Trudging along in the Philadelphia International Airport, I came across this extraordinary example of the material culture of modern pet keeping. I noticed a small dog and his owner, who was also toting a nylon carrier, and they drew my eye to this comfort station. Most of the two million animals transported by the airlines must travel in the hold (a situation that has led to a number of tragedies and a lot of bad publicity for the airlines that, in the past, have operated been in violation of the Animal Welfare Act. However, small animals and service animals now must be accommodated in the passenger compartment. With security regulations preventing canine passengers accessing the exterior of terminals as impromptu dog potties, airports are now apparently creating these public restrooms for dogs.
One of the design elements that is so interesting about this is the survival of the fire hydrant as a vertical surface for the use of male dogs. This one is made out of cast plastic, but it is full size and the regulation red. This has been a standing joke in humor about city dogs for at least 100 years.
If you would like to share images of other airport canine comfort stations, let me know; I’ll be happy to post them. And if you have had experience with getting your dog to use one of these, I’ll share the stories, too. Kudos to PHL for taking care of our canine companions. Now I’m waiting for a public litter box for our flying feline friends.