Traveling with your dog is always stressful, but for this woman, it was a nightmare.
Kathleen Considine bought a plane ticket for her beloved pet, a Golden Retriever named Jacob, from Detroit to Portland. He was traveling with United Airlines and would need to make a connecting flight in Chicago before the final leg of his journey.
When the big day came, Kathleen was nervous, but she thought Jacob was ready. He had been to the vet for a mandatory health screening and was comfortable in his extra-large crate. But when Jacob made it to the airport, there was concern that the 80-pound dog in his very large crate wouldn’t fit on the plane. After a few moments of stress, it was confirmed that Jacob would fit on both his flights, and he was taken to the cargo area to be loaded up.
But then things went wrong. Despite original confirmations, Jacob didn’t fit on his final Portland-bound flight. Stranded at the airport, personnel determined the dog would have to stay overnight in a kennel until the next available flight. What was supposed to be a short journey suddenly had a 20-hour layover attached to it.
When Kathleen finally picked up Jacob in Portland, she said he was “disoriented and unresponsive.”
“My best friend who I was expecting to trample me with kisses barely even acknowledged my existence. There was clearly something wrong when he landed in Portland. He was not the same dog he was when he was in Detroit.”
Kathleen gathered Jacob into her car and started a three-hour long journey to Central Oregon. But instead of getting better, Jacob’s condition got worse. She rushed him to an emergency vet when his breathing became scarce. After eight minutes of CPR, he was pronounced dead.
Kathleen was devastated and later learned that the Golden Retriever died from a flipped stomach. The condition, also known as gastric dilation, restricts blood flow to the heart and stomach lining and slows down breathing.
According to Kathleen, United Airlines refused to accept the extra bag of dog food Jacob should have had with him in case of an emergency, and their inability to get him on the right plane caused added stress. In a Facebook post explaining the situation, she blames the airline for her dog’s death. She calls United Airlines’ Pet Safe program “cruel” and claims they “treat animals like baggage.” She says;
“They are incredibly rude and have shown no sympathy for my dog’s death. I would have received the same responses if they were to have broken my guitar in baggage.”
Kathleen’s story has since made its way across the Internet, attracting attention all over the world. KATU News prompted a response from United Airlines that said;
“We were saddened to hear of Jacob’s passing after we returned him to the care of his owner. Our PetSafe team is committed to the safety and comfort of all the pets that travel with us. We worked to ensure Jacob’s comfort throughout his entire journey and he showed no signs of distress nor behave in a way that would suggest he was unwell while in our care. Though we understand little can ease the grief that accompanies the loss of a pet, we’ve been in touch with Ms. Considine to offer our condolences and discuss this matter further.”
While Kathleen grieves her loss, it’s not known if any legal action will be taken against United Airlines. But she’s started a GoFundMe page to bring awareness to the situation and start a non-profit organization to improve airline travel for pets.
Do you think United Airlines is to blame? Let us know in the comments.
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