Emotional support animals don't begin and end with cats and dogs, and you might well have shared a flight with a peacock or even a kangaroo.
Animals help humans with any number of tasks. Guide dogs can be the eyes of a blind person, and pets in general just tend to comfort us and make us feel better when we need it most. For some, it is more than just a cat curling up on your lap at the end of a long day. There's the wonderful and sometimes weird world of emotional support animals.
What is an emotional support animal? Well, they're similar to a service animal like a guide dog. They help people who need it most, and whose conditions are aided by the presence of an animal. PTSD, depression, and bipolar disorder are just a few of the things where prescribing an emotional support animal might help a person live their day-to-day life.
However, as we said, these animals might not be dogs and cats. They can actually be anything your heart desires, providing you are legally allowed to keep that animal in your possession. That might obviously raise a few issues, as well as a whole lot of eyebrows. Especially if you have to take that animal onboard a flight with you.
After photos of a miniature horse on board a flight went viral recently, Bored Panda published a list (along with pics) of some of the strangest emotional support animals people have ever seen aboard a plane. That list includes squirrels, peacocks, an 80-pound pig and our favorite of all, a kangaroo. All animals that people with conditions have carefully selected to help them through daily life.
Having an emotional support animal isn't as simple as picking a furry companion and taking them everywhere you go. A medical professional has to assess and confirm you would benefit from one. As for flights, each airline has its own guidelines when it comes to bringing animals aboard. You'll need to check beforehand should you be in a position where you need to travel with an animal.