When supermodel, AIDS Activist and Operation Smile Ambassador Maggie Rizer brought home a Golden Retriever puppy named Bea in 2010 her love for her new dog inspired a blog called Bea Makes Three. According to the high fashion model, who has worked for designers such as Louis Vuitton, a flight to San Francisco turned tragic when Bea died in flight. Rizer’s beloved dog had a healthy vet record and was still a puppy. What was even more sad for the beautiful model was the insensitive handling of Bea’s sudden death by United Airlines staff when they informed her that the dog had died. Rizer posted about the devastating event on September 20, 2012 and announced it was the end of her Bea Makes Three blog. Golden Retrievers have been a “heart breed” for Rizer and what is even more heartbreaking for her is how avoidable Bea’s death was. Rizer and her husband made every effort to transport their dogs home to California safety yet despite their actions the unthinkable happened.
Rizer reported that she was very emotional when she learned about Bea’s death, especially given how inexplicable it was. Rizer wrote:
Beatrice had a perfect health record. She received a full examination and a health certificate four days before the flight, as is required by the Pet Safe program. This program is United’s branded on-board pet safety program. In addition to Pet Safe’s stringent requirements, we took every extra precaution we could think of. Both the dog’s kennels were labeled front to back with emergency numbers, flight information and warnings. Their kennels were purchased specifically for the measurements and design specified by Pet Safe. We purchased special water bowls which we filled with ice to ensure that the water wouldn’t spill and that it would last longer. We drove the six hours to New York City from our house in Northern New York State, so the dogs wouldn’t have to make a connecting flight. We paid United Airlines $1800.00, in addition to our plane tickets, to ensure the safety of our pets.
Based on Rizer’s account of events, the United Airlines staff appear to have told her an inconsistent story about what happened exactly to Bea. Rizer openly posts that United Airlines killed her dog and employees tried to cover up the incident. The veterinarian who performed the narcolepsy concluded that Bea died of heatstroke.According to Rizer, United Airlines has not been forthcoming with further details about the conditions and series of events that led to Bea’s death. Rizer and her husband wants answers as to why Bea died while being handled by United Airlines while other dogs in transit did not on that flight. Sadly, this is not the first time that a pet has died or been lost by an airline. Despite transporting her two dogs in Pet-Safe designed kennels only one made it home that day. After Bea’s death, Rizer decided to adopt a mixed rescue dog, and still misses Bea greatly.
Photo Credit: Maggie Rizer/Bea Makes Three