Emotional Support Animals and Tongue in Cheek

I saw an article about emotional support animals on BBC online.

A female traveller was recently banned from taking a large “emotional-support peacock” on board a United Airlines flight, it has emerged.

A woman was trying to fly, with her peacock, from Newark, N.J. to Los Angeles.  She was willing to buy the bird a ticket but the airline insisted it did not meet size and weight restriction.

Can you imagine sharing the aisle?

Airlines have allowed some passengers with emotional or psychiatric problems to take therapy animals on board with them.

But the number of emotional support animals has been rising in recent years, sparking suggestions that people are abusing the system.

In 2014, a woman was escorted off a US Airways flight when her pig, named Hobie, defecated and squealed before the plane took off.

I had noticed on the flight to Florida this last time that dogs wearing support animal bibs were everywhere — a huge increase from anything I had seen before.  There are dogs at restaurants everywhere now and shopping in all the stores.

I fully endorse service dogs.  Emotional support animals?  I will have to think about that. I know that I, personally, would find it more stressful to have to worry about a pet while traveling and that is the main reason why I don’t have one.

Pigs, and peacocks and squirrels ?  Well sometimes the animal chooses, not the other way around.  However, I do think that is an awful lot of tolerance to expect of fellow travelers — even beyond the ban on peanuts because of food allergies but never mind someone’s allergy to pet dander or dread fear of rodents or snakes argument.

So if the apparent increase in emotional support animals is indicative of people’s emotional and psychiatric problems, it seems we are in a mental health crisis.  I wonder if it means we have to pour more effort and money into awareness and services?

Or is it more likely to be shown that the wisdom of animals is more effective than therapy?



7 thoughts on “Emotional Support Animals and Tongue in Cheek

  1. I really think some people have truly and obviously taken advantage of the support animal clause. I saw a small dog once at Wendy’s that climbed on the seat and then onto the table. Ummm… And the dog did not have a support animal harness or anything.


  2. I read this past week that someone was suing an airline because their support HAMSTER got killed on board, I think. Seriously? Support Hamster? This world has gone mad.


  3. When I was between husbands, I would be really nervous when the kids were at their dad, on those long, dark nights. When they were with me, I was mama bear and had no fear. The animals do good work for humans.


  4. For a society to function effectively the rights of a group must be carefully balanced against the rights of an individual. Should everyone suffer a loud boom box on a bus or subway, or could the individual listen privately with ear phones?

    I am all for people being allowed to travel with trained and well behaved necessary service animals. However for those that abuse the systems to take their pets along, shame on them.


  5. I think a small niche need is being taken advantage of by thoughtless people who care only about themselves. And this is coming form a confirmed animal lover. Have you ever heard the sound a peacock makes? It sounds like a terrified woman being attacked. Amen to the airlines for refusing her.


  6. I learned a bit about “emotional support” animals when my niece mailed in an application and received a vest for her little dachshund, The dog had no specialied training and my niece did not need emotional support services. But the phony vest allowed them to take the dog everywhere. It is blatantly dishonest and a mockery of those who actually need service animals.


  7. I get claustrophobic when I fly. I can go about 2 hours and then I start panicking. In one sense I can see that my dog might make me more comfortable but I’m sure he would have to poop or pee during that time and what would I do? I think there comes a time, that you just have to accept that you can’t do something when your needs are impinging on the others around you.


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