Saying goodbye to our passengers is tough. Inevitably Pam has said, at some point in the flight, “Can’t we take them home with us?” If we didn’t already have three dogs at home we’d probably take them all home.
But when we arrive at the destination we need to make sure the dogs stretch their legs and have an opportunity to lift a leg if they need to. You know what we mean. Then we have to connect with the rescue picking up the dogs and sometimes that involves getting permission for them to drive through the security gates to the plane.
Other times we have to find our connecting pilot and transfer the dogs. When we have a connecting flight the dogs typically go into crates with the other pilots. We’ve found that our approach to transporting the dogs is out of the ordinary.
But because other pilots carry dogs in crates it doesn’t mean they are not compassionate and caring. It just means they might be by themselves and not have someone there who feels comfortable in handling the dogs in flight.
Once we’ve made sure the paperwork is handed over then we typically have to do the harness/collar swap and help the dogs to get loaded into the car or plane.
On the flight home we are typically pretty drained. It seems to take a lot of emotional energy to get the dogs are setoff on their new path. The flights home are typically very quiet as we think about the dogs we just said goodbye to.