A Travel Guide for Emotional Support Animals
Publish Date: May 8th, 2020; Author: Darren M. Jorgenson.
First and most importantly, you must remember at all times that you are being granted a privilege and not just a right. Yes. It is your right to travel with your ESA, but this “Right” is a privilege being granted to both you and your pet.
But, what does this mean for you, The Traveler accompanied by an ESA?
It involves several things. Let’s take a closer look at these conditions set up by this right/privilege dynamic. The first, and maybe the most important thing you must do once you receive your ESA letter is to call your airline, train or coach company and let them know that you will be soon traveling with your ESA. They will likely have some questions about your pet, such as weight (size) of your pet, training history, and whether or not they are certified as a service animal.
Can An Airline Deny ESA Recommendation for My Pet?
The Airline Company is Liable to Accomodate you
Okay. That’s one huge hurdle jumped.
Inform the Company About Your Arrival
On the day of your travel, arrive at your flight or Coach or train station as early as possible. As soon as you arrive inform someone in charge that you are traveling with an ESA. This person might be the conductor, the driver, or the clerk who checks you in. You may again have to go through the hassle of educating this employee, too, of the laws surrounding travel with an ESA. If this is the case, don’t despair. Remain calm. Explain the laws and Hold your ground. Remember, the law is on your side.
Always Be Respectful to Fellow Pessangers
Likely, they will have you board your transport either first or last. When boarding, always be cognizant of other passengers. If you are traveling with a dog, remember that some of your fellow passengers might be deathly terrified of dogs of all shapes and sizes. Though you adore your little pooch Fido and you know she would never bite anyone remembers that the old lady beside you does NOT know Fido and might be unreasonably afraid of her because she was bitten by a dog once while still a child.
So be respectful of other passengers, and this doesn’t mean just explaining that Fido would never hurt anyone, but instead holding onto Fido’s leash tightly enough that there is no way Fido could possibly even reach the little old lady just beside you.
Train Your Pet for long Journeys
What do you do if your flight is seven hours and halfway through Fido starts prancing around in circles, indicating that her bladder needs to let go?
This is a tough one.
You definitely don’t want your ESA to piddle on the floor. That would be more than embarrassing. It would be downright unsanitary. This is where some foresight comes in handy…I know, I know. Fido is well-trained to piddle outside and not on the carpet, but traveling on moving vehicles has a way of testing even the most reliable bladders, making the best of us have to urinate. Remember that foresight I mentioned?
Here’s what I meant by that…
Several months before you travel start training Fido to let loose in the house on one of those puppy house training pads. They are like a flat, rectangular diaper that you spread out on the floor for a puppy to do their stuff upon. But use them now to begin training Fido on getting used to using the pads.
Ensure Everything Before Journey
At the end of your travel, the cabin crew will likely direct you to either disembark either first or last, depending on what makes the most sense to them. Follow their directions to ensure the smoothest transition from traveling to arriving, and all will go well.
And All will be Well.
About Post Author
Darren M. Jorgensen has a fondness for all animals, though dogs especially, have a huge home in his heart. He enjoys quilting, making handcrafted soap and bodyworks and anything that produces practical products. Jorgensen lives with his own service dog who doubles as an Emotional Support Animal. He gets it.
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