Everyone who followed the story of Jack from its early days knows where they were exactly 6 months ago today — October 25, 2011, at around 9pm (U.S. Eastern Time). At that moment, Karen was informed by AA that Jack had fallen out of the ceiling in the Customs and Border Patrol Office at JFK Terminal 8. He had been in the building for his whole ordeal – and had survived 61 days without substantial (and maybe any) food or water. Cats are amazing!! Hope was truly alive again…
But with that hope came new realizations and new concerns. Big wake-up call: Jack REALLY HAD BEEN in Terminal 8 (the AA terminal) all that time. All 61 days. The trail that the search dog had followed was not the right trail (no blame to the search dog or his handler… they were working under horrible conditions). Jack had been in the building the whole time! Was AA really looking for him?? They say yes… I have my doubts. But only Jack knew the truth, and he wasn’t talking.
And the new concern: was Jack really alright? As in healthy?? Cats can survive for a substantial amount of time without food, but it takes a toll on their internal organs, especially the liver (the body’s primary cleansing mechanism in all mammals). And then there was the fact that he had been hurt in the fall from the ceiling – how serious was that?? Would he be able to heal and get back to his old frisky, funny, crazy self??
There were prayers, and love, and cards and gifts. If this boy was to heal, the love alone – coming from every corner of the Earth – should have been enough to do it.
But it was not to be. The liver disease was too advanced. And his wounds were growing, not healing. After 12 days in veterinary ICU, and an agonizing decision by Karen to let him go to the Rainbow Bridge, Jack became our angel in heaven.
We must use this anniversary, the 6 month anniversary of hope renewed, THE FIRST OF THOSE 12 DAYS, to really make a difference. To kick things into a higher gear. What can we do in 12 days to make a real difference??
Since Jack crossed the Bridge, many people have been working hard to keep this from happening again. Indeed, Jack’s spirit was clearly with Wenty, the cat lost by Alaska Airlines at Seattle-Tacoma Airport. Alaska Airlines opened their hearts – and more importantly, their planes and their space in the airport! – for searchers from Missing Pet Partnership to look for Wenty. Wenty was recovered in less than 72 hours (though every hour was a very looooooong hour for Wenty’s mama!). Jack’s community sprang into action the moment they heard about this, starting a Facebook page for Wenty, sending love and light, and show a willingness to help in whatever way they could.
Clearly, the spirit is willing… it is time to take our desire for what happened to Jack to never happen again and go to the next level. This movement requires more than a Facebook page. Or even a Facebook page and a blog! It is time for us to hit the streets – literally. And the best way to do that is with coordinated effort.
And the best way for us to coordinate our efforts is through an organization. A non-profit organization. An organization we are calling…
WHERE IS JACK?, INC. has been created to provide a vehicle to spread the word about what happened to Jack and how to keep your pet safe if you must travel by air. We’ve been expanding the website (check out Pets on a Plane: The Options, above) and will keep doing so. We are also looking forward to taking our message to veterinary conferences (most airlines require a health certificate for pets to fly, so getting vets and vet techs to tell their clients about us would be sooooo awesome!). We want to make people aware that pets are in substantial danger when they fly – and particularly in danger when they fly as checked baggage/cargo. We also want vets and their clients to know that every pet incident is not reported on the DoT’s monthly Animal Incident Reports – because all companion animals are not considered “pets”. We want every veterinarian and vet tech to know what we now know — and we want them to send their clients to us so they will not be “flying blind,” so to speak. If Karen had known on August 24th what she knows now, Jack and Barry would never have gotten on that plane.
We also plan to spread our information through animal advocacy conferences like the No Kill Conference and the No More Homeless Pets Conferennce. Even many animal advocates are not aware of the dangers pets face when they fly. It’s time to make this common knowledge among the people who are most concerned with creating a better life for all animals!!
All this awareness is dedicated toward moving toward one goal: a world in which animals are treated with respect and kindness when they travel. They are not “baggage” or “cargo” – they are living, feeling creatures who should not have to even be at risk of going through the suffering that Jack went through. In addition to educating people, we also advocate that airlines and airports must have policies and procedures in place to find animals quickly if an accident should occur. We are working to make the airlines be more accountable – and to make the government more willing to enforce the need for all companion animals to be treated with kindness and dignity when they fly.
We want to be at the forefront of making all these good things happen – because if we don’t WHO WILL? And we know you want all these things to happen, too. Over the course of the next few months we will be asking for volunteers to put posters and post cards up in veterinary offices everywhere. But first, we have to get those posters and post cards printed. You can help with this RIGHT NOW – by becoming a member of WHERE IS JACK?, INC.. Your dollars will only go toward reimbursing expenses (like conference registrations) and creating and printing hard copy materials (like posters and post cards). No salaries… no overhead. Just getting the word out in the best way we know how.
We appreciate your continued interest in Jack and in the cause of making airline travel safer for pets. Please keep us in your kind thoughts as we take the next steps on this journey… and keep this website in mind because you never know when you’ll run into someone who is planning to fly with their pet!!! Spread the word… and tell them JACK WAS HERE!!!