Passengers onboard an aircraft were initially taken aback as a gigantic Great Dane, the mere mention of whose name evokes its substantial size, strode onto the plane and commandeered an entire row of seats. Yet, their astonishment quickly transformed into warm admiration as it became evident that this colossal canine displayed remarkable in-flight conduct, surpassing the behavior of many human passengers.
The dog belongs to Gabriel Bogner, a 27-year-old traveler en route to New York from Los Angeles.
His five-year-old dog unexpectedly became the center of attention, as shown in a viral TikTok video that has garnered nearly 18 million views.
Delightful dog goes viral after taking up row of seats on flight
The distinguished dog in question, Darwin, is a service dog intended to provide physical and emotional support, weighing in at a substantial 64 kg. An entire row of seats was required to ensure her comfort during the extensive flight.
In an interview with South West News Services, Bogner recounted the crowd's astonishment and excitement upon seeing the dog: "People were absolutely gobsmacked and shocked, but everyone was so excited to see her."
A portion of the same video of the journey shows Darwin curiously peering into the cockpit and "greeting" fellow passengers as she makes her way to her designated seat. According to Bogner, this marked Darwin's maiden flight.
Bogner noted in a TikTok post that Darwin's size prevented her from fitting into a traditional pet carrier, prompting him to secure an entire row of seats for her. Initially positioned on the floor at the base of the seats, Darwin was eventually granted permission to recline directly on the seats—an unusual allowance given that airlines typically prohibit animals from occupying passenger seats.
Responses to the video were overwhelmingly positive, with most commenters expressing adoration for the lovable creature. However, said the positive reactions, some commenters voiced displeasure, asserting that Darwin wasn't an "official" service dog with proper approval and authorization.
In response, Bogner clarified that he obtained Darwin as a puppy and promptly registered her as a service animal, citing his own anxieties and Crohn's disease as the reasons.
The New York Post, which reported on the incident, explains that service dogs can vary in size and breed in the United States and must be trained to perform a task directly related to a person's disability. Professional training and identification vests are not mandatory.
Although Darwin may not perform all the "advanced tasks" typical of service animals, she accompanies Bogner to alleviate his Crohn's disease symptoms by providing heat and pressure to his stomach when he experiences discomfort.