostalgia, ohmidog!, pets, popular culture, relax inn, route 66, survival, towns, transportation, travel, tucumcari, tucumcari inn
Bulldogs, pugs, and other short-of-snout breeds accounted for about half of the purebred dog deaths on airplanes in the past five years, the data shows.
Overall, 122 dog deaths — 108 of them purebreds — were reported between May 2005, when U.S. airlines were required to start disclosing them, and May 2010, the Transportation Department says.
All the dogs died while being shipped as cargo, as opposed to flying in the cabin.
English bulldogs accounted for the highest number, with 25 deaths. Second highest were pugs, 11 of which died. Seven golden retrievers, six French bulldogs and four American Staffordshire terriers died while flying as cargo in that period. And boxers, cockapoos, Pekingese and Pomeranians accounted for two deaths each.
You can see the full list here.
The Department of Transportation says dog owners should consult with veterinarians before putting their dogs on planes. It believes that the deaths represent a tiny percentage of the pets shipped on airlines.
Short-nose breeds — known as “brachycephalic” — in addition to being less tolerant of heat, have a skull formation that affects their airways, Dan Bandy, chairman of the Bulldog Club of America’s health committee, told the Associated Press.
“The way all dogs cool themselves is basically through respiration, either just panting or the action of breathing in or out, is a method of heat exchange for them,” Bandy said. “A dog that has a long snout or a long muzzle has more surface area within its nasal cavity for that heat exchange to take place. So breeds like labradors or collies or those types of dogs with the long muzzles have a more efficient cooling system.”
Bandy said that in addition to trying to cool themselves, dogs may also pant excessively in the cargo hold because of stress or excitement. But he believes dogs shouldn’t be given tranquilizers before flying because that makes them less able to manage their own cooling process. In addition, airlines generally do not want pets tranquilized, he added.
In all, 144 pet deaths were reported by airlines over the past five years, along with 55 injuries and 33 lost pets.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 18th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air, air travel, airline, animals, boxers, bulldogs, cargo, deaths, dog, dogs, federal, flight, flights, flying, government, health, length, news, nose, pekingese, pets, pugs, purebred, risk, safety, short, snout, transportation, travel
Hoping to breathe new life into his business, a Colorado kennel owner bought an old hearse and converted it into a pet limo, adding pick-up and delivery to the services he offers pooches.
Merle Maser, owner of Land of Ah’s Kennel in Fountain, spruced up the old funeral limo with a paint job and uses it to deliver animals to and from the kennel at a cost of one dollar per mile.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 5th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, boarding, business, colorado, delivery, dog, dogs, fountain, funeral, hearse, kennel, land of ah's, limo, limousine, merle maser, pets, pickup, transportation, video
My amazing eight days in Seoul — which I’ll tell you a thing or two about in the days ahead – are over, and I’m almost home.
One more flight to go, from San Francisco to Baltimore, and that’s not for another few hours, giving me time to sit in the airport and reflect on things such as why we humans transport ourselves much like we transport our livestock.
Why is it those in charge of moving us non-grade A/non-first-class humans from one place to another feel we must be cramped and sweaty, packed in like these pick-up truck pigs I snapped a picture of in Yongin, about 40 miles south of Seoul.
Sure, we humans get beverage service, and perhaps headsets to listen to music, and reclining seats, but other than that — and the fact that we’re not slaughtered when we reach our destination — the experiences have some parallels. And if we were to look at subways, there’d be even more.
Subways are cheap and fast and, as crowded as those in Seoul could get, I never found myself resentful about feeling like part of the herd. With airline travel, because of the hefty cost and all the extra hassles, I’m more likely to oink about it.
I wonder if it might send a message if we all took to mooing and squealing as we trudged through the line on our way through the airport security chute. Or should we just be thankful that they don’t use cattle prods to speed us along?
Granted, the average economy airline seat offers more room than these pigs get — but not much more, especially if the passenger in front of you has his seat fully reclined.
Fortunately, I slept through most of my last 10 airplane-seat hours — and I hope to do the same for most of the upcoming six. It’s not exactly quality sleep, what with some stranger’s elbow in your side, but it makes the time go by, and allows you to recover from the treatment you’ve just received from the security wranglers.
I think that’s why, even when one sleeps for the entire journey, one is still exhausted upon arriving home — the stress and cramped conditions of air travel. Still, I’m grateful for this much:
When I get to my final destination I might be toast. But at least I won’t be bacon.