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Former city councilor gets into dogfight with JetBlue

Former Boston City Councilor Mike Ross and wife Karolina Chorvath have been livetweeting over they way they saw a JetBlue attendant has hounded them and their 15-pound shayna punim of a dog on a flight to, well, they haven't said, but that's not what's important right now.

At 7:38 p.m., Ross tweeted:

Just four minutes later, JetBlue responded that:

For safety reasons, pets must remain fully inside of their carrier at all times during flight. Thank you for following crewmember instructions.

Ross was not going to just sit there and take that. He responded:

She is fully within and latched to carrier. Only her head is out a small hole to prevent her from feeling as if she is stuffed into a small sack. Why can’t your attendant be reasonable and show grace rather than cause trauma to dog?

He added:

She is fully within and latched to carrier. Only her head is out a small hole to prevent her from feeling as if she is stuffed into a small sack. Why can’t your attendant be reasonable and show grace rather than cause trauma to dog? ...

Forcing a small dog’s head into a tiny carrier for no other reason other than to cause panic in the dog and so that the
@JetBlue attendant can pull some BS power-trip. That’s the definition of “safety reasons.”

JetBlue quickly continued the white zone/red zone argument:

Naturally, the last thing we would want is for an animal to panic during flight. This is why it's important to check their fitness to fly before boarding. Customers have been hurt by pets, that's why we have guidelines that require them to be closed. #Safety

Oh, really, Vernon? Ross replied:

Our dog never flew better. In fact on the flight out she was fawned over by your awesome crew. It wasn’t until this one angry attendant forced her head into the carrier that things went bad. We are big fans of your airline. I urge you to investigate this situation.

Also:

JetBlue countered:

We trust that you're a good pet owner and your dog is undoubtedly darling, but we must also implement our pet guidelines onboard all JetBlue flights to ensure that we can continue to accept pets now and in the future. Thank you for your feedback.

Chorvath jumped in:

the dog is hooked in the carrier. she’s never been so distressed. the attendant was aggressive and insistent she be shoved inside. Regardless of rules, the attendant was unnecessarily rude. And regarding the rule, please re-evaluate your inhumane “safety regulations.”

Need I remind you that pets have recently died on flights due to compliance with airline “safety” protocols on planes? I don’t think an airline (no less a single flight attendant) has the credibility to assess what is necessary for an animal’s safety. Come on now. Do better.

Free tagging: 

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Comments

either follow the rules or don't bring the dog.

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Mike Ross against a business? Never thought I'd see the day. Of course, mainly he's just mad at a flight attendant for doing their job. That sounds like the Mike Ross that used to be my city councillor.

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I wouldn't vote for that dude for dog catcher!

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Don't get that thing wet after midnight!!!

#gizmo #gremlins

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Where he's flying. Please tell us so that I know whether or not I can browbeat him for waiving the option of driving there.

I remember his tenure in city council. His big thing was telling people where they could and couldn't live. Between that, and sticking a dog in a piece of luggage on an airplane, he appears to be very sick in the head to seek such dominion over other living things.

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I can't get over what it takes to say "the case is zipped" along with a picture showing it unzipped.

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"Only her head is out a small hole to prevent her from feeling as if she is stuffed into a small sack."

Your small dog isstuffed into a small sack (or duffle like carrier as the case may be), certainly one smaller than I would put a dog of its size in for a long period of time. Of course an appropriately sized carrier would be large enough to have to go underneath, which carries its own risks. I assume if this were a service dog or ESA we would have heard about it by now, which leads us to the question, why can't these people afford to board their dog during their vacation? Are they moving to Hawaii?

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Not a single person on a plane wants to deal with your dog, or your baby. Bite the lip and take it like a gender-neutral person.

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Bite the lip and take it like a gender-neutral person.

What in the actual hell does that mean???

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I also am puzzled by the meaning, but I like it.

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Let me get this straight: he crams his dog into a carrier that's too small and then blames someone else?

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With all due respect to our host, I think this should be filed under "Annoying Customers" rather than "Annoying Companies."

This is but the latest example of people who think their own comfort and convenience is all that matters. The same attitude that makes people think it's OK to bring their animals into restaurants and coffee shops and supermarkets. Emotional support animals are NOT the same as trained service animals, and should be treated as such. I sympathize with the proprietors, but I wish they'd enforce the laws and rules beyond posting the signs on the doors, which are so easily ignored.

Miss Chorvath especially rankles. This quote is amazingly obnoxious: "I don’t think an airline (no less a single flight attendant) has the credibility to assess what is necessary for an animal’s safety."I don’t think an airline (no less a single flight attendant) has the credibility to assess what is necessary for an animal’s safety." Right, Ms. Chorvath, YOU are the authority on airline safety.

Glad to see all the pushback on Twitter. Maybe the pendulum is finally swinging back.

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Please don't confuse the issue by bringing up emotional support animals and getting the rules wrong.

People do have a right to bring emotional support animals on planes. But not into other businesses -- there it's just service animals.

But nobody claimed this dog was an emotional support animal.

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The only thing missing is, "don't you know who I am?"

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(fixed)

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Their Zola wedding website has 9/14/19 as their wedding date, in Vermont. The bride has a few wedding photos posted on her Instagram page.

More recently (3-4 days ago) she posted a photo from a much happier flight, where she is reading in an airplane window seat with dog, in her lap and head fully out of the bag, gazing contentedly at the unseen passenger in the next seat.

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Everyone who wants their dog to be an exception to the rules insists that their dog is friendly, well-trained, etc. (And all their children are above average.)

If any part of a dog is outside its carrier, the dog is not "fully inside." The head is part of the dog. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

Sounds like a classic case of "you let me break the rules last time, therefore I should be able to ignore them forever."

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says hello.

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"do you know who I am? And who this dog is?"

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Don’t worry Mike we are on it! We will have the FBI and FAA on top of this and will have that evil attendant fired and sued for damages to both you and your beloved pup. This is unacceptable and you and that fluff ball deserve better!

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There’s no place like home - man do I not miss our home town comment sections!

So the carrier is standard issue size. Any larger wouldn’t comply. The dog is 14 lbs - 20 is the limit - so she fits nicely. In the photo she is trying to poke her head out. We thought about driving but we were going to Michigan for Christmas and it was too far. We could have boarded her but we love our dog and we are glad she could come with us. We also love JetBlue. On the flight out, they were great. There’s no rule that says a dog’s head can’t poke out. This one attendant was hell-bent to enforce the non-existent head-in rule.

And for the record it’s do you know who I used to be, not who I am.

Happy Holidays everyone. Dog is happy at home for those who care!

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I appreciate the light hearted response.

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.... put your hand inside the carrier to keep him feeling calm. That’s what I do with cats and small dogs. I make sure they are harnessed and tethered to the inside of the carrier.
If there had been turbulence or you fell asleep, your pet could have gotten out and been harmed.
This was not worth arguing with an an attendant about who knows more about air travel safety than you do. Sounds like it was more about you getting your pet love fix than what the pup needed.

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https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=11&cad=rja...

The pet must remain inside its closed/zipped up carrier while at the airport and in the aircraft for the entire flight (TSA may require customers to remove their pet from its carrier to be carried through the TSA checkpoint).

I am sure it is frustrating but is there.

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For being a wuss about comment sections, but you get some points for the "Do you know who I used to be" joke. (subtle head bob)

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That's irrelevant to the conversation.

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Actually, there is a rule that says the dog's head can't poke out. The dog must be fully enclosed in the carrier. I love my dog, as well; which is why I don't force him to fly. Unfortunately, as nice as your dog may be, it may feel cornered and bite somebody out of fear. An airline doesn't know your dog and can't just take your word for it. Next time, try another airline if you are so dissatisfied.

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"The pet must remain inside its closed/zipped up carrier while at the airport and in the aircraft for the entire flight (TSA may require customers to remove their pet from its carrier to be carried through the TSA checkpoint)."

Look, I understand wanting to give the pup a tiny bit of freedom while traveling, but the flight attendant was not in the wrong here.

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Mike If the rule says the dog must be in a carrier wouldn't that imply all of the dog?

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So, full disclosure, I have a emotional support dog. She is an 11 pound mixed breed rescue. I specifically looked for a small dog that would be comfortable under the seat (and living in an apartment). The rules are different for ESA. They can be out of their carriers. In fact, they don't even have to fit under the seat. They have increased the documentation requirements, but in some ways they have made it easier. Instead of a prescription letter, there is just a form that requires the medical professional to sign and provide their license type, state, number and expiration date. They have added a vet form that shows immunizations (needed for all animals pet, service or ESA), and a customer responsibility form. You have to upload these documents 48 hours ahead of your flight. One weird thing about Jet Blue is that there is no feedback about your documents. They don't acknowledge receiving them. After you upload there is a page that says they contact will you if there is a problem (they don't). When you check in and print your boarding pass their will be a "ESAN" in the same place where your check bag code. That is the only way you can tell if it is all set. That learning curve is no fun.

The flight attendants union is very against ESA, and animals on planes in general. There are a lot of crazy news stories about ESA, and some of them seem suspicious. The airlines have a list of the the "online therapists" and they won't accept documentation from them.

Jet Blue charges $125 per segment to transport a pet under the seat in front of you. (segment = change planes another $125). And the dog or cat must be fully enclosed. They only allow 3 pets per flight. And you can get bumped off a crowded flight. The cost varies by airline. It can be as much as $200. It is hard to see what the fee is actually for. It would make more sense for the passenger to get a rider from a travel insurance company.

There are so many more airline rules than people realize. I had a friend taking her toddler on a trip as a lap child. The row was empty so she put her daughter on the middle seat at some point. The flight attendant marched up. "that is a lap child and she needs to be on your lap".

My dog is very quiet. I can't leave the carrier partially open because she can silently push the zipper open large enough to slip out and explore. She has never done this without me knowing but I have learned to secure it closed or take her all the way out. In the past 10 years she has barked twice during travel. By travel I mean from door to door. So I have been very fortunate in my beloved friend, she makes travel easy.

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Are any government regulations regarding an emotional support dog, are there?

Are airlines required to allow you to travel with an emotional support dog?

What about restaurants?

Can you provide more information?

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There are no Federal Laws regarding emotional support animals (ESAs) specifically. ESAs instead fall under the category of assistance animal, whose use is protected by the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), the Fair Housing Act (FHA), and further by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

In short:

Are airlines required to allow you to travel with an emotional support dog?

Yes. (See ACAA above).

Do restaurants have to let you in if you have an emotional support dog?

No.

The only protected places for support animals of any kind are: airlines (and trains), housing, and the workplace (via the ADA). Federal Law does not require private businesses to accommodate patrons.

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Why trains? Everything I heard only mentions planes and housing. Trains would be a strange thing to regulate under the Air Carrier Access Act.

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Amtrak hasn’t allowed ESA and public transit varies by authority.

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Thank you, iamblued.

That is one of the better factual summaries I have seen on the topic. (I've been inundated with ESA sponsor links on social media recently)

ESA and service animal travel can be frustrating, with the people out there who are willing to lie & abuse both categories and regulations that for some good reasons don't have national registries. Their main result is causing difficulty for people with legitimate service animal or support animal needs.

My wife (a guide dog user) and I were on a trans-Atlantic flight once. Another passenger had an ESA dog. I'm not sure of the breed - something between Nana and Cujo. We were chatting with that dog's owner while waiting for inspection at our destination and asked how the dog had done with the flight. She answered cheerily that there had been no problems - puppy slept through because she gave him allergy meds as a sedative!
Un-effing-believable.
She claimed the need to have the behemoth along, then sedated him! If the animal needs to be sedated so it can travel best, you're just bringing along another problem (and being cruel to the animal). ...and being unconscious, it isn't as if he could have given her any interaction for emotional support! I'm sure it was comforting for her, having her dog sleep on her feet for six hours but she could have gotten the same benefit from a weighted blanket and a hot water bottle!

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So the purpose of the emotional support animal is not necessarily to support the person during the flight. This is a common misconception. The prescribing professional has authorized the ESA for the person's mental health overall. There is a great deal of scholarly research on the positive effect of pets on mental illness. It seems to be natural to view ESA with suspicion but from a treatment point of view it makes sense. No side effects, etc.

As to sedation for pets, it is commonly recommended. I don't do it because my dog is very small. But I should say that my vet has repeatedly prescribed benedryl (half tab 12.5 mg) for side effects and hay fever. Benedryl doesn't sedate exactly, sure it usually makes you sleepy. Pediatricians and Dr.s prescribe it often because it is perceived as safe.

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Very helpful comment from a perspective you often don’t hear! It is unfortunate that people who need support animals carry such negative connotations due to a very small (and obnoxious) group who take advantage of the system for convenience. It’s my experience that many people like yourself are afraid to talk about their experiences because of all the negativity.

I did have some follow ups...

It can be as much as $200. It is hard to see what the fee is actually for. It would make more sense for the passenger to get a rider from a travel insurance company.

You hit the nail on the head, it’s insurance to protect the company in case of a bite/animal injury. It’s also a nuisance fee to discourage people from bringing pets to control their liability in the first place.

The flight attendant marched up. "that is a lap child and she needs to be on your lap".

The FAA regulations are extraordinarily (even for FAA regs!) strict about children under a certain weight needing to be held while a plane is in operation. These decisions, made over 30 years ago, were based purely on the truly horrible things that happened to smaller bodies in event of turbulence or even a crash. The American Pediatric Association, is leading the charge to have these rules changed as requiring an infant or child to be held introduces a host of other dangers - especially with infants! There are many reported injuries from children receiving burns from hot food/beverages, bags being pulled down from overhead bins, and most horribly—being smothered by a sleeping parent. In the future, we may see children getting all the window seats!

Finally, many assume that Stewards work in the hospitality industry: they don’t. They receive a modicum of training regarding customer service and company culture. Nearly all training, equaling hundreds of hours, covers safety regulations, crisis management, and emergency response. They are there to ensure the safety of all on board.

That however does not excuse Stewards that forget that travel is stressful and a little empathy goes a long way. Assuring safety requires having rapport with passengers should something go wrong.

Safe travels!

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I assume they're working to change the requirement to having safety-approved car seats or bassinets?

dang, I'm old enough to remember when the airlines would issue folding cardboard bassinets to families flying with infants... smh...

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It can be as much as $200. It is hard to see what the fee is actually for.

I don’t understand the comment. What the fee is for, is selling to the customer a service that the customer wants to buy, in return for which the airline gets paid.

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How does the airline earn this money? The customer pays for their flight and then pays enough for another seat on that flight to put a dog or cat in a sealed bag on the floor in front of them? Why not just require that you purchase the pet it’s own seat?

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I dunno, how does a movie theater earn its money by letting you into a show?

The airline earns its money bu allowing you to
bring your pet on board their airplane, which they would not allow if you did not pay the fee

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Most of the money from ticket sales goes back to the movie studio. A film booker leases a movie to a particular theater for a set period of weeks. The percentage of ticket sales that the studio takes decreases on each week that a movie is in the theater. If the screening was arranged by an independent middleman, he also takes a slice. So the movie has to pull in sizeable audiences for several weeks in order for theater owners to make any serious profits.

https://money.cnn.com/2002/03/08/smbusiness/q_movies/

This doesn't address why this fee would be more than buying an extra seat on JetBlue.

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Let’s say that for $50 you can come over to my house, I will serve you a beer and show you a movie. My house rule is no hats to be worn indoors. For an additional $10 I will waive the rule and allow you to wear a hat. The question of what I am doing to earn the extra $10 doesn’t really make any sense, does it?

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>implying additional fees and charges have anything to do with actual value added, as opposed to taking advantage of customers who will simply pay it to make things happen

welcome to late-stage capitalism, bay-bey!

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It is more like for $50 dollars, you get a movie and a beer. You will add on taxes and fees which are detailed and explained in my receipt. I understand these costs because copyrighted movies must be leased and beer sales are taxed, and places of entertainment are subject to licenses etc. Then for an additional $60 dollars you will allow me to wear a hat.

If the price for bringing a pet was equal to 20% of the ticket price, it would seem equitable. But $125, is sometimes more than I pay for a ticket on JetBlue.

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I understand these costs because copyrighted movies must be leased and beer sales are taxed, and places of entertainment are subject to licenses etc.

Why would you expect prices to be based in any way on costs? That's just not how any of this works.

$125 for a pet fee has nothing to do with any costs. It's the price that the airline set for its pet fee in the belief that this price optimizes the airline's long-term financial performance.

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Think about Perrier or San Pellegrino. It costs about the same to produce as any other carbonated water to produce but sells at a substantial premium. Why? Because people pay it.

Perrier is actually an interesting story - when they first launched at a price comparable to other sales they couldn't sell it. When they doubled the price, it sold like hotcakes and has ever since, even though it's the same stuff that sells for 79 cents per 2 liter bottle.

The exception in theory at least is a commodity (wheat, corn, gold, copper etc.) where in theory it's all the same. Granted, so is carbonated water - but the retail trade is far more manipulated by branding than the professional trade.

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I'm by no means a marketing expert, but the basic theory is to set prices at the level that maximizes your long term return. Setting a price too low leaves money on the table. Setting a price too high might improve your short term return but creates opportunities for competitors to gain a foothold in your market by offering lower prices. Setting a price way too high, or having prices bizarrely uncorrelated with customer perceived value just pisses off customers and erodes their loyalty to you. Presumably some version of this analysis led to the airline choosing $125 per segment as the pet fee.

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However, this is a case where the airlines have colluded to fix the price.

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Airlines are periodically (and plausibly, IMO) accused of colluding to fix ticket prices. I haven't heard any evidence that they've colluded on pet fees.

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What do you do for a living? Where does that organization's money come from?

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Are you threatening to dox me again? It probably wouldn't be that hard but I am not sure it would be that interesting. Or is it a tactic admission that you don't have an intelligent argument?

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since I have no idea what that means. Do you have a job? Or do you rely on the kindness of strangers for your livelihood and then rant online about how they owe it to you for free (and then some) so that you can live in the manner you've grown accustomed to?

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You did not used to be so aggressively nasty. Maybe for the new year you should dial things back a bit.

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But it gets a bit tiresome making factual comments (many often based on publicly available census and budget numbers) and in return getting called an anti-Semite, racist, unsympathetic jerk. And so the comments evolve into more snark.

There's an old golf yarn about I'd rather hit a fade (right turning shot) instead of a draw (left turning shot) because as the saying goes "You can talk to a fade". I can talk to liberals (and many in my family consider me a liberal). If you look closely, it's likely in response to the progressives that I turn up the volume.

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What factual comments have you made today? just curious.

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It's hard to dispute basic logic and math.

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where have you used logic or math? did you mean to type myth?

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See - here's my point. uggghhhh....

You can't talk to a progressive.

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All you do is make inflammatory unsubstantiated comments for attention. you resort to insults whenever anyone calls on it.

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... "getting the last word" on the Internet (and elsewhere) long ago.

And, sorry to say, I am a "progressive" rather than a "liberal" (whatever those terms may mean, if anything).

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Problem solved.

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Another way to calm anxious dogs is with a little weed. Maybe Mr. Ross can help the dog get some.

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