Tango is my Emotional Support Animal (ESA). Before the torch carrying soldiers start blowing up my comment feed about people abusing this status, hear me out.
I agree, the ESA stories floating around Facebook are becoming ridiculous. A peacock…really? An ESA and its feathers should not be an inconvenience to others.
I would not be able to travel the world if I didn’t have Tango by my side. We have been inseparable since she was ten weeks old, 11 years ago. When I had to move two hours from our hometown to attend pharmacy school, she came with me and sat under my desk all day long. I didn’t leave her behind when I had to move four hours away to complete my practicum. When I owned a self-started dog boutique, she came to work every day with me. These are some of many cases of our dependence, and our pattern could not stop because I wanted to globe trot.
I have long battled anxiety, depression and nocturnal panic attacks with the help of doctors, councillors, psychiatrists and a physiologist. Having a dependent who needs scheduled food, care and exercise pushes me to get out of bed and attend to my own self-care. Tango opens up the opportunity to form interpersonal relationships and encourages relationships to be strengthened as I am less reluctant to attend social gatherings without her by my side. She gives me comfort when I wake up in the early hours of the morning in a state of panic, moving from room to room with me as I try to come down from the panicked state. I am never alone when I am with Tango!
Tango is acknowledged as my ESA for the sole purpose of being able to fly. She is too big to go under my seat, and she is not allowed in the cargo area of the plane as she is a snub-nosed dog. Being my designated ESA is a perfect and fitting solution. I do not carry her designation with me around town, flashing it to get into restaurants and other non-dog friendly areas. I reserve it for flying and transportation only.
Currently, an ESA does not need training. I am not opposed to seeing this change and believe only well behaved animals should be able to board a plane without a cage. Right now the onus is on the owner which is not necessarily working considering the news reports of ESAs attacking both adults and children. Thankfully, Tango has proved to be an excellent traveler….quiet and unnoticed.
Next time…..How to have your pet acknowledged as an Emotional Support Animal and other related tips!