Patches of damp fog swirled around the departure gate as hurrying passengers embarked for their final call for the El Al flight to Tel Aviv. Among the excited throng was an elderly handsome lady wrapped in a fur cape and walking with an aristocrat bearing, which was appropriate considering her lofty status. Lady Marks was a known benefactor of many Israeli causes, and today she was about to set upon her own noble mission, becoming an olah to the Jewish Homeland.
The flight attendant welcomed her on board and majestically directed her towards a waiting first class stewardess. Thus, not short of a personal team of carefully selected El Al personnel, Lady Marks handed a blanketed box to be stored in a special cabinet. “Please take care of my Ritzpy?” She pleaded to an attendant. The El Al cabin steward reassured her. “Of course, your pet dog will be perfectly safe with us!” The box, covered by a quilt blanket was gently placed in the rear of the plane.
The flight took off. After three hours flying over the Atlantic Ocean, a wave of turbulence shook the plane, felt more strongly at the rear. An alert attendant checked on Ritzpy. She slowly removed the quilt and looked into the box, the dog appeared to be fast asleep. On board that same flight was a vet who regularly traveled on this route and was familiar with the crew. He peered at the dog and lowered his hand to feel for a pulse. “As I thought, this poor creature is in doggy heaven.” The alarmed attendant wanted confirmation, and was once again assured of this tiding of bad news. The vet, an understanding gentleman was sworn to secrecy about his prognosis.
A conference was held, and the pilot was informed of this chain of events, obviously triggered by shifting cargo during that act of turbulence. A message was radioed to Tel Aviv seeking instructions. A resourceful ground staff executive plotted a course of action.
Photos were taken of every angle of the dead dog, and faxed to Tel Aviv. El Al swung into action.
A call went out to urgently find a similar breed to her dog, with close attention to features photographed on board. Three potential candidates were found, but one in particular fitted the bill. A make up artist was woken from her sleep, and spent two hours coloring in a black patch on the dog’s right leg, etching a small scar behind its right ear, and a few other touch ups. “I still need another hour!”
The pilot was informed to enter into an extended holding pattern before coming in to land. Lady Marks was escorted off the plane and informed that her pet would be swiftly passed through quarantine and reunited after customs.
An hour later she was given the quilt covered box, while anxious staff looked on. Lady Marks gave a thorough examination of her dog, before bursting into tears. “That is ‘not’ my Ritpzy!” Her cry brought immediate attention from the El Al shift manager.
“What do you mean?” He lifted the dog’s right leg. “I was informed by a special source that your dog has a black patch here!” Lady Marks sniffed and slowly nodded her head. “Yes, that’s true.” The manager’s confidence now raised by this confirmation continued. “And look here, just behind the right ear…a little scar?”
She sniffed once more and took a silk handkerchief to wipe a tear from here eye. “Yes that also true…but that’s not my Ritzpy!” The manager staring in defeat asked her again. “How on earth can it not be your dog?”
“Because my Ritzpy was dead and I was bringing her to be buried in Israel!”
Don’t let this happen to your pet, use Terminal 4 Pets!