“Dangerous” Dogs in the Sky

 Does this look like the face of a dangerous dog to you?  If you said yes, you can leave now, thanks.

As you all know, Hubby and I adopted Roo while we were living in Holland, and I’ll be honest; when we agreed to adopt a 65lb hyperactive AmStaff I wasn’t really thinking about what it would be like trying to get him home with us when the time came to return to SC. So when that time did come it was a seriously rude awakening to just how discriminating some people and companies can be when it comes to “pit bull type” dogs.

I’ve been a frequent flier with Continental for years and had always had a really positive experience when it came to flying with them.  Imagine my shock when I called to make our flight reservations home and they told me I couldn’t bring my dog with me because their company considered him to be a dangerous dog. What? Dangerous?  The dog sleeping on my feet who loves to lick the sticky faces of children and has never met a person he didn’t want to be BEST FRIENDS with, is dangerous???  You’ve got to be kidding me…

I was pissed off.  And sad.  And all the other emotions that rise up when someone talks bad about your kid (He may be furry and adopted, but he will always be our first child!). Could they justify why they felt the need to use such harsh language when describing certain breeds of dogs?  Could they justify discriminating against several breeds of dogs, including not just Pitties and AmStaffs but Mastiffs as well (The people making these policies have clearly never spent any time around the dogs they are so quick to judge.), without ever meeting the dogs?  Isn’t that called racism when it happens to people?

So flying Continental was out of the question.  And with none of the European airlines offering direct flights to the US or ones that didn’t connect in England…where AmStaffs and Pitties aren’t even allowed to enter the country…our options were quickly dwindling.  And then I found the pet policy at United, and finally I could breathe again.  Roo could come home with us!  

At the airport Roo became somewhat of a celebrity with the United employees. Everyone from the ticket counter to his personal escort to the plane was gushing about how sweet and friendly of a dog he was. There were even a few mentions of how misunderstood these breeds of dog were.

But now, all that has changed.  United has merged with Continental and adopted their “Dangerous Dog” policy. Not that I would ever put Roo on a plane again, it was just too stressful…mostly, I think, for me.  But if it hadn’t been for the understanding people at United we may never have been able to bring him home with us. Not only is it upsetting to hear that the dog you love as a member of your family is dangerous, but it’s also just plain wrong!  These dogs get the worst kind of reputation, and companies like Continental and now United are only further perpetrating the stereotype that I and countless others work so hard to discredit.

It’s always an uphill battle standing up for what you believe in, especially when what you believe goes against the opinions of the general population.  But if you’ve ever spent time with one of these amazing dogs you know what they are truly like…and dangerous is NOT in that description.

Please sign this petition at Change.org to get United to get rid of their Dangerous Dog policy and change the pet policy back to what it should be…non discriminatory!


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