Airline allows Vancouver dog owner to travel with her dog - in her lap! #PawSwapStories

Dog owners all share the same wish, which is to take our dogs everywhere. In a perfect world we could! Well, for this Vancouver dog owner, this dream is a reality!


We met up with dog mom, Cristina, who shared with us her story on how she’s able to fly with her pup.



Their Story...


Cristina adopted Fella in April 2019 to help her 60 year old mother cope with a serious medical diagnosis. Cristina and her mom always wanted a family dog, and when they met Fella, they knew he was the perfect fit.


When Fella joined the family, he was registered as an emotional support animal through their family doctor.


There is always confusion as to what the difference between an emotional support animal is compared to a service or guide animal. The key difference is that a service or guide animal is trained to perform a specific job.


Whether that is to help their owner with a physical, emotional, or intellectual disability. Of course, these dogs also provide emotional support, however they are specifically trained to assist with helping complete tasks.


An emotional support animal provides therapeutic benefits to their owner with a medically diagnosed disability. Emotional support animals do not have to go through training, but medical documentation is required.


“Airlines have made it stricter to bring emotional support animals so always have your paperwork with you. Each airline has different rules. Most require you to email or upload forms,” explained Cristina.


With this being said, taking the appropriate steps to register your pup is important. The first step is talking to your family doctor and seeing if having your dog assist you would be a beneficial option for you. The second step is familiarizing yourself with the rules and regulations of flying with your dog.



A few things to keep in mind...


  • All airlines require different paperwork, make sure to look ahead and plan with your doctor appropriately.

  • Each time you fly, you must fill out the airline’s registration requirements which include your doctor’s signature. This needs to be done for each individual flight and cannot be re-used.

  • Make sure your dog is comfortable and well-behaved in new social situations.

  • If you’re packing food for your dog, make sure to keep it in its original packaging for customs when flying abroad.

  • Keep in mind not all dogs can fit under the seat or on your lap. Airlines may have different requirements on where they can and cannot sit.

  • Sometimes airlines will have weight restrictions, so again, plan accordingly.

Since Fella has been a part of Cristina’s life they have been joined at the hip. “He came at the perfect time of my life,” says Cristina.


Though Fellas provides the support Cristina needs, he also loves being a regular dog that enjoys car rides, chasing things, and making new friends. Fella is a frequent flyer with living in both Los Angeles and Vancouver and has already been on over 5 flights.


“He enjoys the attention he gets from everyone on the plane, including the airline staff. He's brought so many smiles to the people around him every day. A true sweetheart and loving dog!”

Cristina says registering Fella is one of the best decisions she has made. And we must say, these two make a cute jet-setting duo!


Can't take your dog everywhere with you? Download PawSwap and meet neighbours who can help you out, for free!


More about PawSwap...


PawSwap is an Application that makes finding trusted pet sitters easy and inexpensive (or free). By developing a platform that allows dog owners to create and customize their trusted list of pet sitters (called "Pack"), and introducing our own Pay-It-Forward Points system, finding a trusted pet sitter nearby has never been easier or more affordable.


Created for dog owners that work long hours, members can add their Neighbours to their Pack on the platform, and broadcast a message whenever they need a hand. Friends and Neighbours earn Points, which they accumulate and spend on pet sitting services for their own dog or towards pet products and services with our partners.


Have more questions on how the Points work? Check out our article that helps answer some common questions!


Or, if you're ready to sign up, Download App Now!




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