On a JetBlue flight from Florida to Massachusetts, Michelle Burt observed her three-year-old French bulldog, Darcy, seemed to be in distress. She then saw that her tongue had turned blue. It turns out the dog was experiencing hypoxia, a condition resulting from a lack of oxygen to the body.
French bulldogs are often susceptible to breathing problems because of their short snouts. Darcy could have suffocated had JetBlue flight attendants Renaud Fenster and Diane Asher not intervened. Fenster, a French bulldog owner herself, spotted the symptom and placed an oxygen mask on the dog.
After a few minutes of breathing oxygen, Darcy felt better. “I placed the mask over her face, and within a few minutes she became alert and after a short time she didn’t want the mask," Burt said. "I believe [crew members] Renaud and Diane saved a life, some may reduce the value of the life because Darcy is a canine, I do not."
Her owner was so thankful that she shared this message on Facebook:
“I wanted to say thank you Jetblue and thank you to Renaud and Diane for doing their job and also being great humans. We all are affected by cabin pressure and oxygen fluctuations, human, canine and feline, but the fact that the flight attendants were responsive and attentive to the situation may have saved Darcy’s life.”
Fenster, spoke to Good Morning America last Monday, saying this was the first time he’s encountered this situation in his fifteen years of working as a flight attendant.
"I was passing through the cabin to check up on a passenger, and I noticed [another] passenger, who had the dog out of her crate and the dog had an indication that it wasn't looking too well. ... And I believe the dog passed out," Fenster told GMA. "The dog started panting very rapidly and uncontrollably, and so as a French bulldog owner myself, I knew the dog was overheating and needed some ice. I brought the dog some ice, and that didn't do anything.
"I decided that we needed to consider using oxygen to support the animal. So I called the captain, and I told him, 'I think I need to use some oxygen,' and he said, 'Go ahead.' And right then and there, placed the oxygen on the dog and the dog revived like nothing else," he added.
This uplifting story follows a dark year for the airline industry when it comes to pets. In March, a French bulldog died aboard a United Airlines flight after a flight attendant ordered a passenger to place the dog in the overhead bin, which resulted in the canine suffocating. A total of 24 animals died on flights last year, 18 of those deaths were aboard United Airlines flights.