Keep your P.A.W.S. to yourself

Our airlines are in trouble. Even though our skies are littered with planes, airlines across the country are losing money faster than first class can go through hot towels. Short of nixing another olive or charging us more for the Wesley Snipes movie playing, airlines need some revenue.
One airline has discovered a way to exponentially increase stockholder morale by expanding stockholder wallets. Southwest Airlines has begun, as of this past June 17th, it’s P.A.W.S. program.
P.A.W.S. is a clever acronym for Pets Are Welcome on Southwest.
Surely thought up at a company retreat in Jamaica paid for by bailout dollars and approved for use after someone’s 8th Alabama Slammer. Southwest is extending it’s Newark to Pensacola redeye and all other flights to our four legged friends. Now, small dogs and cats, along with their electronic tags and flea collars will need to have boarding passes and seats next to ours. Those flying Southwest will be flying the furry skies.
Now your crazy neighbor who has been widowed for 25 years and owns 18 cats can finally take that trip to the largest ball of yarn in the world with Mr. Whiskers.

Southwest does have it’s rules for your best friends.

Caged. Under 20lbs. Dogs and cats only(sorry quirky non-conformist girl who wears wool gloves with the fingers cut out of them and knitted hats in the summertime who listens to coffeehouse bands and just rented ‘Along Came Polly’ from Netflix…no ferrets.) All shots and records of shots need to be reviewed before boarding. Colonel Cotton Fluff is not allowed to stretch his well groomed legs after the pilot has turned off the fasten seatbelt sign either. Once they are on, they are in(their cages).
It’s perfect. You can finally buckle up your Siamese cat, Miss Xian Xi, for that trip to the homeland you promised her. Right?
Actually, the potential for disaster with P.A.W.S. is jumping like the fleas on Scruffy’s hind legs.

I’ll explain.

First of all, try to keep in mind that no matter what statute is in place to keep peace amongst those with dog carriers and those without, rules will be broken. Someone will mistakenly believe their precious Minx will obey their commands to sit quietly during takeoff. The rules so carefully crafted by the executives at Southwest might as well written them in a fortune cookie, because no one is going to read them or obey them. So with that in mind…
What happens when our pet’s records aren’t given and yet they still get on board without their shots(Don’t think it could happen? Do we really need to get expound on the competency of airport employees?)? How about when the guy sitting next to you and Mittens in aisle ‘G’ finds out he has a terrible allergic reaction to cat dander he never knew before? Crying kids on planes are enough to make you want to get an early vasectomy, now the pure bred Beagle sitting next to the bathroom is going to howl continuously on your non-stop from Bangor to Brisbane? And what happens when one of the passengers let’s their pet’s cage open to share the in flight meal and the animal bolts to the stewardesses or to the guy who ordered the lasagna(even though they were only serving steak or fish)? Or bites someone sitting in their seat trying to read Bangkok Airways magazine(‘When Animal Attack 2’. Check it out if you think it can’t happen)? What happens when your Pug feels that animal instinct kick in for the LabraDoodle sitting three aisles behind him? How long can your pet go before they have to go? Add in the excitement of seeing clouds out the window and now how long can she make it? And could you imagine the outrage if there were an accident and pets were killed?
What it boils down to is most people, including Southwest, do not like your pets(they are in it for the money). We can hardly stand to ride the three hours from Philly to Florida next to you let alone next to your barking, shedding, panting pet. We don’t care that you have 7 cats named after the 7 Dwarfs. We are not interested to hear how Pooky Bear alerted neighbors to your great aunt who had fallen off the toilet by barking for 17 straight hours.
Much like celebrity worship in this country, we have over emphasized our pets. Creatures who spend much of their time licking their genitalia, finding a leg to hump, and drinking out of the toilet are prescribed human traits(and any of us who have them are all guilty, including me). Southwest is only assisting to blur the lines for obsessed pet owners who truly believe Mr. Whiskers should have the right to sit on the seat with them. It’s not adorable when your house smells like cat urine. When 65% of your take home pay goes to vet bills and Snausages you need to reevaluate your life. If you set a place at your dining room table for your pet, it’s just sad.
You’re a pet person, I really do get it. I love animals. I have had a cat for the past 6 years. I own a dog who has rapidly become my best friend. And despite that, mine and your pets need to stay at home in their cages(or with the rest of the luggage in the bottom of the plane).
Plus, I don’t want the hassle of bringing a pet along with me on vacation. My kids are tough enough to keep satiated let alone throwing in my dog who enjoys chewing on my belts and thinking everything in eyesight is viable to chase. There is a valid reason as to why pets are given worm mediciation and Frontline protection…they are animals. It seems most people in this country have forgotten that. Now, thanks to Southwest, my two hour layover in Des Moines could turn into twelve hours if they overbook on Australian Sheep Dogs as a part of their P.A.W.S. program.
Certainly there is a better way than having animals sit next to us on flights for Southwest to generate some cash? Because what this boils down to is Southwest’s rabid bid to garner some much needed money. Did they ever think of advertising on the fuselage? How about advertising stitched into the seats? Make the pilot’s announcements sponsored by McDonald’s or Coke a Cola. Dress stewardesses in uniforms akin to a Nascar driver’s jumpsuit, littered with any company willing to pay for a shoulder or rib to promote their products?
Yet, unfortunately, Southwest’s CEO is most likely married to a woman who carries her dog around with her in her purse, which means P.A.W.S. is here to stay, when in all reality, it should be neutered.


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