He didn’t want to pal around with this “Air Bud.”
An anonymous dog hater has gone viral after confessing that a whole plane of fellow passengers turned against him when he refused to pet a “service dog” that was roaming loose in the cabin.
He detailed being relegated to the doghouse in the sky in Reddit’s ever-popular “Am I The –shole” forum on Reddit.
“I do not like dogs,” the unnamed 35-year-old male wrote, prefacing his nightmare at 30,000 feet. “I hate this trend of flying with your dog. I don’t understand why you can’t just leave it at home.”
The man said the unexpected canine cameo occurred while he was flying home on an undisclosed airline during what was supposed to be a two-hour flight.
“We take off, as soon as we get to altitude, a dog, say 20 pounds, comes walking down the aisle by itself,” the perturbed passenger described. “It’s just walking around on its own and people up and down the aisle are petting it. It is going up to people and from what I can tell positively interacting with it.”
Alarmed over the rogue canine, he decided to “find a flight attendant” and “ask about the dog,” per the post.
He was flabbergasted at the response. “She tells me they were told it’s a service dog, nothing we can do and also nothing they want to do this early into the flight.”
“Frustrated, I take a seat,” the passenger explained. “It’s been walking around for a decent amount of time and I have no idea who’s dog this is and, FWIW, there was nothing on it indicating it was a service dog.”
According to Pets That Travel, dogs that aren’t service-related are supposed to remain in appropriate kennels and carriers when in airports and onboard aircraft.
In other words, they’re not supposed to treat planes like a doggy park at 30,000 feet.
The furry flight-mare attained new heights after the dog approached the frustrated flyer for some inflight cuddles.
“It comes up to me. I move my legs away and it comes closer,” the appalled passenger recalled. “It put its legs on me and looks up at me like it’s waiting for me to pet it. I lift my legs up onto my seat. I yell out, can someone please come get their dog? I yell this twice.”
At long last, the runaway mutt’s 20-something owner went up and corrals her canine, whereupon the flyer tells her to “control her dog and keep her pet in its carrier.”
The dog parent took umbrage over the rebuke. “She essentially tells me to F off and that I ruined her dogs good time and that I’m the only one that had an issue,” recounted the flyer, who said he subsequently became a passenger non grata aboard the aircraft.
“Throughout the flight, a few people went up to her to tell her they enjoyed the dog,” he recalled. “Each time she made snide comments about me. So was I the –hole?”
Redditors seemed to overwhelmingly side with many claiming that he was in the right and that fido was most definitely not a “service dog.”
“Service animals are trained to perform tasks for disabled handlers,” declared one commiserator. “Service animals have to be under control at all times of the handler. I agree it is unlikely to be a service animal due to the lack of control and the failure of the handler to control their dog.”
“NTA – You are under zero obligation to pet some random dog on flight,” seconded another. “The owner of this dog is a liar and a giant AH. Real service dogs do not go wandering around by themselves. The dog owner didn’t want to pay a fee for her pet so she is falsely claiming it’s a service dog.”
A third commented, “She was lying and it’s not a service dog. If it was a service dog it would not leave her side and she would actively be telling people not to pet it, as much as that breaks my heart because service animals are the goodest boys (and girls) and deserve all the pettings lol.
You are not the ah, she should not have had her dog off-leash on a plane.
Even, and perhaps especially, if said doggo was in fact a service animal, the US Department Of Transportation stipulates that the animal must “behave properly” while on a flight
“Airlines cannot refuse to allow your service animal onboard because it makes other passengers or flight crew uncomfortable,” they write. “An animal that engages in disruptive behavior (ex. barking or snarling, running around, and/or jumping onto other passengers, etc. without being provoked) will not be accepted as a service animal.”
And the dog must never, under any circumstance “block a space that must remain unobstructed for safety reasons (ex. an aisle or access to an emergency exit),” per the guidelines.
The same rules apply to emotional support animals, which are allowed onboard at the airline’s discretion, per a mandate passed in 2020.
The move was part of the US Department Of Transportation’s ongoing efforts to tighten the laws around what constitutes “service animals” — so that only dogs actually trained to help the disabled qualify.
This came amid an uptick in pet-lovers defining their pets as ESAs in order to skirt carrying fees, thereby turning airlines into a veritable menagerie at 30,000 feet
“Passengers have attempted to fly with many different unusual species of animals, such as a peacock, ducks, turkeys, pigs, iguanas, and various other types of animals as emotional support or service animals, causing confusion for airline employees and additional scrutiny for service animal users,” the department wrote. “Airlines have … expressed concern that the significant increase in the number of service animals traveling on aircraft may be the result of an increase in emotional support animals and/or passengers falsely claiming that their pets are emotional support animals.”
The new rules restrict the definition of a service animal to canines that have been specifically trained to help a person with a “physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or mental disability.”
Both airline personnel and the disabled community applauded the changes.
“The days of Noah’s Ark in the air are hopefully coming to an end,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, adding that untrained animals have injured some flight attendants in her group.
“This is a wonderful step in the right direction,” seconded Albert Rizzi, founder of sight-impaired nonprofit My Blind Spot. “People want to have the benefits of having a disability without actually losing the use of their limbs or senses just so they can take their pet with them.”