I hadn’t travelled to the US for quite a number of years, so perhaps that is the reason for my never previously having encountered the concept of the pet relief area before.
Picture the scene: JFK Airport, NY. I am early for my flight––I always am––several hours to kill. I sit and read for a while; I watch my fellow passengers for a while; I decide to go and explore what other entertainments the terminal has to offer. A few shops, although not as many as I would have suspected; similarly, restaurants, although I am not hungry. There is some building work going on, which means some of the concourse is temporarily out of bounds.
A sign for the toilets points me towards the building work; a second sign says that there is another toilet back the way I have just come. I find myself going around in circles, no toilet in sight. That is when I spot the door to the pet relief area. At first, I am not sure if my initial assumption about the purpose of the room is correct, but an expressive symbol makes the meaning only too clear.
Now, I don’t have a pet. Certainly don’t have a pet, which is in need of any relief. Nevertheless, I am intrigued to know what it is like on the other side of the door to the pet relief room. No one is watching. I step inside.
What awaits me is a palatial relief area; far cleaner and more roomy than any of the toilets at my place of work. There are even some thoughtfully artistic touches, like the doggy footprint motif on the wall-tiles. I am impressed.
Not so impressed to make use of the facility, I hasten to add. For that I have to content myself with the rather more mundane human relief area, which I eventually find on the way to the departure gates.
© Simon Turner-Tree
Simon Turner-Tree is a great believer in the expression “any port in a storm”.