Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Best Darn CowDog in the Whole Wide West

EverythingDogBlog #39
EverythingDogBlog #39: The Best Darn CowDog in the Whole Wide West
By Skye Anderson, MS
“I see by your outfit that you are a cowdog,” I remarked to the lovely golden Golden Retriever in the rakish cowboy hat.
“Yup,” he woofed (evidently a dog of few words).
If Zuma isn’t the best darn cowdog in the Whole Wide West, at least he’s the cutest! (see photo)
Flying Alaska
When was the last time you walked out onto the tarmac to board a prop plane? For me, it was in Afghanistan. That is, before my Alaskan Airlines flights back west recently. Fortunately, in Seattle, it was a rare day - no rain! Alaska also took our carry-ons to stow for us!
However, on the way back to Maryland, I flew from Spokane to Seattle to Miami (where I had pizza for breakfast) to BWI (Baltimore Washington International Airport), a real red-eye, in lieu of encountering (bad) weather and delays in Chicago.
How does this relate to dogs? Read on, my friend.
Airport Dogs and Dog-Friendly Airports
East Coast dog culture differs from West Coast dog culture. (I’m a Westerner living temporarily [for the past 25 years] in the East and I am comforted each time I return home when I spot cowboy boots and cowboy hats in the airport in Las Vegas or anywhere in Montana or Arizona. I reflexively relax and smile inside at the visual welcome that I don’t realize I miss until I go ‘home again.’)
At BWI, every door has a sign prominently displayed stating that all pets must be caged.
So, imagine my surprise to fly into SEATAC (Seattle-Tacoma airport) and find a little white dog being held in his person’s arms on the tram between gates, then to see a Chihuahua on a leash in the airport (his person was carrying his soft-sided crate before boarding my flight). I almost told them dogs must be crated but it’s a good thing I didn’t because I would have been wrong. Again. For the second time in my life.
Had my layover been longer, my golden retriever friend in Seattle would have driven to the airport to give me a warm, fuzzy layover. Hopefully, next time. SEATAC is a dog-friendly airport as is much of the West where dogs have a real job.
For the first time I flew on the same plane as another beautiful Golden Retriever who was a service dog. I was proud of everyone waiting for the flight, for nobody approached the dog to pet him – he was, after all, in work mode.
All in all, my two recent cross-country trips were sad enough due to family illness and a death but they could have been worse, were it not for the dogs I met on the way and stayed with in Spokane! For a smile to lighten your travel day, just look for a dog! You will find one. Thank God for Dog!
Dog Books Read on My Transcontinental Flight
On my way west, I read much of Canine Behavior: A Guide for Veterinarians by Dr. Bonnie Beaver and Veterinary Forensics: Animal Cruelty Investigations by Dr. Melinda Merck. Both may be a bit pricey (the current editions cost $75 and $100, respectively) but since both have been updated you should be able to get your hands on a first edition at a more reasonable cost.
Canine Behavior is a review of scientific literature on the subject (which I appreciate) whileVeterinary Forensics seemed a bit elementary to me since I have a course on Forensic Anthropology under my belt. However, I went back and forth reading between the two and planned to finish them on the flights back home which turned out to be red-eyes, so . . . . .
All in all it was dogworthy trip (or two)!

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