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Posted: March 01, 2018

Emotional Support Animals

By Allen TIbbetts

Did you see the recent news story from New Jersey about the woman turned away from a flight because of her emotional support animal?

In case you didn’t, the woman had been told in advance by United Airlines that she could not bring her emotional support animal onboard because they couldn’t accommodate the peacock.

A peacock, y’all! Her emotional support animal was a feakin’ peacock!

She showed up for the flight anyway. With the peacock.

Access denied.

Most of us watching or reading that story probably rolled our eyes and gave whoever else was around that look. You know the look. 


Also known as the ‘is she on crack?’ look.

This story originally was going to be about her and others like her, people with emotional support animals (ESA). Specifically, people with unconventional emotional support animals.

People wanting to fly with pets has gotten so whacky that Delta has just updated it’s ESA policy, saying, “Customers have attempted to fly with comfort turkeys, gliding possums known as sugar gliders, snakes, spiders and more...”

I had planned to write about the peacock lady. I wanted to write:

Ma’am, number one, that peacock don’t care about your emotions. And number two, I’m betting you’re single.

Then, a couple of things happened. 

First, another ESA story emerged involving an emotional-support dog that attacked a passenger on a plane. In this case, though, the dog was a veteran’s ESA.

That a veteran is part of the story gave me pause enough. (Gave me pause… get it? Pause… paws… OK, not that funny). Even putting that aside, though, if you’ve ever owned a good dog, you know that dog does indeed care about your emotions. 

So, what do I do? Leave out people with dogs?

The other incident derailing my original story involves a donkey. On my walk past a nearby farm just this week, I stopped and asked the young woman shoveling out the barn what happened to the white horse that had been there for years.

“The white horse died, but we may get another one. That white horse and the donkey were close. The donkey is really lonesome.”


“When we buried the horse, the donkey stood nearby and watched the whole thing. It was like she was at a graveside service.”

The woman spoke of it all very matter-of-factly, like a seasoned farm hand would.

On the farm, when a large animal dies, you take your backhoe or whatever implement you have to dig a hole, you dig that hole, then push the animal in and cover it up. The facts of life.

She spoke just as stoically about the donkey’s loneliness. No emotion, just ‘yeah… the donkey’s lost her buddy. We may have to do something about that.’

But if a donkey can have an ESA, I knew my story idea-in-the-making, poking fun of people with emotional support animals, was going south quickly.

So, I’ve decided to change gears. Let’s look instead at what other animals might make a good ESA.

Like, a turkey. If you ever breakdown emotionally and need a meal, voila! And after eating the turkey, you could be thankful. (Thankful… turkey… Thanksgiving…? Is funny still not happening here?)

How about a fish? Imagine, a friend comes over. She needs to unload her troubles, so you dutifully sit and listen as she drones on, endlessly. And you finally say, “Why don’t you kiss my bass.”

But you mean it. What a friend!

How ‘bout a bumblebee? Maybe all you need to pick you up is a little buzz.

Speak of buzz, what about a buzzard? If you’re a particularly deep person, a buzzard could pick your brain. (And any other parts. Once you’re gone, of course.)

Feel free to offer your own thoughts. There’s gotta be plenty of other animals that would make ESAs.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the (true story) incident recently involving a lady with an emotional-support hamster? After being told she couldn’t have it onboard a Spirit Airlines flight, she flushed it down the toilet.

You can Google up the details, if you want. It’s a weird story.

But I have to wonder what kind of person relies on a hamster for emotional support. I doubt that hamster cared about her emotions.

I bet she’s single.

Click here for more Tales From Tibby!


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