Loose puppy on runway delays flights

On Wednesday, the AP reports that a 30-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback named Byrdie escaped from her crate while being loaded onto a Delta flight. The pup ran around the runway until authorities, unable to catch the dog and leash her, could find her owner on the Memphis-bound flight.

The owner called, and the 14-month-old pup came running.

This is one reason why I refuse to travel by air with my dog: he’d have to fly with the luggage, and there’s no way I’d hand my dog over to strangers who can’t seem to get my luggage from Point A to Point B unscathed.

According to an ABC News report from last July, between 2005 (the first year airlines were required to report problems) to 2009, 224 dogs were killed, injured while in the care of the airlines.

That doesn’t seem like a huge number, but since we don’t know how many dogs the airlines actually transported it’s difficult to know if that number is high or low. But if it’s your dog that arrives dead, it’s one dog too many.

The image of a cute puppy wrecking havoc on the runway and shutting down a major airport is the stuff kid’s movies are made of.

But it’s no joke to ship a dog as cargo. It’s loud and scary and there are health concerns with being placed in dark, cramped quarters under distress. Short nosed breeds, who have trouble breathing under normal circumstances, are particularly susceptible and top the list of dogs who die most often in flight.

There’s no word on what happened to Byrdie after she reconnected with her owner. Let’s hope they both arrived safely!

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