Dogs provide a type of portable therapy you won’t find in the EZ-chair of a doctor’s office, and that’s why so many people take on official emotional support pooches! But believe it or not, dogs aren’t the only type of support animal that people rely on…
Sure, dogs are the animals we’re most familiar with, but plenty others are up to the task (if you fill out the right paperwork). Naturally, this leads people to lean on some pretty…let’s say unique animals for support. These 20 emotional support animals definitely made passersby do a double take!
1. Bonnet Macaque: Debby Rose from Missouri suffers from agoraphobia, the fear of places and situations that causes panic, helplessness, or embarrassment. She brings her monkey everywhere and will even drive with him in the front seat.
2. Miniature horse: These tiny tots have been approved as a legal service animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Good thing because not everyone feels comfortable around service dogs, but what’s so scary about a teeny tiny horse?!
3. Squirrel: Believe it or not, some people have registered these critters as emotional support animals. One woman tried to bring her service squirrel on a plane after specifying that she would be accompanied by a service animal, but that didn’t “fly” with the airline company.
4. Turkeys: These therapeutic birds are allowed to fly in a purchased airline seat with their handler under the Air Carrier Access Act. Normally Delta doesn’t allow certain animals in the cabin, but this turkey got VIP access.
5. Capuchin monkey: There is an organization called Helping Hands Monkey Helpers, which trains Capuchin monkeys to be the hands for people suffering from spinal injuries and mobility impairments.
6. Goat: What might seem like the perfect farm animal to some, is the perfect pet for others. Former President Abraham Lincoln had two goats, Nanny and Nanko, as pets. Nonetheless, the Delta Society trains your goat to help you complete tasks.
7. Kangaroo: American Airlines has had not one but two emotional support kangaroos board their planes. One kangaroo sat in their own first class seat, while another spent the flight curled up on the lap of their owner.
8. Duck: Airlines have granted passage to one emotional support duck. Daniel Turducken Stinkerbutt became internet famous when he flew for the first time with his owner, Carla Fitzgerald. The duck wore red booties and a Captain America diaper on his flight from Charlotte to Asheville, North Carolina.
9. Pig: Due to high intellect, pigs make great emotional support animals. Wilbur, an emotional support pet for the Halpern family, was nearly evicted from his Palm Beach, Florida, home where livestock are banned as pets. He embarked on a 10-month legal battle, and thankfully, he won.
10. Turtles: Several flight attendants have reported seeing support turtles on their flights. One even recounted a time where she found an emotional support turtle suctioned to the airplane window so they “had a better view.”
11. Hedgehog: One woman, 21-year-old Jennifer Goldberg, said she brought her emotional support hedgehog to many stressful situations, like, of course, flying. Delta made an exception for the roly-poly little guy.
12. Peacock: A woman in Brooklyn swears by the healing properties of her emotional support peacock. They were traveling to Los Angeles when TSA stopped them and barred them from the flight after a six-hour delay. They drove across the country instead.
13. Parrot: These tropical birds became more and more common thanks to an organization called Parrots for Patriots, which paired the brightly feathered critters with former military members.
14. Sugar Glider: What’s more comforting than a small squirrel rat jumping off your dresser and flying through the air to comfort you? In 2018, a Colorado State University student studying clinical psychology went about her day on campus with her service sugar glider.
15. Goldfish: Although it may seem like they can’t provide any services for someone, their presence can be extremely calming for some people. Republican strategist Ana Navarro reported that while on a flight out of Albany, airport officials announced someone was trying to bring an emotional support goldfish through security.
16. Llama: They are great support animals for people of all ages. In 2015, several emotional support llamas got loose at a senior citizen center where they’d been working for the day. All of them were caught, and they continued to provide comfort for the elderly.
17. Cats: Some of our feline friends might be a bit reserved, but that’s not true of all of them! They are great travelers and can easily be brought places without too much push-back from authorities.
18. Hamster: Pebbles the support hamster probably provided more anxiety for their owner when on board a Spirit Airlines flight. Her owner claimed the people working for Spirit told her that Pebbles would have to be flushed down a toilet!
19. Snake: Can you imagine sitting next to a snake on a long flight? That would take the movie Snakes on a Plane to a whole new level. But yes, some people do have emotional support snakes they take to stressful situations.
20. Bearded Dragon: Megan Curran had an emotional support bearded dragon. The young girl was badly bullied in high school and found that her pet, Chief, helped curb her anxiety and depression.