The latest craze seems to encompass people registering their typical, untrained (albeit, much loved) pets as emotional support animals.
The process is quick, inexpensive, and easy. All you have to do is fill out an application online, pay a small fee, and voila, you receive a kit and a license certifying that your pet is essential for your emotional wellbeing and that you should be afforded a number of unnecessary privileges as a result.
Once your pet is registered, you can get all sorts of special treatment that people with normal animals can't get. Landlords can't refuse to rent to you for fear of discrimination, even if the building has a "no animals" policy. Your pet also gets to fly with fewer restrictions than traditional, non-support animals.
These animals do not have to have any sort of training or experience, which can ultimately be dangerous if they don't know how to behave in public. Airports, in particular, are having a lot of issues surrounding the increase in animals being registered as service animals and misbehaving while there.
Registering your pet as an emotional support animal because you can't bear the idea of being away from them or because you want to get special treatment is a pathetic grab for attention that diminishes the legitimacy of people who actually need a service animal for a physical or mental condition.
Not only are the cases of people registering their pets as emotional support animals attention-grabbing and illegitimate, but they're starting to get ridiculous. For example, earlier this week, a woman tried to bring her emotional support peacock on a flight.
Delta Airlines reported that they've seen "comfort turkeys, gliding possums known as sugar gliders, snakes, spiders and more." The same study reports that "since 2016, there has been an 84 percent increase in people flying with animals in the cabin. "
If you're thinking about registering your pet as an emotional support animal you don't need, please reconsider.
Consider the people who are disabled and rely completely on the animal that they've had trained and certified.
Consider the people who could be harmed by your decision if something goes wrong.
Consider the landlords, the airline employees, and other workers who are put in a tough spot every time you ask for privileges you don't deserve.
Consider following the rules and not simply going for the most convenient option, like the rest of us.
You don't need an emotional support animal. You're just needy.