Retired Iraqi War veteran Kevin Crowell found himself in an awkward position last week at Miami International Airport when an airline attendant informed him that he was unable to take Bella, his service dog, aboard the flight.
“She said the policy states no pets in bulk-heading,” states Crowell, despite the fact that Bella is much more than a pet. She is a lifeline.
Kevin Crowell spent 20 years serving his country as a combatant in Iraq, and during his tours, he suffered multiple injuries, both physical and emotional.
“They have no idea that part of my spine was replaced by roadside bombs. They don’t have any idea that my shoulder was destroyed in Iraq. So now, I rely on her for a lot of things, and oftentimes, I physically lean on her to help me through the day.”
On his return trip from the Wounded Warrior’s project in Key West, even though he was allowed to travel with his dog on the flight down, Crowell was told to disembark from his flight back home as his dog was in violation of the airline’s policies.
Despite the fact that The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ensures that no one will ever be deprived of their service animal, regardless of the venue's policy on pets, American Airlines booted Crowell, Bella, and his family off the flight, forcing them to rent a car and drive up from Miami to Jacksonville. “I was beyond humiliated,” states Crowell.
As per CBS Miami, after Crowell’s wife called the airline, she was assured that members of the Miami staff were going to be re-trained on the airline’s policies and was also offered a full refund for their travel costs. However, acts like this show how important it is to correct the misconceptions our society has about service dogs. You wouldn't take away someone's wheelchair or crutches, and as such, no one should ever have to go without their service dog.
Dog Saves Iraqi Vet From a Seizure - And You Won’t Believe How!
When Terry McGlade started to have a seizure in his backyard, he thought all hope was lost. Lucky for him, his dog Major was nearby.
No stranger to seeing Terry seize up, Major pulled the cellphone out of his pocket and began stepping on it with his paw. Thanks to Terry’s one-button emergency contact, it wasn't long before Major had been connected with first responders, who appeared on the scene soon after.
Terry first got a Major after he returned from military service in Afghanistan to help him deal with his frequent seizures caused by a roadside bomb. Major helps Terry deal with medical emergencies as well as offers support and companionship for his PTSD.
And while Major is a terrific companion, he was never explicitly trained to dial a phone. This rescue story is yet another example of how pets can perform some miraculous and unexpected feats in times of crisis.
And if that wasn’t enough, when the first responders arrived, Major was sitting in the front yard, waiting for them. Then, in true Lassie form, he then led them around back where Terry was lying unconscious.
“I probably would have been in severe trouble if he wouldn't have called,” said McGlade. “I don’t think I could operate in the everyday world without him right now.”
McGlade stayed overnight at the hospital for observation but was released the next day with no serious harm done. And while Terry managed to escape any real damage, if it wasn’t for his miraculous service dog, he might not have been so lucky.
McGlade has nominated Major for the American Humane Society Hero Dog Awards, hoping to get some recognition for his dogs' amazing rescue.
Importance of Service Dogs for War Veterans
PTSD is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health conditions among war veterans and their families. PTSD is a mental disorder that can develop after experiencing a traumatic event. Symptoms include intense fear, guilt, and depression. The disorder can be treated with therapy, medication, or the assistance of a service dog.
Yes, you read it correctly. Service dogs can assist military veterans in fighting these diseases. Trained service dogs can detect when something is wrong and alert their partner so they can get help right away or take action on their own (e.g., distract them from an episode). This can make all the difference in preventing injury or death during an episode of severe anxiety or depression by providing emotional support before anyone else realizes there’s even a problem.
Service dogs are specially trained to assist people with disabilities such as blindness and deafness. These animals have been shown to lower blood pressure in their owners, reduce anxiety levels, and improve mobility for those who use wheelchairs or braces.
Moreover, research suggests that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among veterans may decrease when they are partnered with service dogs. Hence, it’s not wrong to say a service dog’s benefits extend far more than just accompanying the military war veterans and helping them in their daily chores.
The service dogs for veterans seem to improve quality of life, lessen pain, and even reduce blood pressure. The VA offers a service dog program for veterans with physical disabilities or injuries. The VA can also help you connect with service dog providers that will match you with a trained service dog free of charge.
Things to Keep in Mind While Flying With Pets
Flying with a pet can be a stressful experience. You want to make sure your pet is safe and comfortable, but you also have to worry about all of the other people on the plane. However, there are ways to ensure your pet travels safely and comfortably so that you don't get in trouble with other passengers or airline employees.
Keep a Pet Bed and Pet Camera
Keep a pet bed and pet camera in your handbag.
If you plan to fly with your pet, be sure to pack a pet bed along with a favorite toy that has been pre-approved for air travel by the airline. It’s also a good idea to keep your pet camera, phone, or other devices on hand so that you can capture any precious moments you may share together during the flight.
Keep Pet Collars and Harnesses
As a pet owner, you may think that your dog or cat just needs to wear a collar and be good to go. But in reality, pet collars are only for identification purposes and should not be used as restraint devices during air travel. Instead, use a harness that will keep them safe from injury during take-off and landing.
Harnesses are typically made of nylon or leather materials which are both durable and comfortable for your pet to wear throughout their journey. Hence, pet collars and harnesses are important when you are flying with your pet.
Keep Pet Food
While you're waiting for your flight, be sure to keep your pet food in a sealed container. This way, it's less likely to spill or get contaminated with other people's belongings. You can also store the food in a cooler with ice packs. Just make sure that any food or water bottles are labeled "for animal use only."
Keep Pet Medicine
A good rule of thumb is to always keep pet medicine on hand for your pet's needs. Some medicines, like flea medicine for cats and flea medicine for dogs, are allowed in the cabin, but others must be kept in the cargo hold.
You should also have all the documentation necessary to prove your pet's vaccinations are up-to-date. If you're flying with a service animal or emotional support animal, it's important that they have all their required paperwork as well. You can easily get all kinds of pet medicine from a pet pharmacy near you.
Keep Pet Odor Eliminator
Keep a pet odor eliminator on hand. If your pet is prone to having accidents or has a particularly strong scent, you'll want to keep some pet odor eliminator handy in case of mishaps. You can use an Angry Orange Pet Odor Eliminator to get rid of any strong smell. You can easily purchase this product from nearby pet stores.
Check for restrictions on certain products or bag sizes. Some airlines have restrictions about what type of products you can bring onto the plane with you, so it's a good idea to call and double-check before packing anything that might be prohibited (like foods).
Keep Antibiotics for Pets
You should have antibiotics on hand for your pet. Antibiotics for cats and antibiotics for dogs can be used to treat skin infections, respiratory infections, and urinary tract infections. Antibiotics are not always needed for pet health, but they are important in some situations. Pet owners should be able to purchase antibiotics at a vet's office or online.