Two ducks are on a flight to Miami. The first duck says to the second, “you flying south for the winter?” The second duck replies, “Oh wow, a talking emotional support duck!”
Pa rum pum.
There have been a lot of news stories lately about animals traveling on airplanes. Some are humorous, like the woman who recently tried to bring her pet peacock on a plane to Los Angeles. And some, like the family that was forced to put their small bull dog in an oxygen deprived overhead compartment, end tragically.
And some stories are just bewildering. Like the most recent story of a German Shepherd flying to Kansas City landing in Tokyo. The poor family expecting to collect their beloved pet at baggage claim were instead greeted by a Great Dane. I mean, if you are going to misdirect a German Shepherd wouldn’t you at least expect him to wind up in Munich? And where did the Great Dane come from? Copenhagen?
Cats, dogs, miniature horses, pigs, goats, parakeets, ducks, and goldfish. All have traveled on airplanes as emotional support pets. And according to the airlines, their numbers are on the rise. So much so that airlines have recently cracked down on the kinds of animals that can be brought aboard their flying arks as pets free to roam about the cabin.
Cats and dogs are OK. But other animals, likes snakes, rodents, or animals with tusks or talons may be turned away. I am guessing piranha and killer whales are problematic too. And maybe cockroaches.
And in order to bring your beloved pet onboard, you need to present a certificate from a mental health professional that your animal is, in fact, needed. You may also have to come up with proof that the animal is well behaved and house trained.
Fortunately for me, that is pretty easy to get. Because I am taking a long flight to San Francisco and I want to take my favorite gray mouse on the airplane with me.
With very little effort I find a doctor that is willing to help.
I can’t travel without my mouse, I tell her. I get very anxious when I am on the road and it is not around.
She asks what kind of mouse it is. I tell her it is a wireless mouse.
She comments that I must be very attached to my mouse. I say no, that’s the whole point. It’s a wireless mouse.
She asks if my mouse has a name. I tell her Microsoft.
She asks if my mouse poops or pees frequently. I tell her not at all, but I always keep in on a mouse pad anyway.
She wants to know how exactly my mouse supplies emotional support.
I explain to her that because of my long legs, sitting in cramped airline seats is very uncomfortable. And with the tray table down there is barely enough room for my laptop and that because my fingers are so big I don’t have the dexterity to manipulate a trackpad efficiently.
I tell her that due to my physical limitations I desperately need a mouse to operate my computer. And because there is no room on the tray table for my mouse I am unable to use my computer and what with the guy next to me spilling out over the armrests and the lady in front of me crushing her seat back into my knee caps I get very anxious and need to access my laptop in order to maintain my sanity.
On long flights I like to watch Ace Ventura, Pet Detective I tell her.
I sell it pretty hard and request that the doctor classify my mouse as a service mouse so that I can maybe get a preferred seat with extra room. But then I realize this is highly selfish, and unfair to those people with real disabilities that may need a service dog. So I ask if she will classify my mouse as an emotional support mouse instead.
She instantly agrees because I am actually communicating with her over an Internet chat window and have paid a small fee up front for the certification. Besides, I doubt she is a real doctor. She may not even be a she. She is probably be a computer response bot somewhere in somebody’s bedroom.
At the flight gate I show the attendant my authentic support mouse certificate and ask please for a seat with some extra leg room and a place to comfortably hold my support mouse and use my computer. Maybe something in first class, I suggest politely.
Regrettably, it doesn’t always work. On my six hour flight my mouse and I were placed in a middle seat in the back row across from the restrooms.
Next to a woman with an emotional support cat.