Flying pug –

Today I took Missy, our seven- year-old pug, for her evening walk. I used to enjoy taking her out for her morning and evening walks before Andy was born but my father-in-law took over that duty since it’s a hassle to push a stroller while walking a dog. Besides that, Andy’s and Missy’s schedules don’t match.

Since it’s so difficult and dangerous to use the leash (Missy crisscrosses in front of the stroller and the leash might cut or entangle Andy) I usually put the leash on Missy only when there are children around or if we’re going to cross a busy road. As I crossed a non-busy street today Missy lagged behind and a woman turned the corner and caught Missy under her car. I screamed and pointed. She stopped. Missy was okay. She had not been run over. She had kept running while under the car. The woman apologized but I knew it was my fault for not leashing her. Although Missy and I both hate the leash, it’s for her own safety (the residents think it’s for their safety but, believe me, they have nothing to worry about Missy biting them).

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I hated the thought of losing her and remembered that we have been through so much together. I couldn’t even bear to part with her when we came to Korea. After having spent more than two thousand dollars on that dog on: purchase price, vaccinations, surgery to heal her hermaphrodite wounds, doggy door, dog sitter (during the summers when we would travel for months) and numerous toys I wasn’t going to let an airplane ticket to Korea separate me from my beloved pet. I checked online to see what paperwork I needed from her. It was all health paperwork that would have to come from the veterinarian. I took her to her vet. That vet said I would have to go to a special vet that has an international license. She gave me an address and so we went. The vet did all the necessary vaccinations and tests. She stamped a special international paper stating that Missy had passed in all the health areas. Next, I searched for a crate and food and water bottle. In airplanes, dogs can ride upstairs with their owner if they’re twelve pounds or under but Missy is a good 25 pounds. She would have to go downstairs in the luggage area where there isn’t as much air pressure, oxygen or air-conditioning.

Everything I read online about pugs flying was negative. Pugs can’t breathe well with their short noses and thus will suffocate due to the little oxygen and high heat in the airplanes. I debated whether to give up Missy in an act of love but I selfishly persevered to find a way to bring her. I was on the cell phone at Wal-Mart in Arlington when I told my husband “I decided to take her. Korean Air says that she’ll be okay.” A passing shopper overheard me and said, “I’m sorry to interrupt but, I work at DFW and I unload the planes that come from Asia. All the dogs that I’ve unloaded are either dead or dying. A pug couldn’t handle the 15 hour flight.” I thanked him and went to my car and cried in my cousin’s arms. She also has dogs that she loves. I called the pug rescue guy, who also happens to be her babysitter, and told him “I’m giving Missy over to you.” He said it was for the best.

I got home and called Korean Air one more time and asked for statistics on dead animals, specifically dogs. They said that they have had zero deaths since they equip their airplanes with special rooms for animals. The animals aren’t placed with the luggage. The dogs, while in their crates, are placed into special “rooms” that are air-conditioned, pressurized and oxygenized as much as the passengers are. I was so relieved to hear that.

Thus,The vet’s bill: $150, the crate: $75, the airplane ticket $450, Missy’s safe arrival and speedy customs pass (no stopping in quarantine), priceless.

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