Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Late in July 2008 I drove to Sea-Tac to anxiously retrieve a new family member at the airport. When I arrived at the baggage area I was redirected to a vast freight facility on the south end, where I began wandering through a cavernous Northwest Airlines cargo hangar. An airline employee soon joined me in navigating mountains of cargo and a labyrinth of freight containers. We were on a quest that afternoon for a simple grey pet kennel, one that had been driven and flown over 2500 miles from a farm in America's heartland.

The company baggage handler led me through even more stacks of containers and nondescript freight until we both spotted the familiar Petco travel crate, large enough to hold a German Shepherd. At first glance it appeared empty. But after stooping to peer into the wire opening, I spotted, tucked in the shadows of a rear corner, a small dog, seemingly content to stay right where he was.

After a few minutes of gentle coaxing, nothing was succeeding in convincing our reluctant traveler to move off his haunches and into the light. "Hey, little guy, you wanna get out of here and go home?"..."How you doing kiddo?" Nothing doing, nothing at all, but who could blame him after his cross-country trip in steerage. What should he expect next?

Finally, taking a chance, I carefully reached into his dark, durable plastic den with a treat in hand, and was immediately enveloped in a cloud of ammonia. The kennel pad had morphed from cushion to urine sponge, and probably several hours earlier. "Quantum Leap Bob" was awash in the evidence, and had to be feeling worse for the wear. So, after using a combination of sweet talk and gentle tugging, the newest member of our family slowly - ever so slowly - ventured out of the darkness of the hangar and became the light of our lives. 

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