I just read an article that United Airlines denied a seat to an emotional support peacock that was attempting to fly today from Newark to Los Angeles. With this announcement coming on the heels of the recent Delta announcement, people are understandably debating both sides of the emotional support animal issue. Who are airlines to decide what a person needs psychologically? Who are these crazy people trying to cheat the system to fly with their potentially dangerous pets? How do we protect true service animals?
There are some important issues these debates are overlooking, though.
- First, I think it is impressive that a peacock that has been forced to live–presumably for years–in Newark, New Jersey, is even *capable* of being an emotional support animal. I know that if I lived in Newark, I would need an emotional support menagerie and I would not be able to help anyone out at all. I would be an substance abuse peacock who cut people off in traffic and drank too much coffee and never smiled. Eff you all, humans. I am not supporting nobody. But that bird, apparently named Dexter, was totally chill. I need to be more like that majestic bird.
- Second, that peacock was shockingly well behaved by the look of things. It might not have “service animal” level training or full immunizations, and that’s important, but did you see the pictures of it perched on the baggage cart, patiently waiting for people to sort out the issues so it could fly for five hours to LA?
I have never traveled with a peacock, but I have traveled with children, and I can tell you, we have never once even come close to keep our shit so well together during air travel. We’ve spilled beverages. We’ve left bags. We’ve laid on the floor and cried (even the children). We once had a flight where *both* children peed in their seats. Once my oldest child vomited in my hands during landing and the second child looked over to see what happened and emotional-support vomited on herself in response (people sure got off the plane fast that time). I have completely untrained, emotionally non-supportive children on flights every time. If people just stopped to think about *that*, well, maybe we want the peacock.
- Third, maybe this is a greedy, cheap way to get your animal across the country for free, doing a disservice to the people who truly need service animals. (Though probably not Dexter. He seems lovely.) But, guys, there are people out there living exotic, imaginative lives where they travel about sitting next to peacocks. Don’t trash them for being weird. Figure out how to get a peacock in your life.
I spent this morning washing syrup off of so many things, folding so much laundry, and fretting about how this weekend it might snow and then they might cancel school again (oh man, if they cancel school again, I need all the support animals. Do some cook? Do some take over yelling about chores so you can lie down?) I need to think peacock. I need to get creative and get some more beautiful, exotic creativity up in this day. I need to roll with Dexter and wing it a bit.
I urge you: think bold and be inspired by today’s story of Dexter.
Have the peacock.
Be the peacock.
Go get the peacock.