Jet-setting service dog dies on return flight to Salt Lake City

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  • kosimov Riverdale, UT
    Sept. 26, 2012 4:52 p.m.

    Although dogs certainly are animals, and not humans, they are one of a very few types of animals with a special relationship with humans. Dogs originally were wild animals, most being descended from wolves. Man domesticated these wild animals, and built a symbiotic relationship with them. There are many examples where dogs, working with humans, do more work, and better work, than humans can do by themselves. This is not my opinion; it is a proven fact. Yet, many people think of dogs the same as mice or bugs or possums; that is, they think of dogs as a kind of "disposable" being, with little worth unless a person happens to have an attitude toward dogs that makes them special.

    I would like to see some effort put into preparing dogs for transport, whether it is in airplanes, or trucks, or cars, or trains, or any other kind of transportation. I know enough humans who do not travel well to cite that as a significant problem; why should dogs be seen differently? Perhaps when a dog is to travel, the "owner" could take it to a vet or groomer for special preparation, etc. Just my $0.02 worth.

  • Rynn Las Vegas, NV
    Sept. 26, 2012 5:15 a.m.

    Dan O.

    Very true. Not a lot of compassion here.

  • Paloma10 Ventura, CA
    Sept. 24, 2012 3:04 p.m.

    I am so sorry to hear that the pug died, what a huge loss.

    I travel frequently with my service dog to Salt Lake City from California. As a certified Service Dog, he is not required to be in a crate. Service Dogs are not pets, at least in the eyes of the FTA and as such, are not required to ride in a crate or limited by weight. My Service Dog is a 2.5 yr old, 80 lb Black Lab. We usually travel on Delta and have never had problems with any of the services they offer. I see from the identification tag that is shown, it is one that is easily purchased from the internet and the requirements for the standard service dog behavior does not have to be met. If there was any formal Service Dog training undertaken, the owner would have been made aware of how to transport her Service Dog. As an experienced dog and horse trainer, I would not undertake the training of a Service Dog, this is a real specialty and the bar is high for these special dogs.
    Again, my condolences

  • Sophie 62 spring city, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 9:56 p.m.

    A well-sritten article. I am so sorry for the loss of your dear little friend, and a valued member of the community. Dogs can be such wonderful companions, but when they offer service and comfort even to strangers, it makes their passing even more difficult to bear. Especially when it might have been avoided.

  • Lasvegaspam Henderson, NV
    Sept. 22, 2012 9:30 p.m.

    Thank you, Spikey, for educating us about the difference between service dogs and emotional support animals. I am certain that many who have dogs for emotional support prefer to call them "service" dogs. As many here have expressed, I too am tired of people who bring their dogs everywhere from the mall to the grocery store insisting they are "service" dogs. Service dogs help the blind maneuver, can alert owners to a seizure coming on, and also help with police work - all significant jobs. However, many today wish to treat their dog like a human child bringing it everywhere with them, from restaurants to worship services, which is simply inappropriate. It's even inappropriate to have very young children at some of these places, but people with dogs seem to have no boundaries.

  • androol Queen Creek, AZ
    Sept. 22, 2012 9:28 p.m.

    Very sorry to hear about the loss of the dog. However airline travel is very unique among service industries in that you take a group of strangers, pack them together in a confined space, and then send them for hours into a very un-hospitable environment with little room for error, for hours at a time. Airlines cannot possibly cover any and all circumstances that one might encounter on a flight. I understand the need to carry service animals on flights for disabled passengers. But there is a limit on what can be done. Many airlines are now banning the transportation of all animals, unless they are registered service animals. Airline travel is hard and stressful for human beings, and we have the ability to voice our concerns. Animals cannot. I really have to question how much a person loves their animals when they carry them on an airplane and subject the poor creature to that kind of stress and confinement. If you are so attached to an animal that you need them to function, either do not travel, or take alternate forms of transportation where you have more control and the animal will be more comfortable.

  • Max Charlotte, NC
    Sept. 22, 2012 5:27 p.m.

    Well said, DanO

  • DanO Mission Viejo, CA
    Sept. 22, 2012 3:33 p.m.

    I always enjoy coming here and reading all the compassionate comments on this site when someone has suffered a loss. It makes me feel so much faith in humanity. Oh.. wait..

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    Sept. 22, 2012 3:30 p.m.

    I was at Lowes the other day. Some lady brought in a large dog that was slobbering all over the customers. The thing was licking our legs. Many of us were disgusted by this, but no one dared do anything because we all knew that pets have priority over people.

    Labeling a dog a "service dog" when the animals only role is playing with kids and keeping you company is ridiculous. Some people have allergies and phobias. They don't want your dog around. Please leave it home.

  • Spikey Layton, UT
    Sept. 22, 2012 3:25 p.m.

    I do NOT think this was an actual SERVICE Dog. I think it was labeled as such in the title of the article because of the owner and dog's experience in Lithuania. Service dogs do NOT have to be in a carrier, they can lay on the floor at the owner's feet, or they can be on the owner's lap. There is also what is called an "Emotional Support Animal," for people with anxiety and such issues that they need the pet to fly---but that is also not considered a Service Dog.

    That being said, it would NOT have helped the dog to have it on the owner's lap---her body heat would have made it worse. The coolest place in the plane while waiting on the tarmac (as a passenger) is on the floor. Until the plane is up and running, everybody in the aircraft is experiencing the same heat. Unfortunately a brachiocephalic dog (pug nosed dog) would struggle regardless. The only way to avoid this is to avoid flying with a brachiocephalic dog, or to fly in the cooler months.

  • Craigo Ivins, UT
    Sept. 22, 2012 3:11 p.m.

    I have 2 dogs and love them. I however, would never bring my dog to costco, home depot or the grocery store. I dont understand some dog owners that think that just because they think their dog is amazing, that we will feel the same. I don't want to hear, smell or pet your dog. Its your dog. So, when you are at the airport, be courteous and know that Most of us dont want to smell or pet your dog. To the woman that lost her dog, Im sorry.. but seriously, do you really think this is Jet blues fault? Be reasonable. What were they supposed to do.. allow you to let the dog out of the cage to potentially run around the cabin? I dont hunt, dont like animal cruelty in any way, but the fact is , DOGS are not people, and we certainly don't need a story like this in Deseret news.

  • Igualmente Mesa, AZ
    Sept. 22, 2012 12:31 p.m.

    Do airlines require service animals to have a recent certificate of health from a vet within 14 days before travel? If not, they should, along with requesting the animal be bathed and groomed before travel.

    My daughter flew this past Wednesday evening from JFK to SLC on JetBlue and had the most miserable 4 & a half hour flight of her life, because she was sitting behind a service dog that reeked. The smell did not subside. She was unable to read, sleep, or concentrate on anything else it was so repugnant.

    When she complained to JetBlue yesterday, they said that she should have asked when checking in, if any service animals were on board, and they would have happily re-seated her.

    How many of us ask that, every time we get on a plane?

  • Butch70 Spokane, WA
    Sept. 22, 2012 11:40 a.m.

    Sorry for the lost of your pet. I have lost many pets myhself years past so I know how you feel about loosing your pet.

  • Baccus0902 Leesburg, VA
    Sept. 22, 2012 10:20 a.m.

    All life is sacred but, there are thousands of people suffering from hunger, poverty, war. I'm sorry for the dog, but I feel compelled to read an article about human suffering than. Not a Jet setting dog.
    By the way, I do own two happy dogs.

  • DEW Sandy, UT
    Sept. 22, 2012 10:18 a.m.

    Forgot one more thing, it is none of our buisness of who are those individuals condition are of why they have service animals. It is a personal of who and what they are. I myself don't like people looking at me and wondering if I am really blind. You knew about my first comment when I said I have a guide dog. But of course when she is going for lawsuit and she will be questioned.

  • DEW Sandy, UT
    Sept. 22, 2012 9:02 a.m.

    I don't know what kind of service dog this Sophia was and it was a sad situation for this dog. And go easy on certain people who own service animals. Yes, they do contact whoever their canine trainer for guidance and information when traeling places local and abroad. Airliners are trying their best to provide resipiants needs but they do have to abide travel regulations.

    I got my first service Leader Dog (guide dog) coming home from Detroit to Salt Lake City and my trainer were well prepared of how TO handled airlineRS. I got on Delta with no problem and their crew were great. Now that explained why flight attendent offer my dog ICE which make sense. My service dog was 15 months old was acting like a puppy when chewing up ice and they love it. Traveling in the air was great with great respect. But that was year 1999. What is the regulation today with Delta which I don't know.

    Sorry, this has to end on Sophia, RIP.

  • chanchoboy Birmingham, MI
    Sept. 22, 2012 8:35 a.m.

    This is an unfortunate story. Airlines make a killing by letting you take your dog, cat, bird, ect onboard the aircraft, 150 dollars per flight. Having flown over 22 times with my dog, 3 international trips, it is something that a passager needs to consider and assure the dog is able and fit to fly.
    What the article didn't mention is that there are certian breeds that do poorly in warm, humid climates, pugs, boxers, ect ,that have a very shallow nasal cavity will overheat very quickly. The dog owner probably should have been informed of that, taking the dog out of the carrier even though it may have gotton her of the flight should have been done. Its also interesting to know that people die each year on flights also, you can get the statistics on that.
    Ironmomo, a dog can be considered a service dog for many reasons, you cannot buy a seat ticket for a dog, and it costs nothing for an attorney as they will take a percentage of any settlement. Most states see animals as property, and only minimal compensation is made, not many malpractice lawsuits against veternarians..
    Sorry for her loss.

  • luv2organize Gainesville, VA
    Sept. 22, 2012 8:12 a.m.

    It is a tragic loss but one that is difficult to fully understand who is at fault. These types of dogs are well known for breathing problems and because of a few types of dogs like this it has changed the entire scope of trying to transport a pet.

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    Sept. 22, 2012 8:11 a.m.

    I agree

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Sept. 22, 2012 8:09 a.m.

    i am sorry the dog died.

    Many airlines ban snub-nose type dogs due to the health risks for the dogs. For example, in 2011 almost half of the dogs that died while being transported were of the snub-nose variety. When i arranged for our yellow lab to fly with us from the east coast to the west coast (we were moving) there were restrictions on where and when the dog could fly as any destination or stopping point along the way could not exceed a certain temperature.