PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Military families across the country have come together to sign a petition to fight for their large dogs to fly.
The petition has nearly 120,000 signatures, and it is growing each day. Dog-owner Emily Sanders said it needs to be signed.
Sanders and her husband just got a permanent change of station to Guam, and because of United Airlines' new guidelines, their two large German shepherds can’t get on the plane.
"I personally can't imagine leaving my dogs behind. We don't get a choice in when we go, and we don't get a choice in when we have to be there,” said Sanders.
Sanders’ dogs, Nautia and Phoenix, are eight years old. They’ve always traveled with the couple, but United Airlines no longer accepts crates taller than 30 inches, including 700 series crates.
Sanders dogs fit in the 500 series, which is accepted, but United Airlines said pets must "stand and sit without their head or ear tips touching the top." Sanders said her dogs' ears touch the top of the crate.
Other airlines have different guidelines which would allow Sanders and her husband to fly with the dogs, but she told 13News Now there's a problem.
"We have to take United because it's the only airline that will service to Guam,” Sanders explained.
The couple's only option is to use an international pet shipper which can cost about $4,000 per pet.
Sanders has a GoFundMe page to help cover the expense.
“There are people that are telling us that they had to leave their dogs behind, they had to re-home them. I have to make sure my dogs get there because they're a part of my family,” said Sanders.