Ramblings From The Ranch
By Christina Bennett
Pet on the Belly
Recently, I learned another context for the phrase “a pet on the belly.” I always thought it was what my dogs wanted when they lay down with their feet in the air. But think again. My husband and I were “flight angels” for the first time when we flew to Portland with seven dogs from the Ranch. When the Volaris airlines agent handed me my boarding pass and luggage ticket, it said, “PET ON BELLY.” Seven dogs in seven crates were going to be in the belly of the plane and I guess Volaris wanted to be sure we didn’t forget them when we arrived at PDX!
As volunteers at the Ranch, we have seen the crowded conditions during the pandemic—no flights up north for dogs and more pups being abandoned due to the economic downturn. We were happy to help out and take some dogs to loving homes in Oregon. One of the dogs was a sweet cattle mix named LuAnn. She was a shy girl, so pretty, and I had loved spending time with her at The Ranch. Two of the dogs on our flight had belonged to an Ajijic man who lost his life due to tainted alcohol.
A Ranch volunteer drove us to the Guadalajara airport and another one met us there with the seven dogs. Getting checked in took a bit of time as each crate was processed by the patient ticket counter agent. The Ranch volunteer made sure all the paperwork was in order and we were on our way to the gate, the crates of dogs waiting to be placed on the conveyor belt.
We were a bit concerned as we heard that international arrivals in Portland involved a bus ride, with our luggage and the doggies, to the main terminal. It was a pleasant surprise that two cheerful airport employees were waiting to help us wheel carts of dogs to the bus, where others helped us load them up. At the main terminal, another wonderful staff member with a giant cart assisted us in getting the dogs outside of the secure area. And she wouldn’t even accept a tip.
A large group of adopters and foster parents from Street Dog Hero were anxiously awaiting our arrival. The dogs looked a bit scared but they were all healthy and extremely well-behaved. The adopters were wearing masks but I could feel their smiles. I was able to meet Laura, from Eugene, Oregon, who adopted my sweet friend LuAnn.