The Yippy Dog Incident


Our flight to Florida was a full one. The kids sat next to each other in a 3-seater row. I sat in the same row just across the aisle. In the row directly in front of the kids, a tiny dog started to yip in the final hour of our flight. Wil is very sensitive to noise, especially high pitches, and this dog’s yips put him in a tailspin.
“Mom, Wil is crying!” Elizabeth said.
I asked Elizabeth to take Wil’s noise protector headphones out of his bag and put them on him. She was able to find them quickly and put them on, but he was already in such an agitated state that his headphones did not calm him down. I reached across Katherine to lift him from his seat and pull him on my lap across the aisle further away from the dog. He was unwilling to move (it was no easy task reaching across Katherine to pull up an unwilling 80 pound child from his seat). After some shuffling, I was able to lift Wil from his seat and pull him onto my lap across the aisle.
Almost immediately upon getting Wil onto my lap and soothing him, the flight attendant was standing by my seat, blocking Wil’s view from the still yipping dog. She handed Wil a packet of pretzels, then discreetly showed me the snack-size Milky Way bar she was holding in non-verbal fashion of asking my permission. I nodded yes.
“Here Wil,” she said. “This is what you do. Take a bite of pretzel, then a bite of chocolate. It’s the best.” Wil was immediately intrigued by this and calmed down. The flight attendant continued to stand there, blocking Wil’s view of the dog that just would not shut up already!
I asked the flight attendant’s name and she said it was Marcelle. I thanked her for her kindness. She stayed and chatted with Wil. Asking how old he was, what he liked to do, and so on. Finally, even though that high-strung dog never stopped, Wil was now calmly talking with Marcelle (his headphones still on).
Our plane’s descent was soon to come, and I knew Wil would need to return to his seat. Thanks to Marcelle’s kindness, and 2 extra Milky Ways (“for later” she said with a wink), Wil returned to his seat without fear.
The dog owners never apologized. Maybe they were embarrassed or maybe they figured it was not their problem. I don’t know and never will. Yet without their silly, little dog the kids and I would never have known Marcelle. Before she was a friendly flight attendant. Her smiles earlier in the flight, as welcoming as they were, would have no reason to stay in our minds. The dog incident is what prompted me to ask Marcelle’s name so I could thank her personally for her forthcoming kindness.
We will all remember Wil’s upset on that flight. Thankfully Marcelle attached herself to this memory turning it into a very good one, indeed.



Published by Christie Taylor

Christie Taylor is the creator of the website,, and author of "Stories of Wil: Puberty Part 1" ( Christie believes that if we all had the opportunity to spend a day with our loved ones with Down syndrome, many of the stereotypes and stigmas would dissipate. Christie invites you, through her stories, to spend a day with Wil. The more the merrier!

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