Iran - Hold Five, by Brian Cannadine (1972)

One cold night, a QANTAS flight was making a regular technical stop in Teheran in order to refuel and change crew. No passengers were due to embark or disembark, and there was no catering uplift.

As the refuelling was finishing, I drove round the aircraft in the company Mini, just as one of the loaders was finishing loading the last of the crew baggage in the rear hold of the aircraft, hold five.

I noticed him close the hold door rather abruptly; he looked up and saw me, and said, “There’s a dog loose in there.” It was during the Hajj, during which time he would have been particularly unwilling to go near a dog, although there was a net separating the crew bags from the shelf where the dog’s box would be.

I do not especially like dogs either, but asked the station engineer to put the steps back up to the hold. I opened the hold door and looked inside, to be greeted in the dim light by a growl from a rather mangy looking Alsatian from behind the net. I unclipped the net and cajoled and bullied the dog back into its box, and secured the catch with a piece of twisted wire.

When I went to see the captain I told him there had been a dog loose in hold five, but that everything was now under control and the dog was back in its box.

The captain then said, “There’s no mention of any dog in hold five on the loadsheet”. I was about to argue when he said, “You’d better look for yourself”. He was right. The loadsheet did not say anything about any dog - but did however state that in hold five there was a box containing a Siberian wolf for Frankfurt Zoo!

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