An Emotional Support….Peacock?

Here’s the link to the story. Let’s talk about this.

What is wrong with people? Seriously?

Recently Delta Airlines changed their policy on Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) after someone was bitten on one of their flights requiring 26 stitches. A lot of people are freaking out because now Delta is requiring shot records for all animals that fly. I understand that not everyone gets their animals vaccinated and instead chooses to do blood work to see if their dog still has immunity from previous shots. A letter from your vet should suffice in this cases but I understand. We are programmed to expect the worst because that is what we get when people don’t understand something.

The problem with Delta’s new rules is that it lumps Psychiatric Service Dogs in with ESAs. They are two different animals, no pun intended. ESAs require no training while Service Dogs do. People who have Psychiatric Service Dogs have invested just as much time, energy, and money into their dog as someone who has a dog for mobility or diabetes. Delta is forcing people who have Psychiatric Service dogs to prove they are disabled and reveal more about their disability than they should have to. There is a stigma about mental illness and it really needs to stop. As a general rule, when we see a veteran in public with his service dog for PTSD we feel bad for him because he’s “seen some shit” and we are impressed by his dog. When we see a woman with a service dog for PTSD our first thought is “Why does she need that dog? Doesn’t look like anything is wrong with her?” No one ever stops to think that woman may have been the subject of some pretty brutal domestic abuse or was raped. Nothing like going through life jumping at shadows because your trust in everyone and everything has been shattered beyond repair.

This brings us to the Emotional Support Animal. They have their place in a doctors care plan. The benefits of pets have been touted for years. While everyone of us can benefit from a pet, there are some people that can benefit more.

Here’s the problem. These medically prescribed pets do not have to have any training whatsoever, and the bulk of them don’t. They are allowed in housing where pets normally wouldn’t be and they are allowed on planes. What is good behaviour for a pet isn’t always good behaviour for a dog in public. My dachshund is a well behaved pet. I wouldn’t dream of taking him out in public because I know he’s going to be a little asshole. I love my cat to death, and some could argue that he serves the purpose of an ESA (and does help a small amount with my health issues), but I wouldn’t take him on a plane with me because he is just an asshole in general. It’s his personality.

I can hear someone now, “But all cats are assholes!” Trust me, this goes behind normal cat behaviour.

Maybe I have the common sense a lot of people lack, knowing it’s a bad idea to take my pets with me into public no matter how out of sorts I am feeling and that they provide me some kind of comfort and make me feel better. I wish more people were objective in these matters and exercised some kind of common sense. Then we wouldn’t have emotional support peacocks.

Seriously, who does this? I really don’t see a mental health care professional saying, “You know what would help you a lot? A peacock. You should totally get a peacock.”

When a doctor says ‘Emotional Support Animal’ they expect you to have some common sense and get a normal pet. You know, a cat or dog or maybe even a bunny or guinea pig. Not a bloody peacock.

Maybe I am being judgmental. Maybe looking at the majestic feathers makes someone feel better. This is all fine and well if you are at home, but the second you want to take that bird on a plane you probably need to reevaluate things or go talk to your doctor. Do you really think other people are going to want to sit next to a peacock, especially if it decides it’s going to make those lovely screeching noises they make?  I’m pretty sure that being in a closed plane thousands of miles off the ground, is going to trigger anxiety for someone. Not only that, who is going to clean up after the bird? Does peacock shit even come out of upholstery? Has anyone considered they are flightless birds for a reason?

These websites that claim by registering your animal with them you can take them anywhere is part of the problem. Couple that with those who think that those of us who need service dogs are part of some Special Club and want the same privileges and you have a recipe for disaster…or emotional support peacocks. I also can’t help but think this person, who was told numerous times that she couldn’t bring her peacock and then showed up at the airport with it anyway, is trying to see how far she can push the law (much like the lady who wanted to take her Service Dog on a ski lift).

I get it. I miss my animals when I am away from them too, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. I’m pretty sure if you make the news because you did something outrageous, like try to take a peacock on an airplane, that you have crossed that line. Just sayin’…

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