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Engine and Bowel Failures: Getting my Dog Out of Argentina (Part 2)

If you missed Part One of this story, you should read that first so you won’t be lost. The chaos continues in part 2.

Miami laughs in my face

When I got off the plane, I rushed to find my poor dog. I had 3 hours to make it through customs, figure out what the hell to do with my dog for the last leg of my trip, and get on my plane. After customs, I rushed to the check-in counter and politely tried to explain the situation that occurred in Buenos Aires. When I got to the part about being given permission to fly with a non-regulation kennel, the agent literally laughed in my face. He said “I don’t know what those agents in Argentina told you, but there ain’t no way you’re getting on that plane with that kennel. It ain’t happening.

I am not above begging

Clearly, with all the crying, pleading and sad looks that have occurred in this story thus far, I have no shame when it comes to taking care of my dog. I begged the man to help me. I explained our journey, our year and half abroad, our epic return home to a city that was just a 2 hour flight away, etc etc. Luckily, this guy had pets, so he felt for me, and went for a manager. The manager came out and starting speaking with me in Spanish. Somehow, the original agent seemed to forget that we had been speaking English moments earlier and began only communicating through the manager. I was too distraught to set him straight.

The manager sent to a different terminal where I could purchase a soft-case kennel. Clearly, these people thought I was Señorita Moneybags or something. I dragged my things and Padfoot (who was out of his kennel on a leash, thinking we were on a walk in a really weird, hard-ground park) to Terminal E, shelled out about $120 bucks for a horribly tiny looking kennel and rushed back to the counter.

Walking! Why is this ground so hard? I like leafy ground. I also like walks. YAY WALKS!

Seriously guys, I speak English

By the time I got back, my jolly, pet-loving agent was gone and an exhausted looking lady had taken his place. They had briefed her on the situation, so she got the paperwork going. She told me I would need to put Padfoot in the new kennel so they could weigh him.

This is probably a good time to tell you that Padfoot is afraid of pretty much everything. He panics when it rains, hates cameras (notice most photos of him are blurry or don’t show his face), and shivers when anyone touches his paws. When faced with this unfamiliar mesh bag, he went into frozen panic mode. He locked his muscles, stared at me with his giant, perpetually-confused eyes and, eventually, peed all over me and the floor. After I shoved him in, I apologized for the mess, grabbed my hand santizer and tried to pretend like people weren’t staring at me.  When the manager came back, this agent also seemed to forget that I had handed her a US Passport and had been speaking English this entire time. She asked the manager to explain what I was signing, and used a tone and laziness that suggested she did not think I could understand. I looked up and her and said “I’m bilingual. I speak English. I got this.” The manager then said he would walk me to security since I was missing yet another paper because the agents in Argentina never gave me a receipt for my payment.

Sit back and enjoy your in-flight engine failure

I made it to my boarding gate just in time to shove Padfoot into his tiny kennel and board the plane. Padfoot was surprisingly calm as long as I petted him every so often, so I ordered another mimosa and tried to brace myself for the takeoff. As the plane pulled away from the gate I thought to myself “just a little more than 2 hours more and this will all be over.”

And then the captain’s announced that one of the engine starters had failed.

At first, they tried to play this off like maintenance could just meet us at the gate and throw some duct tape on it and we’d be on our way. It wasn’t long before we were told to evacuate the plane. We were informed that maintenance would be working on this right away and that our flight would leave in 2 hours. At about 1 hour and 50 minutes, an agent announced that our flight had been cancelled. She assured us that there was plenty of space on another flight leaving in 3 more hours and we could all line up for new boarding passes.

I wasn’t thrilled, but I’m all about arriving alive, so a new plane sounded nice. However, before they had even handed out the first boarding pass, another announcement was made that the new flight had been delayed by an hour and a half, so we’d all be getting a whopping $12 to buy ourselves lunch.

Yes, this is a dog, please feel free to watch me struggle

As explained in part 1, I had never intended on flying with my dog in the cabin, so I was poorly prepared to handle him and my luggage. With 1 wheely carry-on, his kennel, and his deadly leash twisting around my arms and legs, I was a mess. I was also wearing a skirt and a backpack, which was a terrible choice. Every 10 steps I had to stop to untangle myself, make sure my skirt wasn’t riding up, or simply give my arms a rest. When faced with the task of ordering and consuming food on top of all this, I stood helplessly in front of the dining area, probably looking as confused and lost as my half-witted dog. Eventually, I decided on Nathan’s Hot Dog mostly because I could order at the counter and eat at a nearby gate while still holding Padfoot.

My biggest dilemma was that one of Padfoot’s many fears is being abandoned. Now, this is a reasonable fear, but Padfoot will go absolutely apeshit if I simply walk away from him, even if I am in plain sight. There was no way I could tie him up without him barking so hard he would vomit (seriously, that has happened). Yet, I couldn’t hold him, my luggage and my food. In the end, I opted to leave my luggage and continuously look back at it, hoping no one would steal it or think it was a bomb. I walked back and forth, slowing bringing each item to my chair while Padfoot happily trotted alongside me. At least 10 people stopped to watch me do this, but not a single one of them offered to help.

I’m a dog so I’m pretty much pooping wherever I like

Once you are past security, there are no more pet rest areas. I realized this might be an issue for Padfoot due to all the delays, so I started trying to find an agent who might be able to help me. While on this quest, Padfoot decided to just squat in the middle of a walkway and start dropping a deuce. Mortified, I pulled on his collar, grabbed on of the doggie bags I thankfully had, cleaned it up and tried to scurry away before anyone looked me in the eye.

Thankfully, I got lucky and ran into some super chill security guards who were fully willing to escort me outdoors so Padfoot could relieve himself and stop embarrassing me with his bowel movements.

Are we there yet?

After 2 more minor delays (due to lack of flight attendants) Padfoot and I finally boarded. He had accepted the tiny bag, but he had not accepted the fact that it had wheels. If we remained stationary, he would simply stare sadly through the mesh. If I began wheeling him around, however, he would wail like each turn of the wheel was stabbing him.You can imagine how the other first class passengers reacted to our entrance to the plane. Thankfully, he calmed down once we were seated and only occasionally tried to dig his way out of the kennel. Mostly he just resorted to sad looks.

Why mommy, why?

Maybe I can dig my way out…

Hi, mom, HI! You left a half inch of that zipper undone. My reflection confuses me, but I just busted out of this thing like a puppy Macgyver!

Oh dear God…where am I?

In the end, Padfoot and I made it home ok. You can keep up with Padfoot by checking out his tag.

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