You wouldn’t expect to see a dog across the aisle on an ordinary flight. But there’s nothing ordinary about the dozens of flights carrying Fort McMurray residents to safety.
WestJet and Canadian North are among the airlines lifting evacuees out of two airports normally used by oil companies: Firebag, owned by Suncor, and Albian, owned by Shell. "There’s been nothing really usual about what’s taking place," Lauren Stewart, a WestJet spokesperson, told BuzzFeed Canada.
"People have just shown up there with whatever they could grab, pets included."
Normally dogs are put in kennels and ride in cargo, but "a lot of people just left with their dog in a car and they don’t have a cage for it," said Stewart.
Canadian North, based in Calgary, has also been making sure that evacuees, including their furry friends, make it to safety.
And some not-so-furry friends, too.
For grateful pet owners, it meant getting to keep their best pals nearby through what has already been a harrowing ordeal.
Lauren Strapagiel is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada.