Thursday, December 2, 2010

In the Doghouse with Savoir Faire

Traveling across the Atlantic on the French Line with your pet (Think, Dali and pet ocelot here) didn’t mean that your pet didn’t forsake any of the luxury that you as passenger were provided with.

The Normandie had a traditional ship like silhouette of the 1930’s with three squat funnels resembling medieval castle ramparts. The public demanded this as they deemed a ship with more funnels the largest, fastest and also the safest. The funnels on the Normandie subscribed to this and gave the ship its magnificent lines. The difference with the Normandie was that of these three funnels only two were functioning. The third was a dummy and added purely for aesthetic reasons.

The question then being what do we do with a third funnel that isn’t functioning? Answer being it was the perfect place to house the kennels for the pets that the wealthy clientele of the Normandie were so used to travelling with. Inside this dummy funnel were recreation areas and kennels for said pampered pooches.

To quote the current press of the day ‘the dogs live comfortably behind stainless steel bars that surround their oval room at the centre of which is a drinking fountain. The kennels are ventilated and steam heated, fresh beds of straw provided daily, and the dogs are always allowed exercise daily on the top decks.’ Out on deck a fire hydrant was provided for American dogs and a lamppost for French dogs for the call of nature. There were even life preservers in a variety of sizes in the case of an emergency. A special menu was also printed in French offering a choice of bones, soups, biscuits and vegetables. In case our canine tourist was indisposed, a veterinarian onboard helps him back on his sea legs.

I think these pampered pooches travelling First Class in the 1930’s were probably a bit more comfortable than the mass of immigrants that were travelling steerage at the beginning of the century.

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