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JetBlue Airways Saves a Four-Legged Life

Renaud Fenster treated the dog as a passenger and he resultantly saved a very special life.

Courtney Good

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With recent news of insensitive flight attendants discriminating against K-9 passengers, dog owners have increased anxiety when flying with their furry family members. However, owners can take comfort in the superb hospitality and care from JetBlue attendants, Renaud Fenster and Diane Asher, when they took great lengths to save a three-year-old French Bulldog’s life.

On Thursday, Steven and Michele Burt were traveling from Florida back home to Massachusetts with their three dogs. Along the plane ride, Michele notice her bulldog, Darcy, urgently trying to escape her crate. Michele scooped Darcy out from the carrier to attempt to comfort her dog when she saw that Darcy’s tongue was blue. The dog was facing hypoxia.

While Darcy squirmed and panted hastily for air, the flight attendants took notice. Being a bulldog owner, Fenster knew that with the breed’s compressed facial anatomy and the pressure fluctuation in the cabin that the dog was likely hypoxic. He quickly gathered ice to try to cool Darcy’s body temperature, but unfortunately that did nothing to sooth the dog’s panic.

Finally, Fenster informed the pilot that he would need oxygen and with permission, Fenster took the oxygen mask to the dog. Darcy calmed in minutes and soon rejected the mask and reclaimed her healthy coloring. The Burt family was lucky that Fenster was a dog owner and understood the meaning of having a dog as part of one’s family, not as a toy or something to neglect. Fenster treated the dog as a passenger and he resultantly saved a very special life.

Following the flight, JetBlue reported, “We all want to make sure everyone has a safe and comfortable fight, including those with four legs. We’re thankful for our crew’s quick thinking and glad everyone involved was breathing easier when the plane landed in Worcester.”

JetBlue has taken the stance to support all of its passengers, human or animal, while other airlines have protected their pride. After a 9-month-old French Bulldog, Kokito, suffocated after being forced to ride in an overhead compartment on a United flight, the airline reacted by banning all brachycephalic dog breeds. While the Burt family went home happy with each of their family members alive and well, United Airlines faced a criminal lawsuit.

Michele reflected in a letter to JetBlue, “I believe Renaud and Diane saved a life. Some may reduce the value of life because Darcy is a canine; I do not.”

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I am a University of Kentucky rising senior English major and journalism minor from upstate New York. The adult world is approaching fast, and I plan to conquer it with a cup of coffee in my hand.

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