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Emotional Support For Tough Times
by Walt Giersbach

Gigi Griffiths, a writer who travels around the world as she works, and Luna, her sprightly 4-year-old Schnauzer-Yorkie mix, are nearly inseparable….  Luna is certified as an emotional support animal, a designation under federal law that allows her…to sit on her companion’s lap [on airplane flights], instead of being in a cage under a seat, where regular pets must ride.
--The New York Times Nov. 11, 2013


Airplane travel is becoming tougher and more draining than ever. My flight to Boston was delayed because of mechanical trouble. We were further delayed because of the handicapped passengers who boarded first, followed by women and babies, then the one percenters in first class. 

When I finally plopped into my seat a wet tongue licked my cheek. I cursed in shock since I’m a happily married man. It was a dog giving me wet kisses! A dog sitting on the passenger’s lap in the seat next to me.

“Don’t mind, Fang,” the woman said. “He’s harmless and lovable.”

“Ma’am, you can’t bring a dog on board!”

“Well, yes, he’s a seeing eye dog. I’m blind.”

“If you were blind you’d have a proper guide dog, something like a retriever. A really big dog. That’s a Yorkshire terrier!”

“A Yorkie,” she shrieked. “You mean they gave me a Yorkie for a guide dog?”

“Ma’am, I’m going to call a cabin attendant if you don’t get that dog out of here. He’s slobbering all over….”

“How dare you insult my companion!  He’s really…really an emotional support dog, and federal law allows him to accompany me everywhere.”

“Oh, no you don’t. First you’re blind and then you’re emotionally unstable. I’m ringing for the attendant.”

“No, please. I’ll confess. I’m a Buddhist, and we believe in reincarnation. Fang is my husband who has come back in the form of a dog because of some spiritual error he made. I have papers here,” she said, pawing through her purse. “Papers to prove….  No, that’s Fang’s driver’s license.”

The cabin attendant appeared over the seat and asked, “Is there a problem?”

“Yes!  This woman claimed her dog is a guide dog because she’s blind, and then she insisted it’s an emotional attachment animal. Now, she’s blabbering that it’s the reincarnation of her dead husband.”

“Calm yourself, sir. This poor woman has every right to bring an emotional support animal with her. It’s the law now. I have one myself, but I only take it on vacations.”

“You’re kidding me,” I snorted. “And your dog or whatever….”

“I beg your pardon!” He stood up as tall as possible. “My Philomena is a pot-bellied pig. And my former mistress when I was an Egyptian pharaoh.”

“I can’t wait to get to Boston,” I whimpered.

“Neither can I,” the attendant said conspiratorially. “We’re getting married there next week.”