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On the news this morning, I saw a clip about airlines in the U.S. allowing ’emotional support animals’ to fly on their owners’ laps, free of charge, if they are officially designated (with verified certificate from a mental health doc) as such.

One of the flight attendants interviewed said she understands the reasons behind this, but she lamented that ‘sometimes it feels like you’re flying in a barnyard!’ Everything from dogs, cats, birds, turkeys (yes, also a bird but not your average canary), rabbits, to pot-bellied pigs.

I told Gill about it and she was enthusiastic:”Ma, you guys should totally do it! Piggy would be so proud to wear a uniform. I can just see her strutting proudly up the ramp, tail high, ears flapping. L’il Sis would love it and let’s face it, The Pig IS her kid.”

And I had to agree with Gill. This is The Pig’s (L’il Sis’ beagle) ticket to ride! Where do we sign up??

L’il Sis has been having some severe anxiety issues lately and the list of doctors she sees is impressive. The Pig truly is her life-support system and her comfort in times of need. I swear that the beagle helps her more than the meds and counseling. That being said, what would be better than for her to go on a vacation with The Pig as her seat mate?

Truth be told, this is an option we had considered before the practice became widespread. A friend of L’il Sis’ suggested that she was able to get (we didn’t ask how nor did we really WANT to know) an official coat bearing the label ‘Service Dog’ so The Pig could travel with L’il Sis. Tempting as it was, we didn’t pursue the idea. Apparently others have.  Like many other things, this idea is being abused by people with no legitimate need to have their pets with them in the cabin. Hence, the ‘barnyard’ comment. I’m sorry, but the idea that you need your pet turkey on board to soothe your shattered nerves when turbulence hits the plane is far-fetched, even to me…and I’m willing to cut animals a lot of slack. Can you imagine the turmoil in the aisle when the ride gets bumpy,the flight attendants are trying to stabilize the drinks on the drink cart and a turkey starts flapping its wings and screaming in fear? That would make the recent episode of women duking it out on a plane over a boom box pale in comparison.

But I do think The Pig would behave herself on a plane…except possibly when the snacks were being served. She’d probably try to mount the food cart, rip open the little pretzel bags and then troll the aisle, stealing the passengers’ treats as well. But she’s so cute, she’d probably get away with it. I wouldn’t be surprised if passengers were begging her to come for a visit and eat their pretzels. Of course, all this would totally blow her cover as a ‘helper’ dog. The only one being helped would be herself — and the other travelers who would be getting a real show and many laughs.

I do recognize that people fraudulently bringing their pets on board will make it more difficult for those who actually need a service dog to do so in the future. It’s the equivalent of ‘calling wolf’. And that’s not fair. I’m sure The Pig would agree — she’s all about doing the right thing (also she’s had enough experience being caught doing the wrong thing to be fearful of the consequences if she were discovered.)  So I guess, for the immediate future, The Pig will be relegated to ‘riding shotgun’ in our cars. But it is a good look for her.

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