The New York Post published a story recently about the increasing numbers of service animals flying in the passenger cabins of airliners. One quote described an amusing situation -- or at least amusing to those not on the affected airplane.
“A guy had a miniature horse, which didn’t fit comfortably in the back, so he was put in
first class,” says Eric Lipp, executive director of Open Doors Organization, an advocacy
group for people traveling with disabilities. “The airline made the horse wear these little
shoes so it didn’t scuff the plane, but it pooped all over and the other first-class travelers
The Open Doors people, like others, are beginning to suspect that people are taking advantage of laws allowing people to bring their animals with them on commercial airliners.
This is old news, of course. I'm on airplanes every few months or so, and I can attest that there are more animals on planes these days. A few are seeing-eye dogs or animals to assist otherwise disabled persons, but most seem to be emotional support animals who provide comfort to people, particularly young women, who are too sensitive to endure the trauma of air travel without beloved pets.
And it's not just airplanes. I saw a man pushing a dog in a stroller at a shopping center last week. Apparently retail shopping is also stressful for some people.
(If you would like to register your pet as an emotional support animal, you can go online and find a helpful psychologist who will give you a letter affirming your need for about $100. With this, you too can travel with Fido.)
My own interest had been provoked by a 2014 New Yorker story by Patricia Marx. She wrote about "touring New York and Boston with five emotional-support animals." I do like the way this woman thinks.