Help my ESA dog travel with me
Help my ESA dog travel with me
Why this petition matters
My life has been filled with adversity that leads many professionals to say I show signs of PTSD. After being stalked and raped for 4 years, I admit that the night terrors and flashbacks were debilitating for some time. But I had Lily, my dog and my best friend, to watch me. With her beady eyes, she never let me out of her sight, and stayed by my side. It was comforting in a strange way, like having a personal body guard who was dedicated to protecting you.
She allowed me to relax a little. I knew she would alert me if someone was trying to get near me. It was then that I was able to start falling asleep easier. And when the nights terrors woke me up, she came over as though she knew what I was feeling and sat by my head and licked my nose. She was the only one who knew what I was going through and she seemed to know when I needed to be comforted.
As I finally got free from my tormentor, I went on to continue my studies. I remember studying for such long hours that Lily would force herself to stay up late with me, her eyes shutting periodically to give away her exhaustion. My protector would be listening and jump at any sign of an intruder to warn me. She was the reason I didn't feel the need to look over my shoulder constantly these days. There was safety in knowing that she would bark at anyone who even touched my door, giving me time to prepare for whoever it might be.
Then 2017 came and a hiking accident left me with broken bones, a traumatic brain injury, and many other complications from a life threatening fall. I was bedridden for over 3 months. During that time, I could not do much for myself. Besides my parents, Lily was my only company. As if knowing things had changed, she figured out how the routine of the other dogs was and joined them to go outside and get food. Afterwards, she would return to me to curl up by my side and growl at anyway who approached my room until she could confirm they were family.
As I healed and got back to a normal life, Lily has been with me for all of it. I have anxiety and PTSD that stems from multiple triggers and events. I continue with therapy and medications, but she is the most effective of all. I travel with her and bring her to events that I have anxiety about.
I tried to fly without her once. I remember how miserable I was. I had taken my anxiety medicine, but still could not calm down. No calming techniques were working so I began pacing at the terminal. I was listening to music and wearing headphones to block out the people but it felt like I was going to have a panic attack at any minute. I had to take an extra dose of medicine just to get on the plane.
During the 50 minute flight, I alternated between checking our arrival status and trying to suppress the tremors I had. As soon as the seatbelt light went off I ran to the bathroom to let out the tears I had been forcing back. By the time I escaped the plane, all I could do was curl up into the fetal position in my boyfriend's car for ride home in silence.
Never again have I flown without Lily. With her in my lap, I feel like I am safe with my little guardian angle watching over me. She is documented as my ESA animal.
Now she is banned from traveling in my lap. Even if I pay for her as a pet to travel in the cabin, she would not be allowed to leave her crate. Although, many airlines want pets to go in cargo so that's if she could even be in the cabin.
With this petition, I request a special circumstance to fly with my dog, Lily, currently an ESA animal, on domestic flights with her in my arms/lap for the duration of the flight. I also request the same liberties allowed to service dogs with the following amendments.
Since the ban stated a concern for safety, I want to note that I will have complete control over her while holding her. Prior to boarding and after boarding, I will agree to keep her in a crate or in my arms. That way she will not come into contact with any staff members or citizens, eliminating any concern for danger.
Since there was a concern for animals urinating or deficating on the plane, this would be eliminated by the above behavior.
When taken to a designated area for dogs to deficating, she will on a short leash and kept a respective distance from other service dogs. All other rules will be followed as posted.