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Reader’s report: Ralph in Paris (including ID tag approach)

Remember the photo I posted, one Friday, of Ralph the Bichon/Cavalier dressed for his upcoming trip to Paris? Reader Anne sent pictures from their visit, along with details about her solution for keeping Ralph’s ID current while they were out of the country.

The first news I got from Anne was that they had used the pet relief area at JFK’s Terminal 4, and that when they boarded their plane (a Delta Airbus 330-200, which has a 2-4-2 seat configuration), she found that her window seat, with Ralph underneath, was next to “a nice man…with a cat.”

Apparently all went well with that, and with the fit of Ralph’s carrier, too, since I didn’t hear anything more about the flight. Anne’s plan had been to buy the “official” Delta Sherpa carrier (please note that Ralph is a 13 lb. Bichon/Cavalier mix).

Here’s their first photo from Paris, of Ralph at a café, “hoping for crumbs”:



And here’s another picture showing, dagnabbit, that too many of Paris’s small parks are not dog-friendly:

"Ralph doesn't understand why he can't go in"

“Ralph doesn’t understand why he can’t go in,” Anne wrote (the text on the sign means “even on a leash”)

Travel dog ID tag solution

One of the tags you see on Ralph’s collar is new. It says “Ralph de NYC” and includes a dedicated e-mail address. When you send that address a message, you get a reply with the title “My name is Ralph and I’m probably lost/Je m’appelle Ralph et je suis probablement perdu.” Here’s what the message says:

“Hello. I am Ralph, a 5-kilo Bichon/Cavalier dog. My owner is Anne [last name]. We are visiting Paris. It is my first time here and I don’t speak French. Anne speaks only a little. Anne is worried about me. Please call her ASAP at [cell phone number]. We are staying at [Paris address, including local phone number]. There is a big reward for my safe return.

Bonjour. Je suis Ralph, un 5-kilo Bichon/Cavalier chien. Mon propriétaire est Anne [last name]. Nous visitons Paris. C’est ma première fois ici et je ne parle pas français. Anne parle seulement un peu. Elle est inquiet pour moi. S’il vous plaît l’appeler dès que possible au [cell phone number]. Nous restons au [Paris address, including local phone number]. Il y a une grande recompense pour mon retour en toute sécurité.

Many thanks/Merci bien.

–Ralph the Dog”

I love how the text is in both English and French, and how it’s written very simply — reminding a finder not only that Ralph is a helpless pup but also that French is not Anne’s first language. And getting a dedicated e-mail address is a simpler business, too, than getting a URL for a dedicated web-site. Another reader, Sarah, sent a detailed report about how to do this kind of thing (perhaps Anne saw it and was inspired? I forgot to ask her).

So was bringing Ralph to Paris a good idea? Anne said it all with her last note to me, which concluded, “Been fascinating being here with Ralph. It’s as if he’s a special stamp in my passport.”

Thank you so much, Anne, for the photos and the details about Ralph’s ID tag! It’s messages like yours — even more than my own posts, I believe — that convince other people to give this dog travel thing a try.


  • Laura

    I believe the reason Lufthansa did not fuss over Ralph’s carrier not being tucked under the seat in front of Anne is that LH’s pet policy clearly states ‘During take-off and landing or if the aircraft is affected by turbulence, the container must either be stowed under the seat in front of you or secured with a lead to your seatbelt.’ What a relief to know that when we take our 13 pound bichon poodle mix on her first flight with us in cabin on Lufthansa’s A380 from San Francisco to Frankfurt this Sunday we don’t have to worry about her large Sturdibag not fitting under the seat because of life vests or AV equipment! So long as her bag is attached by a lead to our seat belt, according to Lufthansa’s written policy (which we will have a printed copy of at the ready!) we should be fine.

  • Fascinating, Laura! I’ve never noticed that provision before — I think it may be unique! Thank you so much for bringing it to our attention. Good idea to print that page and have it with you. Safe travels, and have fun!!

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