Airline Shipping for Dogs: The REAL Scoop!

We have now flown over 9000 rescued Bichons to their new homes, in the 21 years since our inception.

We have used American, Delta, United,Continental, U.S. Air, Alaska Air, and Northwest Airlines.

We use a professional pet travel agency and they are true experts!

Below are some of the stories! These are all true, and you may contact the senders if you wish!:))

(The average cost for Priority Parcel Airfare for a Bichon (average 20 pounds) is $175.00, plus $40.00 for the crate, and $35.00 (average national price) for the Veterinary Health Certificate.) As of yet, we have never raised these prices in 21 years.

In 1998 the FAA made it mandatory so that the animals traveling on planes breathe the same air as the passengers.

This is part of the letter you will receive when making arrangements for your fluff to fly to you!

“Congratulations on your upcoming adoption from Small Paws® Rescue!! We will guide you smoothly through the flight process.

Flying is a very safe mode of transportation, which we have used over 9000 times since 1998. We hope you will feel as comfortable with this as we do!

Animals are transported in a safe room that maintains the same air and temperatures as passengers in the cabin.

These compartments are pressurized and they maintain a comfortable temperature for your new fluff. (In 1998 the FAA made it mandatory that animals traveling on planes breathe the same air as all passengers.)”

AA Cargo Animal Safety

We are looking forward to working with you and your new little bundle!

Denise Santos
Small Paws Rescue Inc.
Transportation Coordinator
Co-Team Leader MD. and VA.



Small Paws® Rescue: Sisters adopt Brothers

The first time I drove to the airport to fly a rescue dog, …I got so scared, I turned around and brought it RIGHT back home! I was shaking and on the verge of throwing up. I, too, had heard the “horror” stories. Since that time, my rescue partner, Susan Sebring, from Topeka, Kansas and I, have become probably the most experienced rescue people, regarding shipping rescue dogs, alive on the planet today!! We fly dogs every week!

Now I want to show you why we believe that the airlines are a safe and efficient way to transport these rescue dogs! I don’t understand why every rescue group in the country isn’t doing it! It is much better to fly dogs, than to let them die in a shelter, and the new, adoptive parent will gladly pay for the airfare!:))

In the later part of 1998, the FAA made new rulings, pertaining to flying live animals and plants. The cargo room where they fly, must have the same air, that is flowing in the cabin with the passengers. Because we use priority parcel services, our dogs crates are hand carried to the adoptive parents, within 30 minutes of arrival. They do not come down the chute with the luggage. We have never had a rescue dog who did not arrive safely to it’s new parents! We very rarely even had one go to the bathroom in it’s crate!:)

When I ship a rescue dog, I do not go to bed that night, until I have confirmed with the airline, that the dog has been picked up by the adoptive owner. 98% of the time, (when at all possible) you will receive a personal phone call from me, asking about the condition in which your rescue baby arrived!:)

When the Airlines tell you that they will not ship dogs in over 85 degrees, or under 20 degrees, that is NOT because of the temperature on the airplane. That is because they do not want the dog being on the little transportation cart, on the tarmac, going from the plane to the terminal, in those temperatures. Continental and some of the others are now starting to use air-conditioned and heated buses to carry the dogs from the airplanes to the terminals.

When we fly the Puppy Mill rescue dogs, yes, they may arrive scared…but please remember, they were scared when they left here. They would be scared riding in a car, or sitting in a vet’s office…so we still believe this is the safest, most reliable transportation there is available today.

We have now flown over 3500 rescue Bichons to their new homes, in the seven years we have been rescuing. We have used American, Delta, Continental, U.S. Air, Alaska Air, and Northwest Airlines. Here are some of the stories! These are all true, and you may contact the senders if you wish!:)) Love, Robin


Thanks again for all your help with frasier’s flight, everything went very smooth!

I was a bit nervous and my heart was beating a mile a minute once I saw that his flight was in and I went to the baggage office to wait. But then I saw the gentleman carrying the crate and I rushed over, and there was Frasier, shaking a bit at first, but clean and dry, and proably less anxious than I was !! I had come prepared with baby wipes, (for him), clorox wipes,(for the crate), xtra bedding, none of which I needed. So, it really went just the way Robin describes it on the site…..not that I didn’t believe you, Robin, but I am from New York, and we do tend to be a bit cyncial unless we see things for ourselves :-))

Someone else had warned me that the waiting area for cargo would be cold, desolate and not even have bathrooms or vending machines……and be in another part of the airport, remote from where human passengers disembark. So, I came prepared for that too, but it was not the case at all, the baggae office was just downstairs from the regular gate, and right in front of the baggae carrousel.

So, Fraiser is cozy and sleeping on his doggie bed……I think he’s found all 8 of them in this house, and there would be more but someone outbid me during the last auction 🙂



Subj: Douglas Fairbanks Airline Ride

Hi Robin and SPR family:

I just HAD to write you and tell you how Delta took care of this wonderful little fluff you shipped to us last Thursday. You folks had chosen Douglas Fairbanks to come and live in Alaska … what a perfect fit. We were very apprehensive at not only flying ANY animal, but such a young at that. We called the Delta cargo desk in the morning to alert them of his arrival. The Delta staff assured us that they were already aware he was on his way and gave us the weather reports and all pertinent information for his ride up here, too. They even told us that that they all owned pets and knew just how well that the airlines cares for these critters. We felt much better after talking to them.

We arrived at the cargo pick-up area about 1/2 hour before the plane was due to land. The Delta staff told us how many minutes away the flight was and they would call us when Douglas Fairbanks would be arriving at the building. They went ahead and made copies of our picture IDs and had us fill out some paperwork. We would have to sign final papers when we took receipt of our cargo. Then we waited. My goodness, we were like nervous first-time parents … butterflies and everything.

When our “package” arrived, and we caught a glimpse of this beautiful little face with big black eyes peeking out from behind the door, we melted. We took him out of his crate … bone dry … and cuddled him. He was full of kisses and love instantly. The crate was dry … puppy was dry and smelled wonderful. The Delta people were so great and just fell in love with our new fluff. He made everyone’s day and we headed home to introduce Douglas Fairbanks to our other two dogs. He was accepted into the “family” and it’s all been downhill from there. Thanks to SPR and to Delta for making this all possible … definitely one of the greatest experiences in our lifetime. And to think that this little guy doesn’t have to spend his life in a wire cage never knowing true love and kindness. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

We will send you pictures and updates from time to time. You guys are GREAT!!!

Candy and Jeff Johnson
Anchorage, Alaska

Subj: Positive story of airline use

Hi. I had my fluff flown to me and I was very surprised how smooth it went and it was very exciting. I waited at the “baggage” pick up for her thinking ” oh brother… here comes this soaking wet, smelly Bichon…cage full of potty stuff…” and boy was I wrong!!
An airport employee brought this little pet taxi out of the elevator and I saw this little white fluffy head…and these huge black eyes and I thought… There she is! I ran over to her in what seemed like slow motion and this dramatic music began playing…Just kidding! That was all in my head! But it was wonderful and I will never forget it!
She was calm and dry as a bone…. not a speck of anything in her crate. The second I checked out we hurried outside and I got her out and squeezed the stuffin’s out of her! It was love at first sight. I would recommend flying animals to anyone. It was not traumatic for my fluff. It was the beginning of our life together. She is a little sweetie and we love her. Had it not been for that flight we would not know that love.


Subj: Airline TravelD

From: (Coogan Family)


We have adopted two Bichons from Texas on two different occasions. Both were flown to Hartford, CT and were happy and healthy when we picked them up. Age didn’t seem to be a factor. Our first Bichon was 5 years old and was wagging his tail when he saw us. Our other Bichon was a 12 week old puppy from Small Paws® and she acted like any puppy would the moment we saw her. I know one thing, waiting at the airport for your dog to arrive is almost like waiting for the birth of a child. You are so excited and can’t wait to see that wonderful soul and start your life with them. We’re thankful everyday they are with us.

Jim, Joyce and Alyse Coogan

From: Manda73806
To: Pup3

Mambo was shipped to me the begining of June! I was soooo nervous about this .. I thought ok what if I can’t find him? Or what if I find him and he is sick? Well turns out .. Mambo was GREAT!! He didn’t even know he’d flown!! He came home from the airport and ran out of his little crate no problem!! In his crate there was plenty of room for standing, lying and turning around 🙂

-Lhasa Hugs,
World of Lhasas
New Lives for Lhasas
World of Lhasas
New Lives for Lhasas


Robin —

You may certainly feel free to use us as examples of those who have adopted Bichons and had them flown to their new home.

Ezekiel (“Zeke”) came to us last Thanksgiving Eve. He arrived at Detroit Metro Airport after having flown from Tulsa via Houston. He seemed none the worse for the wear, and settled into our family very quickly. We would not hesitate to have an animal flown again.

Bart & Janet DeMerchant

From: (Jennifer Haas)

Hey Robin! My husband and I got Belle from a breeder
(unfortunately, we did not know about
Small Paws® yet). She was flown to us in Austin, TX
and had to fly through Dallas. I tracked her flights
on the computer as she was in route. I think that I
was much more nervous than she ever could have been.
She arrived in her crate with her stuffed animal,
small, white and very happy to be on the ground again!
She was very excited to get out of her crate and
explore Austin!!

I would not hesitate to have a puppy flown to us
again. I think that each fluff is so happy to get to
the other end, it really does not matter what it takes
to get them there!

Jennifer, Jason and Belle Haas

Subj: Shipping a dog

Hi Robin:

We had our rescue dog shipped via airline from Oklahoma to Atlanta without any problems last summer. The only thing you have to be sure of is that the weather is not going to be too hot. But this summer has not been as hot as last summer, so I don’t think that would be a problem. As Robin has mentioned, it is the heat on the tarmac not on the plane that is a concern.

I was worried about it but it worked out great. As a matter of fact, my husband was about 1/2 hour late in picking her up (he got lost!) and airline personnel had already called the shipper (Robin!) to find out where he was!

Pat, Summer (I’m the world traveler!) and Koolwhip (How come I can’t go on a plane?)

From: (Stacy Smith)

Hi Robin,

This is an airline story from a foster mother point of view, not an adoptive
mother point of view.

Casper needed to go from Pennsylvania to California in steamy June weather.
We had originally planned to ship him out of Baltimore on a Delta flight.
Unfortunately, the temperature was too hot in Atlanta, so we had to re-route
him. I called Delta and there was a flight out of Philadelphia scheduled to
depart at 5:40 p.m. We needed to be at the cargo desk prior to 3:00. Well,
it was 2:00 when I was on the phone and we are about 2 1/2 hours away from
Philadelphia. When I told the lady that Casper’s new family was really
looking forward to getting him and that we had already had to rearrange
things, she told me that we had to be there by 4 and that someone would keep
the cargo desk open. So my wonderful husband and I hop on the PA turnpike
and fly (almost literally) to the Philadelphia International Airport. We
arrived at 4:20 and they accepted him. They put him on the plane and he
arrived perfectly safe in San Francisco a few hours later. Casper’s
adoptive mother was so glad that we didn’t have to delay it another week.
She and her entire family adores the little guy and had absolutely no
problems whatsoever.

You see, Casper’s prior flight would’ve enabled his new family to pick him
up around 9:00 p.m. as opposed to 12:00 on this flight. But, they genuinely
care about live animals and absolutely, under no circumstances, will not fly
a live animal into an airport where there is a potential for high
temperatures. Great care is given to the animals and no one should have any

From: (Cynthia Hunt)

Veronica was the first animal that I had flown to me in many years..When she
arrived I had expected her to be sooooo upset..nope..she immediately got out of
her carrier..she didn’t know that she hadn’t flown first class…I will add..I
just had a cockatoo flown to me from Oregon to South Carolina via Delta..
My friend had even attached two food bowls inside the cage with some dried bird
food and some fruit…there was not one thing spilt in the cage…I was so
impressed..I would not hesitate
to fly an animal ever again..I just flew back from Denver with another parrot…(in the cabin) and I think it was even more stressful than flying one cargo…Cyndie Hunt

From: (Renee)

Hi Robin,
As far as air transport, it went as smooth as silk. When you think that “Tulsa” fka “Norm”, flew from Tulsa to Dallas/Ft.Worth, to Portland, Or. and he was picked up there by Lhasa Apso rescue, and driven to Eugene Or, when I picked him up. He was
healthy and alert, none the worse for wear… its like an underground railroad in the air. It is nothing but a great experience for ALL.
luvya, Renee

Subj: Air Travel
From: Loismary

Hi Robin,
I am writing in response to your request for stories on flying our babies to their forever homes.

We were blessed to be able to adopt Curly in April. Curly was in Texas and we are in Richmond, VA. I will admit the prospect of flying him in cargo made me very nervous but, you assurances that it had been done successfully many times helped.

Curly flew Delta and I cannot say enough about those kind people. We arrived at the airport early and we were directed to air cargo. There the kind Delta folks found Curly on the computer showing he had made the transfer in Atlanta and was on his way to Richmond. He was the first one off the plane and brought right to us not 5 minutes after landing.

End of a very happy journey.

Subj: Airline Story
Date: 7/17/2001 1:09:43 PM Central Daylight Time
From: (Albee, Marti)
To: (‘’)

Hi Robin:

I adopted Scooby, then named Janeway, on May 17th, 2001. I was a little nervous about having her shipped via airline but was willing to take the chance in order to give her a second chance with us. I am so glad that I took that chance because all my fears turned out to be unfounded. As I excitedly looked forward to picking Scooby up at the Madison, Wisconsin airport on May 16th, I was very disappointed to receive a phone call from Robin telling me that I’d have to wait until the next day because the temperatures were rising quickly and it was going to be over 85 degrees by
the time Janeway was supposed to be boarding. However, we rebooked her on an earlier flight the next day and I was elated to pick her up in Madison on May 17th. I’m still amazed at how smoothly everything went. I went up to the baggage counter and told the attendant that I was there to pickup a white dog and she immediately told me that they had her in back and that she
had been very quiet and comfortable while waiting for me. I had to show her my driver’s license and then she handed me my new baby girl, Scooby, and away we went. Scooby’s crate was dry and she wasn’t upset at all and in fact appeared to have been sleeping until her crate was moved. The attendant was very cheerful as she told me that Scooby had a good flight and had been in the cabin the entire time, in air conditioning, and they had checked to make sure she had water available. Overall, I feel Scooby’s flight was probably less stressful than travel by car would have been. This
is a great way to transport dogs to adoptive homes because it allows Small Paws® to reach such a large area of adopters. I never would have been able to adopt Scooby if it wasn’t for airline travel because there’s no way I would have been able to drive all the way to Oklahoma and back to pick her up. When I am in the position to adopt another Bichon, I definitely plan to
do so through Small Paws® and I know that this will require airline travel again, and that doesn’t bother me a bit. I think it’s absolutely wonderful how resourceful Robin and Small Paws® are that they took the initiative to implement such a great option for adopters and adoptees. Keep up the great work!!!

Marti Albee in Wisconsin

Subj: Air Travel
From: (Byrne, Sandie)
To: (‘Robin (Small Paws®)’)

Robin – I know I went on and on in this letter – but you can cut and paste
it anyway you want.

Following is my experience with flying my little “fur ball” Ozzie
(formerly Ah Dai) from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Phoenix, Arizona:

When Robin Presnall and I spoke to make the arrangements our new
baby’s travel, we decided either very late or very early would be the best times for Ozzie to fly to us. It was the beginning of the Summer time here in Phoenix and he can get pretty darn hot during the day. I decided that it would be better for him to fly early in the morning because it was cooler then because the heat of the day had not settled in. The evenings can still be quite warm. We were given his flight number and arrival time. I couldn’t sleep the night before because of all the horror stories I had heard. All my co-workers and all my friends were treating me as if I was
some sort of monster to allow this baby to fly and not be in the passenger compartment. I explained that they would not allow him in the passenger compartment unless he flew with someone, but they just thought I was a horrible new mother.

That morning we woke up (although I don’t think we slept a wink) and we dressed and rushed to the airport. I didn’t want my new little baby to have to wait an extra minute for us to get there. We went directly to the baggage department as we were told to do by Robin. The plane had just arrived but none of the passenger’s luggage had arrived on the turntable yet. We walked up to one of the personnel in the baggage department and explained we were there to pick up a dog flying in on their airlines arriving at a particular time. He said “yes” that flight has just arrived
and showed us where our baby may be waiting for us. He unlocked an elevator door that came down from the airplane and behind that door in and air conditioned elevator was our baby.

I expected to find a wet , panting, tired little thing. But instead
I found a very happy baby with his stuff animal he flew with held tightly in
his mouth. There was water in his water dish that I don’t believe even spilled because his towel was not even damp. He was not upset, tired or panting, but seemed very happy. I saw no fear or anxiety and I was amazed at how calm and comfortable he appeared to be. Robin indicated to me that the live animals fly in a separate compartment with the same air conditioning humans enjoy. I believe this because my baby was very comfortable and he had JUST arrived. Apparently, he was the first off the plan. Even the passengers had not arrived in the baggage area yet to claim
their luggage.

I hope this letter will sooth the nerves of any prospective parents
of a baby Bichon or any other animal. I would not hesitate to recommend this mode of transportation and I am extremely grateful that this is available to us or I would not currently have my little Ozzie.

Sandra L. Byrne

Subj: airline shipping story
From: (Sandra Pratt)
To: (Robin Presnall)

Hi Robin — As you probably remember I received a
darling little Bichon Boy from you names Schroeder.
His adoption took place in February which can be a
terribly cold time here in Buffalo. We had to wait
several days to make sure that the weather was right.
The airlines are so careful – especially because he
had to change planes in Chicago (the windy city).
Finally the call came and I paced the house all day
waiting to go and get him. I arrived at the airport
well over and hour early and everyone was watching for
Schoreder by the time he arrived. They brought him
right to me and handed him to me. His cage was dry
and clean and he was just adorable. I hope that I
can adopt again sometime and would not hesitate to
trust the airlines with another baby. Thanks again —
Sandy Pratt


Hi Robin,

Here is my experience in air shipping dogs.
We used Delta Dash to fly Rambo to his new mommy last winter. It was pretty cold in Albany, NY at the time. When I got his health certificate I had to get an acclaimation certificate, in addition. This states at what extreme temperatures the vet feels the dog will be safe and for how long.

When we checked in at Delta Dash, the people were very nice and helpful. I asked a lot of questions and they answered them all. They explained to me that animals do not go “regular” cargo, where suitcases go. Animals are flown in a special cargo compartment that is pressurized the same as the cabin the passengers are in and the air flow and temperature are the same as in the cabin. However, the temperature may go 15 degrees lower in the animal cargo area than it is in the cabin because it is in the belly of the plane and not as insulated as the cabin. The cabin is kept at 72-75 degrees, so the animal area may go as low as 57 degrees when flying in a very cold climate.

The concern, according to Delta Dash, is not the temperatures in the air, that is controlled, but the temperature on the ground. The temperature limitations of 85 high and 20 low are for on the ground time, such as plane changes. Delta Dash keeps the animals indoors until the next flight is loading so they aren’t left out on the hot tarmac in summer or in the snow in winter.

When I shipped Rambo in the winter, I bought him a special little sweater, and put a rug on the bottom of his crate. He had to change planes in Atlanta and it was snowing there. I was worried, so I called Delta Dash in Atlanta when he was due to be there, just to be sure he was inside and safe – he was just fine. And he arrived in Albany, NY in perfect condition. His new Mommy called me to say he was safe and happy.

Kay (in Florida)

Subj: airline transport
From: BA

Dear Robin,
I want to relay this message about the airline shipping…
When I had my first rescue that I had to ship it was Buster… Buster was adopted by a loving couple in Stockton, Ca.
I stewed over this for days before the day came for him to leave… How would he be? Would he be cold? What would happen on the layover? Would the cargo people be nice to him… Would he just sit and shake the whole time… Since there was no nonstop flight we took a direct flight but still a flight from Washington,DC to No. Calif. Was clear across country… How was he going to be????
I got to the cargo facility and the Delta Cargo employees could not have been more helpful… I put his little sweater on and his little toy… My husband Brian and I were misty eyed and bid farewell to Buster…
I made Patty and Bob (Buster’s new parents) promise when they saw him and he was ok they were to call me immediately… All day I can’t do anything worrying about him… Finally the call came and I could here the happy tears in Patty’s voice that Buster had arrived… As a matter of fact there is a picture on the web site of Patty and Buster first meeting.

He has been so happy ever since…
Please rest assured no dog would go into a dangerous situation… The airlines are very strict…
Lynda DeHart

From: (Steve & Sandra)

Hi Robin,

I am SOOO happy to see this new webpage! I believe it will help tremendously to allay people’s fears over flying doggies.
We adopted our sweet little Mason this past April and I was worried to death about having him flown to Houston all the way from Virginia! Of course, everyone at Small Paws® including esp. Lynda DeHart, assured me that it would be just fine.
The airlines did great and were so friendly and helpful when we arrived there to pick up our little bundle of joy. They walked him to the area where we were supposed to pick him up. (I was worried about them throwing him down a chute and the crate toppling over)
He was just fine! He didn’t seem to be upset in anyway whatsoever, and had not soiled the crate. He was just looking around as if to say, “Here I am guys, ready or not!”
Feel free to use our story for your webpage and God bless you for doing

Sandra and Steve Gottlieb

Subj: Airline shipping story – Snowball
From: (dumulon)

I recently adopted Snowball. He resided in Mass and had to come to me in
Fla by airplane with a stop-over in Atlanta. Itinerary as follows:
Friday, July 13th
Delta 1241 departs Providence, RI @ 6:30p.m.
Arrives in Atlanta @ 9:06p.m.
Departs Atlanta @ 10:20 p.m. ASA flight 4294
Arrives into Panama City @ 10:45p.m.

I was a bit concerned since he had ear infections and was rather frail, but
the vet had given him permission to fly. The foster mom put him on an
airplane and also put some food in the OPEN compartment (small indentation
on top) of his crate. Upon arrival, the food was still there so I know that
he hadn’t been thrown around. He even had some water left in the dishes
attached to the front of the crate.

When we got home, I open his crate to let him out and he didn’t appear to
have any jet-lag. As a matter of fact, he was full of energy! His ears
didn’t seem to bother him any. In fact, I think that Snowball took the
opportunity to nap most of the way (a bit like he does when we go for car
rides!). Overall, I am quite pleased with the whole process and I would not
hesitate to do it again.

For your info: I found out on the weather channel web site an interesting
article. Here is an excerpt:

“Airlines are operating under some new guidelines that prohibit pet travel
in extreme weather conditions. Under the new policies, airlines reserve the
right to turn away pets if the ground temperature exceeds 85 degrees in
either the departure or destination city for more than 45 minutes.

It’s all part of the Safe Air Travel for Animals Act, passed by Congress
last year. This is the second summer the new rules have been in effect. The
law was enacted in response to reports of animals lost, hurt and killed
during flights.”


Subj: Flying Dogs
To: (
Dear Robin,
Rudy and Roxie (aka Priceless and Precious) were flown to me from California
just two weeks and two days ago. I, too, was very concerned for their
safety. They arrived wonderfully safe and sound. I arrived at the airport
early and went to the airline ticket desk. The airline (Delta) person gave
me specific instructions on where to go to pickup my fluffs. I watched them
taken off the plane and driven to the pickup area. They were in my arms
within minutes of getting off the plane. They are both such adaptable
babies that it wasn’t anytime until they were romping around the house with
my other dog and cat. I will never again be afraid for my babies to fly.

Linda Norris

Subj: RE: Airlines
From: LuvMyFluffs
To: Pup3

Dear Robin:

When my family & I first found out that we were approved for adopting a fluff we were extremely happy…. At first I was truly terrified with the whole thought of our dog being flown to us.. I had no idea as to what all this would pertain and became nervous… There was no reason for me too feel this way whatsoever as I had been given no reason to feel like that… Though it is just like a Mother & her child, your going to worry regardless Mothers intuition..

The thoughts just began to pour into my head… Where do they place the dog, are they gentle with them for sure, will they be well cared for….. These were all things that I put into my own head out of lack of knowledge….

I must say, boy was I wrong and over reacting…. I remember arriving early at the airport in fear of any complications…. The clerk greeted me as he knew who I was as I walked in the door… I had called the night before with questions and to also make them aware of the live animal they would receive in cargo… Therefore this made things a lot easier on me too…. These people were GREAT, as a matter of fact the kept teasing us due to our excitement…

Robin, everything went so smoothly and they hurried and brought Dakota straight to his anxious family…. The entire staff was at awwwwsssss as they saw Dakota coming through the lobby… The suspense killing us as we knew this was our baby the gentlemen was carrying…. The gentlemen placed him upon the counter and went over my paperwork & checked my ID…. He then turned the cage around looked at our baby and said “Welcome to your new family.” Everyone stared and it was complete silence, both my boys had the biggest smiles that they could not speak… Here was the most beautiful white haired ball of fluff peering out with excitement, tail going at 100 mph…. There were no problems with his crate, everything was intact,he had food, he had water, he had not relieved himself in his crate and he looked as though he had a good trip….

The scare I had was a scare I created myself… Again, like a Mother with her own child is how I felt…. However, the airlines were the most prompt, courteous, caring people I have met… They acted quickly and smoothly and saw to it that Dakota was well taken care of and in a timely manner…. I would not hesitate one bit whatsoever to have another family member flown as it is a safe procedure….. I would have not had it any other way knowing how safe my baby was…. It was the best thing that I have ever considered and I am so thankful for you and your wonderful extremely caring assistants.. I would reccomend Small Paws Rescue and having a dog flown to anyone as it is a great exsperience.

We love you Robin, Thank You again, God Bless you & Dale and your entire staff.
The Cochrun Family


Hi Robin,
Well here is our story about flying dogs, and this is from a dads point of view.

After much talking with the wife we decided we wanted to add another Bichon to our family. Within a matter of days after filling out our adoption application, we were told we were getting our addition to our family. All arrangements were made and Dusty took off from Tulsa on Delta Dash to come live with us. Dusty came to live with us in Oct. ’99 (wow Robin it’s almost two years now). He had an early afternoon arrival at Harrisburg International Airport, Harrisburg, PA. We were early arriving at the airport as we didn’t exactly know where we had to go to get him. We checked at the info counter and they told us to check at the ticket desk with Delta. They told us they would bring him to the counter when the plane arrived. So there was dad waiting for him, with Bichon T-shirt on and leash around my neck waiting for this little guy. The ladies at the ticket counter were very nice and asked if I needed anything while I awaited his arrival. After the plane landed they kept calling on their radios and I mean they kept calling to see where he was. They were telling the other workers to hurry or this guy is gonna wear a path in the carpet from all his pacing (like a father waiting for a newborn child). I could hear them talking about Dusty and saying how cute and sweet he was (I know what they were doing, they were Petting him n cooing to him. You could hear them on their radio). When they brought him out to the counter, all you could hear was his little tail bouncing off of both sides of his pet taxi. He was clean and dry and very happy to have a Forever Home. He showed no ill affects from flying and was raring to go as we left the terminal. After a nice walk outside of the airport and getting to meet his new sister Princess, we got into the truck to come home, he crawled into the wife’s lap and slept all the way home. He has brought so much joy to our lives, and is a Great playmate for Princess. They love each other to pieces, and us them. Thank you for what you do for our fluffs.

Hugs n Kisses
Princess, Dusty, Phil n Vicki

Double-click picture(s) to display in picture editor


Robin, the first picture is of Willie in the airport. The second is at home with Benny. I was so nervous about picking him up. He flew from Oklahoma to Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale, just one day after being neutered. When I arrived at the airport he was sitting in his crate. I had to coax him a little, and when he came out he rolled right on his back so I could rub his tummy. He seemed perfectly fine, and didn’t seem at all phased by the plane ride. He was an angel in the car on my lap, was an angel at the Vet. Then Willie came home. He met Benny, that was fine. Then he ran through the house, smirk on his face, and marked everything in sight, including my back when I was sitting on the floor! My little angel became the devil that I adore!!!!! Thanks again for matching me with Willie. I couldn’t imagine life without him.
Luv, Robin

Subj: Flying Bichons
From: (Diane Johnson)

Okay, here is my story about my flying boys. When I decided for sure to adopt my boys, I first thought that I would just drive from Little Rock to Tulsa and pick them up. Of course, I had heard all the horror stories about animals in airplanes! Robin was so very patient with me and after many many e-mails and phone calls, I decided that it would be less traumatic for everyone if they flew. I arrived with my neice at the Little Rock airport about an hour early, nervous as could be. I went to the ticket counter and explained what I was doing and the NICEST girl told me that she would personally go and get my boys as soon as the plane landed. When the plane finally landed, I was an absolute loon until that door finally opened to the office where she brought them. I was able to go into a room away from all the people in the terminal and greet my boys for the first time. We can all try to think of the words to describe the feelings of first sight, but I was just so relieved!
to see what good shape they were in. The people at the airlines were wonderful, everyone at Small Paws® was wonderful and now, almost 6 months later, I am very grateful that I went on line that weekend searching for two Bichons that might want to come live with me. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Diane Johnson
Little Rock, AR
Mom to Webster & Mr. Bailey



Subj: Sending pets by airline
From: (Susan Shuman)


I hope you remember us. We adopted Lovey of the Castaways and Jack, a one-year old
charmer of a Bichon who was fostered in Northern California. We are also the folks who lost our beloved pets in the Ford Explorer/Firestone rollover.

Both Lovey and Jack were shipped three weeks apart by the airlines (Delta and
American), using counter to counter service. The service was impecable. The pups
arrived happy and on time and didn’t seeme to be stressed at all. The pups were
brought directly to the counter where luggage is claimed. We had to show
identification before they were released to us. It’s a great way to ship pets;
certainly much better than a Ford Explorer! I hope this assuages anyone’s fear of
sending pups this way.

Susan and Steve Platte

Subj: Dixie at Delta
To: Pup3

Hi Robin,

Just thought you might like to know this story. When my husband and I anxiously awaiting the arrival of Dolly (formerly Rainy) we went to the Delta counter at Columbus, Ohio and found out the flight from Atlanta had been cancelled. We both were in a panic because it was to reach temperatures above 90 in Columbus by 1 pm. There was a long line at the Delta counter except for first class. We went up to the lady at the counter and asked for help. Her name was Dixie. She called Atlanta to see if there was a little white dog on the flight. She said that she was on the flight but was unable to tell us if she was put on the next flight. She called cargo and could not confirm Dolly was on the flight. She talked to Linda at Columbus cargo area and both if them kept us informed. Dixie got busy with passengers but never forgot we were still anxiously waiting for information. Whenever she at a couple of free minutes she would check and see if the cargo manifest had been posted. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, she motioned for us to come over and she told us our “little white dog” was on board and the plane would be landing in about 5 minutes. She gave us instructions as to where we could pick up Dolly.

My husband I thought you might want to know how helpful Dixie was. I don’t know her last name, but she was helpful and never forgot we were waiting. A big thank you to Dixie and Delta Airlines.

Kathleen and Don Rumgay

From: (Sicilia, Vikki M.)
To: (‘’)

I have just recently adopted from your rescue, and while I’m at work and due
for meetings in a few minutes I just have to respond! My son and
daughterinlaw put us in touch with your rescue. They had lived with us for 6
mo while transitioning for a move with Boeing to the new Chicago offices.
They have a 3 year old Bishon, Pandy. I also took care of her for an
additonal 2 mo while they settled in and she went to join Mom and Dad. I
realized how much I loved, being loved loved by that little four leged
bundle of fur. To move along, we applied and adopted an adorable Shih tzu
mix. We had him flown to us April 1st, 2002 via Alaska Airlines. I was very
anxious and a little apprehensive. His route was Oakland, Seattle, Spokane.
In Seattle the plane had mechanical trouble, they called us, told us the
problem and said they would call back as soon as the plane left Seattle. And
THEY DID. They said the plan had jsut left, he was fine, they had check his
water, and he would be at the cargo area at exactley 16:60 hrs. Now for the
best part, he was!!!!!!! He was coming in the back, as we were coming in the
fromt. He was hand carried. They also said it was fine to take him on his
leash to thier fenced area to do his thing. We were then on our way to what
I believe is the best home he’s ever seen. He is loved and pampered beyond
belief, but he is also a GOOD dog. On his initial check up with Dr. Julie,
she said Alaska had a great track record dealing with LIVE animals, and was
so pleased that he was a rescure dog, his initial visit was free!
Vikki Sicilia
Spokane, Washington

From: KimberCochrun
To: Pup3

I received my beautiful Bichon a year ago this past April from Tulsa, Ok and I live in Ohio…. When my baby arrived at the airport he came in a crate… In the crate was toys, food & YES WATER…..It even states this on my ticket from the airlines, my baby was placed in a temperature control area and was very much taken care of…. AS a matter of fact you “ROBIN” even contacted me to make sure our babies flight was okay and everything went smoothly…. I have two Bichons from SPR and everything went smoothly and I am truly pleased and love EVERYONE at SPR…KImberlee

From: (Ila Alldredge)

Robin: As you know, I drove to Roswell to pick up Baby Squirt because the
foster mom felt Baby would not do well traveling in a crate in an airplane,
and I am close enough to New Mexico. He was well worth the trip!! He is my
Angel Baby.

Then in February, PJ was flown to me here in Phoenix, Arizona from Green
Bay, Wisconsin. I assure you that the flight in no way damaged PJ or
traumatized him. He came out of the crate clean and HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY.
His tail was wagging immediately. I’m sure he was a little tired and,
understandably, a little bit frightened, but when we got in the car in the
airport parking lot, when it was totally safe to let him out of the crate,
he was sticking his nose out the small crack in the window and watching all
the traffic fly by, and just curious about this new place he was in.
Believe me, this dog has no ill effects mentally from that flight from Green

Even when we were walking through the airport carrying him in the crate to
the car, he didn’t seem any worse off than any tired traveler coming off a

I was cautioned that PJ’s flight would leave Green Bay as scheduled AS LONG
AS WEATHER CONDITIONS PERMITTED!!!! I was asked to make sure that upon his
safe arrival in my arms, would I please call the foster mom in Green Bay and
Lynda DeHart.
Ila Alldredge

Subj: Re: Small Paws® Rescue Placement Practices and Policy of Shipping Rescued Dogs
From: (Sue Miller)


I work for other rescues and let me tell you Small Paws® is by far the easiest to deal with. The others use volunteer car transport. What a screwed up mess trying to get five different people to bring one dog six hours. There is a dog sitting right now waiting and they can’t get anyone to drive him up to me. Sometimes these dogs even have to stay overnight somewhere on their journey. I ask you…is this a better system then flying them. I think not.

I have had three dogs flown to me and never had a problem.

Sue Miller

From: LAN1125
To: Pup3, CPTHEO4

Dear Robin,

I was a bit uncomfortable about my little Maggie flying, but Carol assured me that she would be comletely fine. Weather was a big factor, being that it was February. She told me conditions had to be just right, or we would have to wait. But you know what, it was wonderful! She was hand delivered to us at the airport, excited as could be, clean and dry. And we were instructed to “check-in” immediately when I had my little doggie safely in my arms. I would do it again!
Anyone who has not done an adoption thru Small Paws® has not clue how extremely important each and every little doggie is to each and every one of you.
Looks like the other Rescue Groups could learn an awful lot from Small Paws®! You guys are awesome! I tell everyone about our “rescue doggie” and I always tell them how special Small Paws® is! ( :

Hugs to each of you!
Gail Lane ( :

From: Suedon3105
To: Pup3

Dear Robin,

Now, about the flying of dogs. My husband and I had one little Bichon by the name of Clancy. We began thinking that it would be wonderfully nice if Clancy had a friend. Even tho, I do volunteer rescue for Small Paws, we submitted our application as everyone else does and hoped for a rescue pup to become a part of our family.

The week before Christmas our new little guy came home to us. We are New Englanders and Reilly (a.k.a Nicholas) was flown to us on December 17.

Because of all the work of Robin, Carol, and a wonderful foster mom Bridget and Lynda De Hart, Reilly came home. Everything was in place and Lynda sent both myself and Bridget, Rielly’s foster mom, step by step instructions for the flight. Bridget and I spoke when Reilly got on the plane, after all weather conditions were checked, checked and rechecked, my husband and I headed for the airport, (we were early, so we would wait for Reilly, not have Reilly waiting for us). All of the people that we met while awaiting Reilly’s arrival were wonderful. The moment the plane landed a call was placed to find out exactly how long it would be before he would be off the plane, the personnel kept checking on him, and one very sweet young man told me not to be nervous—–they did this all the time.

When I was actually able to see him, (approximately 15-20 minutes after the arrival) he was clean, neat, dry, and not in the least traumatized. His little tail was going 100 mph.

Because of Small Paws®, Reilly has a new home and we have Reilly. He is loved, cared for, vetted, groomed, and schooled.

I will be eternally grateful for the caring people who step forward each and every day to try to make a difference in these dogs lives. I am proud to be a Small Paws® Rescue volunteer and adopter. Please use this testimonial in anyway you see fit.

Sue Donovan

From: (R Wallace)

Dear Robin,
I have been with Small Paws® for just a year now, and
I have one of those Cull Babies from out by your way…..I live in Michigan,
and I would never of gotten him if it were not for flying my baby home.
Bandit, formally Charmin arrived safe and sound to me, clean, dry, and NO
signs whatsoever of any type of neglect from either the airlines or from you
guys out there. Before I could receive Bandit, I had a phone interview, I
was asked many questions, and although having an interview in person can
sometimes tell you a bit more about the individual, that too can not always
tell you all the info you need to know . My vet was called, all the info was
checked out about all my animals. Before I could email you guys to let you
know that bandit arrived home safely you guys had already called the airport
to verify that Bandit was picked up and Not left there unattended. You and all your members keep up the good work, all 2000 plus members from all across this great nation know what kind of organization you have and because it is good, it will only grow.
Rhonda Wallace, Bandit (from Oklahoma), Miss Cotton Girl (from Indiana)

From: Mistytyme
To: Pup3

Dearest Robin,
As you already know I have two babies who were flown to CA. and they in no way show any effects from being flown here.
I am passionate in my belief in SPR and in you my dear friend Robin.
Bichon prayers and blessings,
Katie, Beau and mom Mickey

From: (Linde, Francine)
To: (‘’)


My adoption was of our Bichon through Small Paws was done very
professionally. I had a reference from another person who adopted through
you, and a veterinarian, in addition to your other requirements. Your staff
made sure the dog we chose would be a right fit with our family. Our Cody
(previously named Desi) was shipped in September, shortly after 9/11. Small
Paws had to wait until dogs could be shipped properly and he was sent when
that was possible. The staff person took excellent care in sending him and
waited until his flight left. The Airlines had a delay between two flights,
so Cody was sent on a later flight (he had a change-over from Kansas to
Dallas to San Jose). The Airlines tracked him for me and gave me all the
information needed the whole trip. Cody was checked and fresh water and
food were supplied all during his traveling, and he arrived safely and
healthy. I have been very happy with Small Paws and have recommended them
to others. Thank you for all your good work, you are a wonderful

Francine Linde

From: Maxfieldca
To: Pup3

I’m writing to let you know that I was very pleased with the tratment of Kipper aka chipper and Kate aka Alicia by Delta airlines. Both the dogs were happy and comfy in there crate. The airline even called my house because they couldn’t find me. I was their in plenty of time but when I asked some one where to go to pick up the dogs they sent me to the wrong place and I waited for a half hour in the place.than another empolyee helped me and we found them at the ticket counter in the terminal.He than carried them to my van for me. Kipper n Kate are doing great they already know my voice and when I call them they come running with tails wagging.Thanks again for flying dogs nationwide if you didn’t I wouldn’t have these two wonderful babies.
Carol ann in N.H.

From: (Linda Norris)

BRAVO, ROBIN!! Thank God for the Small Paws® Rescue. I have two fluffs
that were flown to me from California to Texas. They arrived bright-eyed
and bushy tailed and couldn’t wait to begin their new life with their new
Mama. The next day, I drove to Oklahoma and picked up a Missouri puppy mill
baby that had been in a cage her entire life and knew nothing of the love of
a human. My sweet Shasta attached herself to the other three (I already had
one that I had rescued from the Dallas pound…she was blind and due to be
put to sleep the next day…that was three years ago.) She has not had a
single accident in the house and is now my little cuddle bug….she wants to
be the one closest to Mama in the bed. She is still a bit shy especially of
strangers, but is improving all the time on that score. I will never
forget the first Shasta kiss…what a victory!! Thanks to Small Paws®, the
Thundering Herd was born. What a joy they are to me. I lost my husband to
cancer a year ago, and they are sometimes the only thing I have to smile

Thank you, Robin.
Linda Norris and The Thundering Herd

To: Pup3

Dear Robin,

Last June my husband and I decided to rescue a bichon. We found one we liked and applied to adopt. I know you called my vet because he told me. In the application we told you we already had two dogs. I for one appreciate that you checked the necessary things for a good adoptive family without inspecting my integrity as a person. We were contacted by Michelle Carr from Phoenix who was Dolly’s foster Mom (formerly known as Rainy). Michelle and I talked on the phone and made the necessary arrangement for Dolly to fly from Phoenix, through Atlanta and we would pick her up in Columbus, Ohio and transport her home.

Michelle put Dolly on the plane in Phoenix, complete with water, food, small blanket, her rawhide bone and her toy. My husband and I got up early the next morning to make the trip to Columbus from our home in Findlay (about 2 hours). We weren’t sure where to go. So we went to the main terminal at Delta Airlines. We asked a flight attendant named Dixie if she could help. So in between her customers she checked with Delta in Atlanta. She then told us the flight had been canceled due to mechanical problems. I went into a panic. I explained the situation that we were expecting a small white dog to be on that flight. She was very understanding and continued to check with Atlanta to make sure Dolly would be on the next flight.

After what seemed to be an eternity to me, she motioned us over to the counter and told us that the next flight from Atlanta would be landing in about 10 minutes and there was a small white dog listed on the manifest. She then directed us as to where we could pick her up.

We went to the cargo area and the truck from the flight had just arrived and our little Dolly was “hand carried” in her carrier to us. She was fine, there was a little water left in her tray in the cage so I know she was looked after. As soon as we got home I was able to reach Michelle and just as I was prepared to tell her about Dolly’s canceled flight, she said she had been following Dolly’s travels since she put her on the plane and already knew the flight had been canceled and was working on an alternative plan if she could not fly because of the heat.

Kathy and Don Rumgay

Subj: Thanks
From: Drawrussell
To: Pup3

I recently adopted a puppy mill rescue named Dasiy from SPR in early April. I wanted to say thank you for all your hard work and dedication. I was very satisfied with my adoption experience and that included having my dog flown to me in Atlanta. When we picked her up she was happy and showed no signs of being nervous or scared. I agree that airline travel is vital to finding homes for these dogs. Thanks for bringing Daisy to us. Thanks again for all your hard work! Andrea Russell

Subj: Justin has arrived!!!
From: (Kitten Danger)


Justin has arrived, is home safe and sound and is absolutely perfect! He’s on my lap as I type right now, has met his new brother Beau, they blitzed a bit, and all is well! He has not made a sound yet, but has jumped into my arms, laid on my lap on the couch, checked out the California King bed, and put his paws on my legs to pick him up. We picked him up at OC airport without a hitch, he was dry and warm and safe and happy and still had some water in his dish. He is an absolute love and I can’t wait to get to know him better. We will be with him for four full days now until the work week starts again on Tuesday; we plan a dog park trip this afternoon. These guys are our children and we will love them both forever.

My husband is taking zillions of pictures and we’ll send a digital one later on. To both Carols, thank you so much for everything and for getting him to us today. Robin, you are unbelievable and I hope you know how much your efforts mean to people like us who finally end up with these babies.

I’ll be in touch.

Cathy, Justin, Beau

Date: 5/26/2002 4:01:16 PM Central Daylight Time

As a Small Paws® adoptive “parent” I would like to express my thanks, and also confirm the good experience I had with adopting a dog from you. As a result of that experience, I am now a Small Paws® volunteer in the Maryland area (although I haven’t been asked to do anything yet!).

Niko, a ten year old male, was flown to Maryland, and I picked him up without incident. His crate was in a well-ventilated and well-lit facility, and it was clear that the guys who worked for the shipping company had made friends with him and kept him company until I got there. The only problem was a bit of confusion on my part — I went to the passenger terminal at BWI, not realizing that he was being flown in as “freight” and came in at another terminal — so I was a little late picking him up.

He was clean and in good condition but very glad to get out of his crate when we got home! I’ve had Niko since December 2001, and he and my other bichon, Data, have become good friends.

Subj: Prince (now Spike) in his new forever home
Date: 5/30/2002 3:39:14 PM Central Daylight Time
From: (Lori Orser)
About sending doggies by air, let me say he arrived healthy and happy, sound in mind and body, and that I, living in North Dakota (not the end of the world,
but you can see it from here…) would never have had the joy of sharing
my home with him or any rescue Bichon without airplanes. He was clearly
well taken care of, and although he was thrilled to get out of the
crate, it was no more thrilled than I was the last time I got off a
plane after a long flight! I am more grateful for your transportation
policy than I can say. Thanks to everyone at Small Paws® for your love and concern for the fluffs, and for letting me have Spike! Neither of us will
forget you ever! And Kato thanks you with a big “woo woo” (she doesn’t
exactly bark) for sending her a little brother who stays out of her
dinner dish!Subj: Maxie is home safe!!!!

From: TeddyBoo89

Hi Everyone….I just want to let you know that Maxie (now named Cody) is here with me at home.He came off the plane with no problems!! He was dry and safe! He is BEAUTIFUL!!! right now he is checking out everything in his new home! Much THANKS to all at SPR you are all angels!!

Subj: Powder learned the doggie door this afternoon.
From: (Debbie)
To: (

Hi Robin
He was so proud when he followed the other dogs in from outside. We told
him what a smart boy he was and he seamed to glow with pride. Every time in
or out since then he takes a side step and uses the doggie door, that’s
next to the big door. We phrase him every time.
Powder does stay close to me now and again is laying next to my chair and
his new brother on the other side.
He is very happy, I think he is smiling now. He blitzed around after his
bath and was really happy and didn’t even think of cowering.

Powder’s plain trip was very good, he was a shy little dog but was treated
very well by the American Airlines staff. We were at their office waiting
for him to get off the plain and two people came around the corner one
carefully caring his cage not to spill his water on the door. The woman
attendant said he’d seemed scared but very quite in flight.They did a great
job flying my new baby, Powder to me. We closed the door to their office
and took him out of the cage and put his leach on and then I carried him out.

Debbie Windham

Subj: Re: Romeo and Juliet


Just wanted you to know that they arrived
safe and sound to Atlanta. Casper is having fun with
them and my kids really love them and vise versa!

The Delta Cargo people were fantastic and that process
couldn’t have been any easier! I just drove up and a
man loaded both crates into my van! Delta even has a
grassy fenced area about 15×15 where you can let them
out to do their business! I couldn’t believe it!
When I got home, the Delta people had called and left
a message stating they had arrived and gave specific
directions to the cargo area! What service! I would
highly recommend this service to anyone!

Thanks again for all your help!

Vicki Fenton

Subj: Fw: How I spent my birthday … rescuing, what else?!
From: (paws)
Byron has arrived from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, flown to me (Memphis Airport) by CockersNMore, he is coming into my rescue for special socializing to overcome some fear issues … is he cute, or what???? While I was expecting a Shih Tzu, he is clearly a Lhasa Apso, but who cares?

I cannot speak highly enough of Delta Pets First pet cargo service! Those of you who know me, know I am DEATH on flying dogs, but I learned through this experience that Delta’s Pets First service is excellent and that I can trust them and rely on them to get the job done the way it should be handled. Pets are flown in temperature-controlled, pressurized cargo and given special handling on the ground! I was tremendously impressed with the way Byron’s entire trip from Ft. Lauderdale, Fl to Memphis, with a connection in Atlanta was handled. Thanks to the transport coordinator for Small Paws® Bichon Rescue who recommended them, based on their extensive use of and experience with Delta.

This was a great birthday day … spent with loving friends doing what I love most! The couple who drove me to Memphis adopted a Shih Tzu from my rescue 3 months ago, have since become fast friends, as well as shelter and rescue volunteers. Can’t ask for better friends than that! Oh, yes, and they arrived to pick me up with an entire birthday cake just for me that Jean baked, just like my Mom used to make for me …. chocolate with cream cheese frosting! Then they took me to lunch at the Olive Garden in Memphis … then was DASHED to the airport to get Byron.

So, you guys tell me, how’m I doing for 61 years????

It was a great day, and the best part is that Byron is SAFE! Is he not the cutest?!?!?!

Blessings ~


From: Eaut
To: Pup3

Thank you for the news letter. I adopted Bebee from Small Paws®. She was flown in from Minnesota. She is a Bischon mix but displays all the mannerisms of our former Bischon. She arrived safely and the men at Northwest Airline were super nice to us and to her. We love her and she is getting more attention and love than just about anyone in the world. If there are any Bischon rescue people in Fort Lauderdale, it might be nice for me to get to know them. Many thanks for matching us up with Be bee. We kept her foster name so as not to confuse her or make her transition any more difficult than it had been for her little one year of life. Fondly, Ellwood

Subj: santa’s arrival
To: Pup3

Hi Robin~

Let me tell you about when I went to pick him up from the Atlanta airport. When I got there, the guy at the counter told me I was early, and Santa wouldnt be there for at least another hour and a half, maybe two hours. I drove around for about an hour, and came back with STILL about an hour til Santa would be there, according to the guy at the counter. About fifteen minutes later, he called over to me and whispered, “Ma’am? Your puppy is here… :)” While I was there, I watched as all the Delta Cargo guys came in and out (it was a shift change) and these are some big, burly ruff-n-tuff guys! But when Santa’s crate was set up on the counter, one of them said “Is this a bichon? I have one at home, he’s the best.” Then suddenly, all these big tough guys come around to see the little puppy, and heard LOTS of “AAAWWWWWW!!!” and “oooohh, what a cutie pie!!!!” Little Santa couldnt decide where to turn his attention to first. He was so excited to see all these people, and he knew they were all paying attention to HIM!

This was the first time I’d ever picked up a dog that had been shipped. I was expecting maybe a zonky, nervous dog (certainly not a perky excited little puppy!!), but Santa couldnt have been MORE opposite. He was completely alert and oriented, and SO happy to have his choice of arms to hold him, laps to sit in, and faces to kiss! He came right out of his crate, as if to say, “Okay, I’m here! I know you’ve all been waiting…”

When I got his crate to the car, he drank some water (I brought some with me, nothing but Evian for car rides with me and my pups! lol) and ate some kibble. I put some kibble in his crate, and every time he finished a bite, he would paw at the crate door as if to say “More, please!”

If I havent said it enough, this was SUCH an awesome experience for me to be a part of. Please keep me in mind for ANY future Atlanta-ish help! I hope Trish is as thrilled with him as I think she is! If you cant do that, I understand completely, but I was wondering how much in love she is with her new baby. And how many sick days she’s used up already just to stay home with him 🙂

Anyway, thanks again for this awesome opportunity. You must be thrilled to be able to do this every day. You and all the pups are so lucky to have one another!!!!

Kisses to your four-legged troops~~~
Ann Marie

Subj: WYOMING WILLIE has Arrived Safely in San Diego!!!

Dearest Lynda, Jeanine, Foster Mom (& Dad), & all other SPR volunteers involved,
WoW! I can never thank you enough for the tiny white fluffy bundle of love that arrived today!!!
Today, my husband Luis & I picked up our precious Wyoming Willie at the Airport in San Diego. After reading Willie’s itinerary and realizing all the many hours he would be in transit, we went there prepared with everything we needed to clean up a messy kennel and a soiled and smelly, scared little fluff.
The excitement I felt as we waited at the Baggage Claim area for Willie to arrive, was nearly overwhelming!! I find it difficult to express all the emotions that welled up inside me as the attendant brought his kennel out from the back room and nodded toward us…. I don’t know if I could have been any more thrilled or joyous if I were delivering my seventh infant!!!! (Yes, I have 6 “grown” children.)
At the same time, I was filled with concern and sympathy for his fear, confusion and probable loneliness… all those hours…
The first glimpse of him through the little openings of the kennel were blissful! All the way to the car, we chattered to him of our love & desire to welcome him as our sweet “little boy”. We found a safe spot, helped him out of the kennel, and to our utter AMAZEMENT, the kennel was clean and dry, and so was Willie!! We just couldn’t believe our eyes! Furthermore,Willie had no desire to “do his business” until we had been home for a few hours!
We fed and watered him, brushed and bathed him, and then… just gave him tons and tons of love and play.
He is absolutely gorgeous, and we are delighted with him, and already devoted to him.
We would like to extend our deepest gratitude for your support and assistance in making this adoption possible, and ask you to please pass along our appreciation to everyone in addition to you, who played a part in buying his freedom, providing his care, and helping us find each other, and become “a family”.
Luis and I have this incredible new dimension to our family unit now, and Willie is already a free flowing source of love, companionship and joy! He is truly a wonderful blessing in our lives.
Thank you, again, for helping me on the path to healing my heart, during a very difficult time.
Love and Hugs to All,
Linda and Luis Vazquez

Subj: Merrick Has Arrived

I just wanted to touch base with you and let you know that Merrick has arrived in Tampa – safe, sound, and dry! My heart just swelled as soon as I took him out of his crate. He looks so much like George! What a blessing. Merrick’s introduction to Wally was one, big fluffy puppy-fest! We hardly recognize this side of Wally! He is so playful and “bouncy”! Thank you so much for filling my home and lap with two wonderful little guys! They will be very loved!!


Stacy Washburn – Tampa, FL

Subj: Re: Newport Nancy/Kakehi 12/1/03 new updated flight
From: Fuzzalot

Newport Nancy arrived safely in Portland, Oregon on time and dry. I will write more tomorrow and hopefully send pictures – its 11:00 p.m. here. Thanks everyone for making this a special day for our family.

Love, Jill.

Subj: Re: Colorado Cameron
From: DFour04 @aol.coim

Hi: I just wanted to let you know what a wonderful job you did making arrangements to fly Cameron to me. I didn’t know quite what to expect and was somewhat nervous about such a small pup (six months old) flying and changing planes. Right from the beginning it was handled expertly. I received an email saying he was on his way after he left Columbus, OH. I went online and checked AA flights and found out he would be early. I arrived at the airport and found the baggage claim office with no trouble. The two ladies there were very helpful and friendly. When he arrived we opened the crate and took him out. He was clean and dry. He was a little nervous but seemed fine. It hasn’t even been a week and he is adjusting to his new family beautifully. I would not hesitate to recommend flying a pet and would definitely do it again.

Thank you again for the professional and caring way in which this was handled.


News Release from Delta Airlines
July 17, 2001

Pet First eases travel with TLC
by Reid Davis

As the kennel arrives, Debbie Gray’s face lights up. “Hey, sweetie,” coos the Air Logistics customer service agent to the black boxer inside. “We need to give him some water,” she tells co-worker Jan Nowell. “And he looks scared.”

As the dog warily walks from the kennel, Gray, who has four dogs, a cat and a duck at home, pets the boxer as she directs it to a nearby air-conditioned room while talking in reassuring tones. A few minutes later, Gray and Nowell walk the dog, no longer looking back and forth nervously, across the parking lot to a newly built grassy pen.

“Not everyone likes animals, but those of us who do will hold ’em, walk ’em and love on ’em,” Gray says.

Caring employees like Gray are key components of the recently introduced Pet First program, which combines elements of Delta Dash and Priority First Freight.

Pets are already a big business for Air Logistics. Last year, the division shipped 42,500 warm-blooded animals, including everything from housecats and mutts to exotic birds and purebred dogs.

Last summer’s systemwide embargo on shipping pets as checked baggage or cargo remains in effect for baggage. It was the right thing to do, says Mike Dempsey, manager-Product Development, Air Logistics, but it has cost Delta approximately $1.3 million in lost revenue.

Pet First came about through feedback from frontline employees who formed a Continuous Improvement Team and customers.

Dash and Priority First – the two options for pet shipping before Pet First started in April – had overlapping service and pricing.

“It was confusing to customers and to the frontline,” Dempsey says. Pet First simplified the pricing structure and specialized the service.

Head of the pack
Shipping warm-blooded animals is a highly regimented process, requiring specialized paperwork, separate handling and adherence to U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations. Customers can’t just drop off their pets and run.

Although an embargo on pets as cargo isn’t in place this summer, hot weather poses a very real threat. If the temperature is expected to climb to more than 85 degrees at any point of the planned route, Delta doesn’t accept warm-blooded animals for shipment. Therefore, early mornings and late evenings are popular times for shipping.

Pets must be at least eight weeks old to travel by air, and their kennels must have enough room for them to turn around. If customers have problems with any of these stipulations, they may end up facing unyielding opposition at the shipping counter.

“We went to animal shipping specialists, and they gave us the thumbs up on this,” Dempsey says. “Animals are labor-intensive and a big liability. If we mess up, the next call could come from the news media.”

“When you see an animal in a kennel, you need to think that it may be someone’s companion,” Gray adds.

Teamwork gets results
Another stipulation for shipping animals through Pet First is that they must be checked in with Air Logistics at least two hours before the flight. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.

“One customer got lost trying to find us, so the dog got here just 15 minutes before the flight,” says Ken Murphy, a customer service agent.

The panicky customer and Gray worked quickly to get the paperwork completed. Meanwhile, Gray called the aircraft load agent “and said we had a dog coming and to do whatever they could to load it,” she says.

Fortunately, animals are among the last things to be loaded on any flight. So as soon as the papers were complete, Murphy drove the collie to Atlanta’s gate A29, where it met the plane just before push-back. “The customer was so thankful,” Gray says.

Handle with care
USDA regulations stipulate that animals can’t be held by Delta for longer than four hours after a flight. So when consignees don’t arrive on time for pickup and efforts to contact them fail, Delta sends the animals to local pet kennels.

Similar to accommodations for customers during irregular operations, pet “hotels” often cost as much as the human variety. Similar rules apply. If customers miss a scheduled pickup, they bear the cost of pet housing, says Diane Petro, analyst-Air Logistcs. Delta pays if delays or missed connections are its fault.

The rates for pet shipping are economical, considering the amount of service involved. The minimum cost is $153, which increases by weight and size. Customers must have an animal health certificate issued within 10 days of departure to ship.

In addition to the facilities in Atlanta, Delta also has air-conditioned animal holding rooms at its hubs in Cincinnati, Dallas and Salt Lake City.