The idea of putting my Angel in a box and taping it up was difficult to say the least. I guess I kept thinking of myself in that box and how I would feel. But you have to understand that iguanas love dark hiding spots. Places safe and secure, where they can zone out their breathing and go into their semi catatonic state. They need breathe very slow and need little oxygen. What they do need is warmth.
But the whole idea of if my plan would work or not, made me an emotional wreck all day. I couldn’t think to even place things ready to to IN my suitcase. What should have taken minutes took me hours. I was so grateful to my friend Paul who came to my rescue and offered to take me to the airport, I couldn’t’ I could have done this alone.
Packing up my precious iguana in a box because Southwest classified her an exotic animal and shipping her underneath the plane in cargo was just too much anxiety to handle.
But I had been preparing for this for 2 years. I had gone down personally to Southwest Cargo and I talked to Paul about my future plans to get a new iguana after Babe passed and took my of joy of life away with him.
I explained how only and iguana would do and that I needed to fly frequently. He showed me how to become a known shipper and told me he would be here for me when the time came. So, I called him that morning and boy, was here there for me!
He surpassed my expectations and calmed me down, as I explained my anxiety about the trip. Since he would not be working that shift he set everything in motion for me. He was amazing because when I got to SW Cargo, not only did they know I was coming, they were kind and re-assuring.
A girl named Leeza was there. She was soft hearted and empathic, who felt the same way I did…how could they not allow such a charming little lizard on board with me?
Her concern actually helped me with my panic issue, as I gave her a tour of his little box and showed her how I had created a nice comfy habitat inside.
I had placed a cat bed inside and custom sewed the bag so he couldn’t climb under it or get out during flight.I showed her the Snuggle safe heat pad that would keep my baby warm the entire trip.
The whole time Angel took it all in. I had worked for a couple weeks introducing her to the bed inside preparing her for this day. Then we had to do the hardest thing, tape her in the box….oh that was hard. But she willingly went in and sat there. I had whispered with her for days and explained that it was her safe spot and it was made just for her.
She didn’t fuss or fight. She willingly went in and I was delighted that she seemed to love it in there
I had marked the box with her photo asked John to call me when she was aboard so I could avoid a panic issue. Not only did he call me, he made a personal appearance at the gate, bringing with him a photo of the box in the cargo hold.
He had put her in a separate compartment, as to avoid any boxes falling on her or any foreseen incidents as the like. Now that is going the extra mile! John was my hero that day.
He kept texting me to let me know everything would be finding and if there was a problem to call him. Even when my flight arrived, he remembered me and texted me again to make sure she made it safely!
HE makes Southwest Cargo shine! In today’s world, who does these kind of things? He was an honest and genuine person who just knew how I felt and wanted to insure that I would be OK. Words cannot express my gratitude and respect for this man.
But he just didn’t do this, he had the Southwest check-in girl, call ahead to Reno Cargo and tell them about Angel. So that when I arrived the handlers were already there, they glanced up at the plane and I waved to them. The first box off the plane was my Angle and he held up the box and looked at me and I shook my head “YES!” Thank you! That was AWESOME!
Angel was waiting at cargo for me and I quickly opened up the box. The trip had been extremely turbulent and I was concerned about her, since unpressurized means no air and cold temperatures.
I quickly opened the box and when light entered the box, she began to move, I took the rubber band from the bag she was in and she was warm and lively. I held her in my arms the whole way home and when she got home she just wanted her bed and passed out like a light.
I am not sure what the ordeal was like for little Angel, but for me it was incredible. I would have never imagined that the crew of a Cargo facility could be so giving and understanding. They surpassed all my expectations and I am so grateful to them.
The staff of Southwest was terrific, every single one of them from Paul, who guided me on how to be abel to fly with my iguana, to ricl my calming factor, to empathic lees, wo totally empathically understood and to my hero and star of the show John.
No one could understand why Southwest has a policy of that calls little harmless lizards an exotic animal. My aim will continue to be to see that the airline re-evaluate its policy to include reptiles on board, in adequate enclosures, that allow them to have air and warmth on their travels. I want to be an advocate for the millions of reptile enthusiastic, who are either forced by allergic conditions, or just love of the simple quiet creature, to have to put their little pets thru this experience.
I would like to ask southwest if they would be interested in learning more about the experience of live reptiles in cargo. Perhaps they could put the tracker in with angel next time, so we could monitor the sound, vibration, air temp and the like. I would like to work with them to insure all live cold blooded reptile and fish have a pleasant flight, just like my Angel