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Life As We Know It: February 25, 2013

          An airline just for dogs? Pet Airways thinks it could work. People whose dogs are too big to fly in the cabin of the major airlines, or who don’t want to put their little friend in the cargo hold, now have another option, though it’s not cheap.

          The fair is a rather stiff $250 to send man’s best friend coast to coast, pre-boarding walks and potty breaks included. For now Pet Airways serves just five major cities – New York, Washington, Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles – using smaller, regional airports. The company has created a “Pet Lounge” at each of them so that the paying customers have a place to relax before flights.

          The fare also includes play time and dinner on the longer flights. However, if history repeats itself, and the frills gradually disappear – just as they have done for those of us who walk upright – you have to wonder if dinner will gradually give way to a tiny bag of doggie treats that even a German Shepherd couldn’t open.

          Also – the FAA is a stickler about this stuff – will the 50 or so canine passengers the airline hopes to carry on most flights be required to sit through the safety lecture like we do? I mean, can there be anybody left, including your dog, who still has to be shown how to buckle the seat belt?

          Regardless, I can hear it now:

          “Remember, Pugsy, disabling or tampering with the smoke detector in the lavatories is against the law.”

          “Keep in mind, Fluffy, that the nearest emergency exit might be several cages behind you.”

          And what about in-flight movies? “Benji”? “Lassie”? “The Shaggy Dog”? “Underdog”? “Turner and Hootch”? “101 Dalmations”? “Marley and Me”? “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”? Not bad options. “Cujo”? Scratch that one – too scary.

          May I suggest an oldie but goodie, an obvious choice: “Old Yeller.” Not a dry eye in the cabin.

          Hopefully, when the movie ends, a disembodied voice from the cockpit will lighten the mood for the canine passengers with a cheerful “Hello from the flight deck. This is your captain, Jack Russell…”

          ***

          A good friend of mine writes a regular column for the Scripps Howard News Service. Like me, she lives in dread of every columnist’s worst nightmare: a factual error, or worse, misuse of the language. After she submitted a column to her editor about the misadventures she experienced changing the wallpaper in her house, including inadvertently pulling down chunks of plaster, she was obliged to send out a correction.

          Here’s her correction:

          “Please note. I have just been informed of an error in the column I sent you this morning. This may not surprise you, but apparently I do not know the definition of a ‘joist.’ According to my informant, a joist is a horizontal structure in a floor or ceiling; a vertical structure in a wall is called a ‘stud.’ Thus the sentence which read ‘As I stood there staring at the naked joists…’ could rightly be corrected to read “As I stood there staring at the naked studs...’ However, to avoid further confusion, my preference would be to say, ‘As I stood there staring at the gaping hole in the wall…’

 I do apologize for the error.”

          Sister, I feel your pain.

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