“One of them is dead”

This story broke my heart today.

United Airlines Killed Our Golden Retriever, Bea

Beatrice had a perfect health record.  She received a full examination and a health certificate four days before the flight, as is required by the Pet Safe program. This program is United’s branded on-board pet safety program. In addition to Pet Safe’s stringent requirements, we took every extra precaution we could think of.  Both the dog’s kennels were labeled front to back with emergency numbers, flight information and warnings.  Their kennels were purchased specifically for the measurements and design specified by Pet Safe.  We purchased special water bowls which we filled with ice to ensure that the water wouldn’t spill and that it would last longer. We drove the six hours to New York City from our house in Northern New York State, so the dogs wouldn’t have to make a connecting flight.  We paid United Airlines $1800.00, in addition to our plane tickets, to ensure the safety of our pets. Albert and Bea were very prepared travelers.

When we arrived in San Francisco to pick up our dogs we drove to the dark cargo terminal and on arrival in the hanger were told simply, “one of them is dead” by the emotionless worker who seemed more interested in his text messages.  It took thirty minutes for a supervisor to come to tell us, “it was the two year old.”

It wasn’t just that the dog died a protracted, painful death of heatstroke due to the airline’s apparent negligence. Nor was it the fact that she was a show dog of fine pedigree who had a bright future ahead of her. No, what broke my heart is that she was only two years old–just a baby. That, and the fact that her altogether tragic death has brought an end to the blog that bears her name.

Thank you for supporting beamakesthree over the past few years, I greatly appreciate it and have really enjoyed everyone’s comments. This will be the last post.

When my own baby dog, Reggie, faced life-threatening surgery last year at the age of two, I was beside myself at the possibility that I might lose her so soon, so early in what should be our long life together. If it had been my fate to have her with me only two years and to lose her to someone else’s carelessness after I had done all I knew how to do to keep her safe, I know I could not have faced the aftermath with even a tiny fraction of the grace shown by Bea’s owner, Maggie Rizer.

Golden Retrievers are a special breed of dog … oh heck, every breed is special in its own way, but they have an extra helping of charm … and this one seemed to be truly exceptional.

Maggie and Bea, from beamakesthree.

I don’t have any thoughts to offer about the airline’s actions or any guidelines to suggest about how to keep your dog safe when you travel. I just want to tell you about this gorgeous animal and the people who loved her.

There’s never been a dog that lived “long enough,” but this one was taken much too soon.


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