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…Update: Only very tiny hats now cool…
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Why Can’t My Son Be My Emotional Support Animal? He’s On A Leash

emotional support animal

It just doesn’t make any sense. My son can be just as uncontrollable as any beast. He also demonstrates a degree of compassion not only remarkable for his age, but for his species. So, please—someone other than my local, state, and federal governments (and the entire contemporary airline industry) explain to me why I can’t bring my son onto a plane as my emotional support animal, thereby greatly reducing the cost of our overall travel expenses? I keep him on a leash for crying out loud!

Who are you to tell me that only a creature with four legs and covered in fur can provide adequate emotional comfort? My son provides immense emotional support despite being prone to wild fits of uncontrollable hyperactivity, which is why I need to keep him leashed in public at all times (it’s not fastened degradingly around the neck like an actual dog, of course. It’s the kind that straps around his chest). I tell him he’s my little astronaut ready to blast off into space. Truth is sometimes I need to yank him back before he chases an ice cream truck down the street. He is a small beautiful boy with the soul of a Golden Retriever.

But more importantly, my empathetic son helps me cope with panic attacks. He hugs me and tells me encouraging things as the panic builds. Yes, I sometimes have to yank him away from the beverage cart and warn the flight attendants not to give him sugar or caffeine unless they can confirm there’s an air marshal on board that can restrain him if he gnaws through his leash. It’s a small price to pay for a son who can uplift my spirits better than any dog ever could.

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And yet, he is apparently unable to get a free seat because he is a “person.”

If you’re worried the leash implies there’s something dangerous about my supportive son, I can assure you it’s just a precaution. He has such a comforting presence that I worry others might run off with him. And he bites. It’s mostly playful, and it only gets rough when people approach me in a manner he deems threatening. Once his natural instincts to protect kick in, there’s really no stopping him. Luckily, his small child teeth rarely break the skin.

emotional support animal

My son has just as much of a right to fly by my side as my emotional protector, free of charge, as any animal. I demand his status as an emotional support animal be granted in full immediately, preferably in the next hour, because my frequent flyer miles don’t roll over to next year and I gotta book this trip to Orlando ASAP.

Images: Pexels, PexelsJim Simonson/Flickr

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6 Comments
  1. Kudos, Mr. Prada! I’ve been a service dog handler for over twenty years and I’ve been involved with “helper animal” legalities almost as long. I’m astounded by just how absurd the entire situation has gotten. Squirrels? Peacocks? Some of these stories make the proverbial airborne swine seem downright pedestrian! Your piece is astute, beautifully written, and had me in stitches. Thanks!

  2. Do you have the paperwork from your doctor for your support animal? It is people like you causing me and my Fido trouble getting on flights without being hassled!

  3. What a hurtful and degrading article. I am the owner of an emotional support animal. I follow the rules. I know the laws. I have severe PTSD, Anxiety, and sometimes desperately need my dog. With him my by side, I have something to focus on, something to connect to that requires me to get out of my head.

    I filed my ADA paperwork for work, I have a legitimate therapist.

    Making fun of the situation HURTS people doing things the RIGBT way. Yes, these rules are being abused by people who want to exploit the loopholes. But don’t lump all ESA owners together. The legitimate owners WANT tighter rules and regulations; but please don’t make fun.

    Before you shout “take meds,” I’ll explain that I cannot use most of them because they cause me to have seizures.

  4. The most intelligent article I have read on the subject. Plus your son is “house broken” and will not prompt allergic response or lick me in the line.

  5. Well, for one, your son is a person, not an animal. If his behavior is so wild and uncontrollable at times, the child has issues such as autism (his behavior appears to be a meltdown) or something else. You are an example of a huge parent failure for not seeking the help your child needs. If he is going to sit in a seat, you need to pay for that seat.
    Emotional support animals sit either in the handler’s lap or “four on the floor”.
    You claim your child bites, the airlines have a right to ban him from flying anyway as he is a danger to other passengers.
    You want to treat him like a dog? Take him to obedience classes.

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