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I have proof that traveling with babies is not the toughest challenge a mom could face. Flying with dachshunds beats it by a mile.

Take the experience of our 22-year-old daughter Anna and her constant companion, Juliette, the long-haired dachshund. The two have flown thousands of miles together, but the experience reached a new low on their trip from Madrid to Casper for Christmas.

Juliette is the dog that had to have a “certificate of defecation” last year for the German Lufthansa flight she took. After our vet quit laughing, he obligingly wrote that she had the ability to control herself for many hours at a time. After all, she has endured long days at home alone with never an accident.

She proved him so very wrong last week.

Anna detected some signs of stomach upset when the little dog had her last potty stop before boarding in Spain. But once on board the impeccable Lufthansa airplane and tucked securely under the seat in front of Anna, some odd noises began coming from Juliette, who was somewhat frantically turning around in circles in her travel crate. You know what that means. Then Anna noticed a slight smell and furtively glanced at the person in the seat next to her, who was, thankfully, sound asleep. Could Juliette for the very first time not be the model passenger?

Pinned in at the window seat, unable to get out as the plane readied for takeoff, Anna was worried. As the plane started to take off and tilted upward, liquid in the dog crate began to slowly leak out. Anna reached down and caught the effluent in her hands to keep it off the plane floor. Webster’s dictionary defines effluent as liquid waste, in case you were wondering.

After the takeoff that lasted an eternity, Anna gathered up her purse, the dog and dog crate and climbed over to the aisle, trying not to notice people sniffing and looking judgmentally at her as she struggled to the back of the plane. “Oh, here, have a sanitary wipe,” said the steward. One sanitary wipe.

Upon closer inspection, the steward handed over many more wipes until dog and passenger just took over the airplane bathroom. Imagine trying to clean up your own hands and a squirming dachshund in the tiny sink. Apparently the vain and beautiful Juliette even had effluent on her long ear hair.

The only saving grace in this story was that it was a German airline and dachshunds are generally beloved in Germany. The stewards thought that even with something questionable on her ear, Juliette was cute. Smelly, but cute. This was at the beginning of a series of flights that would take 18 hours.

The dog and daughter that we met at the end of the odyssey looked a little bedraggled, to say the least. According to Anna, there could be no better birth control warning against traveling with a baby than taking a test run with a dog suffering from stomach issues. I guess we won’t be grandparents any time soon.

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