This is the 2nd in a 4-part series. Catch up on the back story… Read Part 1.
So I wallowed a bit. More than a bit – a lot bit. For months I wallowed… wondering why bother?
And yet stuff was happening. Little stuff.
I saw things on the web and thought… I should post that on the Jack page. But I didn’t.
I heard about incidents out in the world and thought… I should blog about that. But I didn’t.
And then I went to this event and I heard about the incredible sense of despair people feel when they’re not doing what they know they should be doing with their short, precious life.
And I knew that was what I was feeling.
It wasn’t the despair of being unable to do anything. It was the despair of being unwilling to do what I knew I could do.
I had been having a temper tantrum. And it had to stop!!
So the airlines wouldn’t play nice – was I really that surprised? That was no reason to stop doing what I knew I could do. More importantly, it was no reason to stop DOING WHAT I KNEW I HAD TO DO.
I had known since the beginning that educating pet parents was going to be an important part of our mission. And yet, in a certain way, it seemed so INEFFICIENT. After all, there were hundreds of thousands of pets flying by plane every year – and really only a handful of airlines (primarily just THREE) doing the flying. It just seemed like it would be so much easier if we could just get the airlines to do their job properly.
Is it efficient – or EASY – to try to work with people who simply don’t want to hear what you have to say??
DING DING DING – bells were going off. And for the first time in a quite a while, I felt the spark.
I knew what had to be done. First and foremost – we had to educate pet parents about the dangers of flying with animals. And if that was all we did, so be it.
Karen never would have let Jack and Barry go under the plane if she had known the danger they were in. We had talked about it, and I had some vague idea of the problem, but I didn’t know enough to talk her out of it. After all, AA swore up and down the kitties would be safe. They transported tens of thousands of animals every year with no problem, right?
Yeah sure. Tell that to the kitty who was in the ceiling at JFK for 61 days. Tell that to Karen. Tell that to the thousands of people who followed Jack’s story.
Educating pet parents is the best chance we have to fulfill Jack’s legacy.
I knew we had had some success at this already – people had contacted me by phone, through this blog and through our Facebook page to ask questions, to use the materials we had available, and to tell us that what were we doing either helped them keep their pet safe when they flew – or in many cases, to tell me that they had decided to forego flying all together.
(Side note: To all those kitties that have had to endure cross-country drives because your mommies and daddies were afraid to fly with you – I’m sorry. But not really!)
The key was EDUCATION. And we needed to be doing A LOT MORE OF IT.
And to make that happen, we needed a plan.
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April 7, 2016 at 1:47 pm
I still cry over Jack; his photo is in my computer, and it brings me to tears to see it. I SO admire you and all the effort you have put into this fight. I don’t fly, but every time I have the chance to tell a prospective flyer what happened to Jack, I do. There ARE other ways to transport, and I let that be known. Please keep up the good work; you *will* be blessed for your compassion!
April 7, 2016 at 4:17 pm
Mary Beth, know that your efforts, for Jack, started a journey for me up in Canada. I had searched for one lost airport cat in 2008 unsuccessfully but since that time, have had 4 successful search and rescues in my own Country. George in Edmonton (coordinated remotely from Winnipeg), Lighting and Bronte in Winnipeg, and Chester in Montreal (remote assistance for searchers). In each case, it was absolutely avoidable had the parents of these pets known what to do with the cats’ kennels and instruction to cargo staff prior to flying. Countless hours were spent searching, setting up feeding stations, traps, communicating with ground staff. Bronte necessitated clearance to rescue on a closed air force base. Thankfully, those people were incredible.
Please take heart that your efforts have not gone unnoticed, your information not gone unheeded. When the need is there, in my hometown or elsewhere, I will offer what I can to help get them home as fast as possible. As impossible as these cases have seemed, persistence, combined with experience and cooperation has gotten them home alive.
Jack HAS made a difference. He started it all. These cats are all safe because of him and we have our own tips on Winnipeg Lost Cat Alert which we remind people about every travel season.
Don’t give up!
April 7, 2016 at 5:47 pm
This is great news, Claudia!! We will put a link to you on our site!! Thanks for letting me know all that you’ve done and continue to do. Keep up the GREAT work!!
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