Puppies Born at Gate 80 of Tampa Airport Just Before Boarding American Airlines Flight

A yellow lab named Eleanor Rigby (like the Beatles song) gave birth at Tampa airport’s gate 80 just prior to boarding a flight to Philadelphia. She had eight puppies. The airport’s fire and rescue team was called to the scene to assist with the delivery.

Tampa Fire Rescue tweeted out the birth in real time, here they declare “It’s a girl!” The dog had a litter of 7 boys and this one girl.

The mama lab goes by ‘Ellie’ and wasn’t the only dog being brought onboard. Nugget, the father of the puppies, was flying that day too. Here’s Nugget:

Here’s video of the litter of 8 puppies.

This is absolutely adorable. But even people can expect to take some time off in the days leading up to giving birth, and certainly shouldn’t be flying. This dog almost gave birth on the plane. And why isn’t this service animal fixed..?

(HT: Airways)

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Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. “And why isn’t this service animal fixed..?”
    Because it is just someone’s pet masquerading as a “service animal” – no matter what anyone says.

  2. Glad the human didn’t require any services from the dog while it was giving birth! **rolls eyes**

  3. @ Ed C,
    If it is a service dog, that is different from an emotional support dog. Service animals are specifically trained to address and respond to medical or psychiatric emergencies on the part of their owner. I have heard people in the airport with their pets talk to other individuals about how they scam the system by desk beginning the dog as an emotional support animal. I agree with you that is a severe problem. But if it is a “service dog” there is a great deal of training and documentation that comes with that title. The worst part about people abusing the use of emotional support animals is that creates confusion among the public, and flight crew, about the role of a true service dog.

  4. @Chris I’m not the one who first referred to the dog as a “service animal”, so perhaps you should be addressing him???
    And I’m quite sure everyone knows the difference between a true service animal and someone’s pet masquerading as an ESA.

  5. Congratulations to Eleanor Rigby & Nugget on the birth of their adorable puppies! I am sure the puppies will be future service dogs just like their proud parents. I hope AA upgraded all of them to FC so the puppies could be comfortable on their flight to Philly.

  6. At first glance the animals are plausibly service animals. Both seemed well behaved (yah I get the mom is probably spent) but Nugget was chilling. Also, Lab/Retrievers are the most common service animal. Now why someone would make a moronic comment that the animal should have been fixed because she is a service animal is just dumb. Why? Genetics. Not every animal can be a service animal and the failure rate is over 90% so just like a winning race horse you want to help Mother Nature a bit. Now the timing of a flight while the animal was such late stage knocked up is questionable but I’m sure there was a good reason and if the animal doesn’t fly much the stress could have jumpstarted labor.

  7. So, were they charged for 7 additional pets on the flight, or did AA comp them as a gesture of good will?

    That’d be some great marketing: United kills dogs, while American welcomes newborn pups birthed in their gate area to fly free.

  8. It isn’t fixed because it’s an accommodation dog. AKA I got a doctor’s note so I don’t have to pay to bring my pet on the plane…or so I can keep a dog in my apartment building where the rules prohibit that.

  9. Dogs (bitches) give birth to puppies not babies nor boys nor girls! Babies are human progeny

  10. “And why isn’t this service animal fixed..?”

    My question is why, if this is a real service animal is she being used as such when she is about to squirt out some puppies? If I had a true need for a service animal, I would not want to rely upon one who is about to have other priorities.

  11. It seems like eveyone here needs a service animal for being slow. How do you think new service animals come into this world……? They are bred from known lineages in order to control for any number of variables from temperament and personality type to oderant detection. In order to do this a select number of service dogs are put through the rigors of the training program and then selected as a breeder dog because they show desirable traits. I know first hand that this is the case with any reputable service dog organization. I can’t speak to any run of the mill organization or emotional support dogs.

  12. Jesus Christ, all these comments are talking about is wether it’s a service dog or emotial support animal. I thought your comment was sarcastic Gary, yet here people are having discussions about a dog when it just had puppies. Can no one enjoy a beautiful moment anymore.

    Are we really at a f*ckin place where no one can just say:

    “Awh these dogs are adorable.”… and move on.

    Y’all are pitiful. Some things don’t need to be a discussion especially when no one on here has the power to do anything about it. God y’all are sad. You guys probably go on other websites and debate about avacados or some bull sh*t lol.

  13. Unfortunately, we are at the point where we are beyond just enjoying the moment and that’s too bad. While it’s very possible that Eleanor Rigby and Nugget are truly service animals or even necessary emotional support animals, any traveler has seen the growing and increasingly brazen abuses of the system with pets masquerading as service or emotional support animals. It’s now the boy-who-cried-wolf; all animals on planes are now eyed with suspicion. That’s sad.

  14. “While it’s very possible that Eleanor Rigby and Nugget are truly service animals or even necessary emotional support animals, any traveler has seen the growing and increasingly brazen abuses of the system with pets masquerading as service or emotional support animals.”

    Amen. And I frankly don’t want to be on a plane with nine dogs.

  15. Even if it was a service animal, let alone an “Emotional Support Animal”, then why did the “patient” require the dog’s romantic partner in the cabin too?

    More to the point, how did they justify transporting the eight puppy mutts?

    Had the puppies each got an Emotional Support Animal Certificate? Had they been trained in the womb?

  16. Emotional Support Animals require no such certificate, nor do they require any training. They are simply “accommodation” pets for people who get a doctors note that they suffer from anxiety disorder or any other number of ailments. Thus the reason people can have emotional support pigs, roosters or sloths.

  17. Regarding the “Service Dog puppies born at Tampa Airport” article, according to my Vet a letter is to accompany a request for flying a pregnant dog and would never be given within several weeks of being this close to whelping. Are these dogs honestly in training or are they wearing the “fake” service dog vests that are purchased on-line with no testing required by pet owners whose intent is to take their untrained pets to restaurants, hotels, airplanes, etc. Have you investigated whether this is a fraud case and if the owner should be charged with animal cruelty, sent a bill from the fire dept. and the maintenance dept for bloody clean-up, put on a no-fly list, etc. This is not a wonderful story, it is a disgrace, and makes everyone suspicious of the honest people with legitimately trained service dogs. How about an investigation and follow-up to this horrible story?

  18. I can’t believe the animal authorities are not looking into this. A special service dog would be fixed FOR ONE and this women is stupid to think it is OK to fly with a pregnant dog, even though she states the puppies came early = BS! What most infuriates me is how she was pushing on the dogs stomach trying to force the last baby out because she was getting tired of sitting there. I’m sure she wasn’t happy about the attention either, since she knows her dog is not a service dog in training.

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