Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013 Hollywood studio trains dogs on how to fly Sponsored Links Associated Press LOS ANGELES For $349, your dog can learn to fly. Security checks and bumpy air are all in a days training at a Hollywood film studio to prepare your dog for a safe and calm flight. The Air Hollywood class is billed as the first in a real fuselage on a sound stage with a simulator that mimics takeoff, turbulence and landing. Hollywood extras create crowds and chaos that come with terminals, luggage carts and the blare announcing arrivals, delays and departures. The idea was the brainchild of Talaat Captan, president and CEO of Air Hollywood, the worlds largest aviation-themed film studio, who noticed a dog owner having a rough go getting a pooch through airport security. The owner was stressed out and the dog was freaking out, Captan said. I figured, Why dont I train those people? He hired his friend and former actress, Megan Blake, to write a program and teach the class with three other instructors and her dog Super Smiley. An animal trainer and lifestyle coach, Blake also has a psychology degree from Georgia State University. With more dogs racking up air miles these days, it makes sense to take obedience school to a new level, said Heidi Heubner, who directs volunteers, including airport therapy dogs, at Los Angeles World Airport. There are no numbers on how many pets are taking to the skies, but they have become essential parts of a growing number of families and traveling with them for work and play is becoming more common, said Kim Cunningham, a spokesman for the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association in Texas. It will vary by airline, but theres always a fee for cabin pets those under 20 pounds that have to stay in carriers under the seat during a flight. Workings dogs or trained service animals (most airlines also allow psychiatric and emotional support animals, too) fly free, but owners must give the airline documentation and advance notice. The animals sit at their owners feet during flights. The class doesnt address cargo pets.
On the other side, powerful conservative groups are trying to persuade Americans to opt out of the law. This week, the group Generation Opportunity aired a Web video depicting Uncle Sam popping up between the legs of a young woman at the gynecologist’s office. The video drew more than 600,000 views within 36 hours. More traditionally, Americans for Prosperity , the free-market advocacy group that spent more than $33 million to try to defeat Obama in the 2012 election, has hosted telephone forums and town-hall-style meetings as part of a 35-state campaign to block the healthcare law. “We now have a funded, professional, logistically proficient infrastructure that, when one of these fights [arises] can really spring into action,” said Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips. The House vote Friday illustrated the fervor of the battle. After months of largely symbolic votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the chamber’s most conservative Republican lawmakers backed the GOP leadership into a corner, insisting that future government spending be linked to suspension of funding for the healthcare law. Without a compromise, many nonessential government agencies will shut their doors when the budget year ends Sept. 30, the eve of the law’s enrollment period. Beyond the squabbling over a government shutdown, the stakes for Obama in the success of his signature legislative achievement are immense. His push for immigration reform has stalled, he was pounded by critics for appearing indecisive on action in Syria, and his approval ratings have sunk.