Sounds like an unpleasant experience, im_nomad. Just wondering, have you thought about flying Air Canada and having the dog under your seat? My dogs are 11 and 8 pounds each and we always fly with them in the cabin. I think you said your pup was 12 pounds? It's a lot less stressful for us because our little girl pup has epilepsy and I'm just much too paranoid about my pups in general. It might be an option for you? I've never had any trouble. You just book your flight online, as per usual, and then call within 24 hours to get your dog on the flight. If the dogs can't get on (they only accept 2-4 per plane), they'll rebook you free of charge.
"Happiness is a warm puppy."