On The Light Side

  • Barbara Handelman

Luca - Pre-flight Barf?

For months before our first flight, Luca and I trained for myriad contingencies. Even though we flew first class, in bulk head seats, we needed every inch of space allotted us. We practiced and practiced our own version of 101 Things to Do with a Box. In our case, we used a laundry basket. Getting that huge body curled up in a laundry basket was no small feat, accomplished entirely with free shaping, then practiced in lots of different situations, so Luca could get himself effortlessly curled up and out of the way. Luca was not a dog who liked people’s feet on or too near his body or feet, and I am tall, with especially long legs. So we had to work a lot on how we’d share space. Note in the photo on the right, how compromised so that Luca would go behind my legs. That position maximized space for his body and my long legs.

When the day of our first flight arrived - I was definitely more nervous than Luca! He was reasonably calm, but I’m sure he picked up and internalized my anxiety. Just as boarding was announced for our flight, Luca began to retch, early warning of things about to come up! Fortunately, the man sitting next to us was reading a large newspaper. He quickly complied with my urgent request for the classified section of the paper. Most of the vomit, landed on the newspaper, was easily rolled up and disposed of. Phew! We definitely had not planned or trained for that. A few years later, my then 5-year-old son, did the exact same thing just before the extended family boarded a flight to Barbados, complete with hovering grandparents. Kids and dogs teach us to always be prepared, think fast, and see the lighter side of uncomfortable events!

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