I am a writer. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to write about and you have to look around for inspiration. And other times you are given a lovely case of mistaken identity by an idiot called Don Manning.
Email: donmanning@erik made me delete the rest of this
Subject: You’re an idiot dog owner
Message: I came upon a pet travel article Q & A by you in a 2008
VIA/AAA magazine. When asked if it’s more difficult traveling with a baby or a dog, you slammed babies for being noisier on planes. So typical of dog freaks. You slam children at every turn, while dogs come out smelling like a rose.
Well let me tell you something, dog FREAK. Children belong on planes, trains, and automobiles. Dogs do NOT. Dogs are mere pets. Useless moochers. Dead ends. Children meanwhile are the future of this nation. Citizens. Future voters, tax payers, employees/ers and investors.
Babies on a plane are MORE IMPORTANT than dogs. Got it?
And here is the article that spurred on this lovely tirade.
So, in response:
Dear Mr Manning/idiot
Thank you for your email stating your very clear, if barmy, position on the dogs vs babies on planes debate. And indeed for making this a debate.
I’m a little unclear from the subject heading as to whether you feel I own an idiot dog or I am a dog-owning idiot, though I suspect from the use of the term ‘dog FREAK’ that you intend the latter. I do indeed fall into this category, as I would imagine does anyone in your mind who owns a dog and by implication hates babies.
I would agree that Maggie Gallant is something of an idiot, though perhaps for reasons different to you. You see your Maggie Gallant is not my Maggie Gallant. Yes we all like to think of ourselves as unique and unlike you I do have quite a distinctive name. However, just as I’m sure that many other Don Manning’s would like to do, I must distance myself from the Maggie Gallant you have aimed your bizarre tirade at.
You see the dog-carrying, lavender-wafting object of your perplexing nonsense lives and works in New York, is a publicist with Rogers & Cowan and used to write and record regular ‘Pet Trends’ segments for Animal Planet. I do none of these things but I know this information because I bothered to look it up. Yes I had trouble finding an email address for her too and I would agree that this seems a bit odd for a publicist, but you should consider taking some responsibility for your laziness in just contacting someone else with the same name. Especially after all the effort you put into writing your email. Especially because you might end up sending that email to a writer with a blog.
Having said all that, I would like to respond to some points in your email.
Your spur of the moment rant seems a little odd for an article that was published in 2008. Was it perhaps lying on a table in your psychotherapist’s offices? Gosh I hope you weren’t actually on a plane and reading it with someone else’s dead-end dog at your feet. That would be too ironic for words wouldn’t it.
For the benefit of other readers, let’s go back and review the offending article. Well actually it was just a question that the interviewer posed to Maggie Gallant.
Q What’s more difficult, traveling with a dog or a baby?
A Well, Dixie is a lot quieter than most babies on a plane. So I’m giving the dog the Better Traveler Award.
I don’t know why the baby comparison was made as Maggie Gallant makes no mention of babies. Just AAA magazine trying to stir things up as only an association’s member magazine can. Of course, your bluster aside, her answer is entirely correct and it would have been the same answer regardless of pet. Except snakes. Babies are a nightmare on a plane. Most parents with babies do not like babies on planes. I do not need to take a dog and a decibel monitor on a plane to know this. I’d sooner have a tortoise sitting next to me than a baby and I think we can all agree that there’s no greater moocher or dead end than the tortoise. God should have taken Sunday off completely instead of dabbling. But have you ever heard a tortoise screaming so loud that you couldn’t hear Wolf of Wall Street through your headphones with the volume turned up to max? Maybe it does on the inside.
Clearly Maggie Gallant does have some experience of traveling with her dog, given her response to an earlier question (see below). But I’ll be honest and say that her response does raise some security concerns with me because if this information got into the wrong hands it could be disastrous. I want my ne’er do wells to look shifty and sweaty when trying to get through security, not all calm and relaxed. Trixie and Peanut sounds like a terrorist cell doesn’t it. I think the government should ban aromatherapy, don’t you?
Q What are some recent trends?
A Aromatherapy. If Dixie gets nervous at security, I give her a spray of lavender, a natural essence that relaxes both people and pets. You can find great organic sprays at trixieandpeanut.com.
Of course this does explain why you believe her/my dog would come out smelling like a rose. My dog has never smelled like a rose. You could rub her down with a valentine’s day bouquet and spray her in eau de rose made from scrunched up petals dropped by small flower girls and she would still smell like a dog. With Frito-scented paws.
I would also like to address your assertion that dogs should not only be banned from planes, but also from trains and automobiles. I appreciated the reference to the 1987 movie with Steve Martin and John Candy and suspect that you rather identify with the Steve Martin character, right up until the last 20 minutes or so when he starts to show some human kindness. I cannot comment on Amtrak’s pet policy as I have never ridden on the trains here and honestly cannot be bothered to look it up. I can see now why your lazy version of research is so enticing. But I can tell you that my dog is allowed to ride in my automobile, or as I like to call it, car and always will be. Babies however are an entirely different matter. But I’m sure you don’t have to worry about any friends inviting you to ride in their dog-filled automobile.
I do appreciate your eloquent closing line ‘Babies on a plane are MORE IMPORTANT than dogs. Got it?’. Are you in legal practice? I can see how this might work on a jury. ‘He is INNOCENT. Got it?’. To be honest Don I’m having a bit of trouble with this. You see I’m not entirely convinced that babies on planes are terribly capable. I certainly wouldn’t trust them in a plane emergency, they can’t even read the safety card let alone operate the emergency slide. Equally, I doubt that Dixie would have a lot to contribute but I’m not the one writing ‘MORE IMPORTANT’ am I. My message is that they are equally useless and I think we both wish that Maggie Gallant had used that argument.
And that jump from babies being allowed on a plane to children being our future (you’re just a mid-1980s cultural lexicon aren’t you) is a little clunky. Perhaps I am too blinded by my dog from seeing this. Not literally blinded, that would be a jerk move by her just to become a seeing eye dog and get the jacket. Oh speaking of which, are the seeing eye dogs the useless moochers and dead ends that you were referring to? Or is that the dogs that can sniff out cancer, help calm autistic children, alert seizure sufferers, sniff out cadavers, do search and rescue work, and are sent to war? How about the dogs that are at the airports sniffing luggage to detect drugs or bombs that might otherwise be taken on the planes that babies (sorry, I mean future tax payers) are traveling on. Useless mooching twat heads.
You’re right, children are the future employees of this nation. So let’s add dog handlers to the list of worthy roles they can undertake as productive members of society. Let’s also remember that any dog that you would classify as a mooch is only likely to be a mooch for 15 years or less. Sadly the human moochers and dead ends will be around a lot longer. Did you have any children by the way?
In conclusion I am sorry that your invective did not reach its intended recipient. But it also makes me glad that I am this Maggie Gallant and not that one, if yours is typical of the kind of inadequacy that she receives.
And just in case she doesn’t receive it anytime soon, allow me to tell you this:
I hate babies. They are weak, unproductive and selfish. Also, my dog is a genius.