November 16, 2013

"Emotional support animals... travel free, and restrictions on their size and species are left to the airlines’ discretion."

"They are not required to be caged. And unlike service animals, which undergo extensive training, they require no training."
Their task is to provide comfort to their companions. To serve the needs of the animals and their owners, a cottage industry of websites and doctors advertising documents that certify emotional support animals has emerged....

Carla Black, a psychotherapist in Marina del Rey, Calif., began receiving enough requests for emotional support animal certification that this year she began advertising on her website. For $99, she provides an hour of her time, over the phone or Skype, and a clinical assessment, along with a prescription letter, which is valid for one year.

Ms. Black said in a telephone interview that before she issues a letter she ensures the client is eligible under criteria set by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. “I make sure they qualify for depression or whatever, P.T.S.D.,” she said, referring to post-traumatic stress disorder.
I take it that must be covered by an Obamacare-compliant health plan, which must cover mental health.

One more reason to avoid getting on an airplane. I picture myself seated between the lady with a potbellied pig on her lap — his dripping snout overhanging the armrest — and the man who's having a breakdown because he's allergic to pigs.

23 comments:

Oso Negro said...

And you can bet that only the most self-absorbed assholes will need their emotional support animals when they fly. Sheesh. California. It figures.

Bob Boyd said...

Adventure begins when things start to go wrong.

Tank said...

Of course, you could be sitting between Bandit and Princess, and what a fun time that would be.

Ann Althouse said...

"Of course, you could be sitting between Bandit and Princess, and what a fun time that would be."

Blechh.

Tank said...

LOL. Yes, a time an place for everything.

Woof.

Phaedrus said...

Seriously? Sometimes I think you just make stuff but then discover that's not the case. Sheesh

You obviously like dogs but some things are even too much for dog lovers.

As much as I like dogs (but don't own any) I think someone could write a book about the negative impact of pets on the environment, food supplies etc

Kelly said...

It may be covered by insurance, but now that deductibles are so high it doesn't really matter. My son-in-law had "Cadillac" insurance with the finance company he works for. After the first of the year there is a 3500 deductible for him and my daughter and mental health is included in that. Before that they had 25.00 Copays.

Service dogs can be a great help, but like with anything else you know people are going to abuse it.

Howard Roark said...

Airlines will remove all peanuts from a flight if a single passenger calls ahead to claim a peanut allergy.

The solution to being forced to travel with spoiled adults clinging to their ridiculous excuse so as to travel with their pet is simply for others to call ahead to the airline and claim an allergy to dogs and cats.

LYNNDH said...

Sorry, no Pigs. Against a certain religion to be in anyway associated with the porcine critter.

FleetUSA said...

This is a total abuse of the other passengers. Plus I am sure there are those who push the envelope to get the animal on board, i.e. they don't qualify technically but with a wink and a nod and $99 or more get in.

Yep, one more reason not to fly.

Real American said...

what these people "suffer" from is narcissism.

EDH said...

For $99, she provides an hour of her time, over the phone or Skype, and a clinical assessment, along with a prescription letter, which is valid for one year.

Just don't bring the fuckin' beast into my office.

Ms. Black said in a telephone interview that before she issues a letter she ensures the client is eligible under criteria set by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. “I make sure they qualify for depression or whatever, P.T.S.D.,” she said, referring to post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Whatever". Why not just say "thin air"?

Sam L. said...

Reminds me of an SNL skit, "I Married A Monkey".

Jason said...

I SAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIID, we got EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS on the PLAAAAAANNNE!!!!!!

William said...

Nothing on earth can give you more emotional support than your mother. And yet when I try to bring the mummified body of my mother on the plane, I'm met with horrified stares or bad Anthony Perkins jokes. I'd even be willing to pay for an extra seat for Mommy, but no go. What kind of world do we live in where people are allowed to travel with dogs but not their own mother?

Molly said...

Sam L: or the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode in which a person has a handicapped parking tag because he is a stutterer.

Molly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mrs. e said...

On the plus side, to come across this could make for an amusing travel story. I know I have a choice - I try to be more of a glass-half-full kind of gal in these kinds of situations. YOLO.

Rick Lee said...

Adam Carolla has been ranting about this on his podcast for months now. He actually had two dogs get in a fight in the aisle by his feet. One guest said he saw a dog have diarrhea on the carpet while waiting in line to board. Another guest, an actress whose name escapes me right now, admitted that she got a phony certificate for her dog to fly with her... just because she really wanted to fly with her dog on her lap. I've been flying a lot lately and I've seen quite a few dogs on laps. So far I've never witnessed any problems with it, but as the trend grows we're sure to see more and more crazy stuff.

David said...

A support animal is a hamster in your jock.

Kirk Parker said...

Paudrus,

" Sometimes I think you just make stuff but then discover that's not the case"

What I wonder is how The Onion manages to stay in business.

Peter said...

If anything finally breaks the healthcare bank, it surely will be mandated parity for mental health coverage.

Every criterion for everything in the DSM requires subjective assessment. For better or worse, this is still a field without objective standards.

The only real standard is, "It is if I say it is!" spoken by someone with the appropriate credentials.

With such "standards" and the usual financial incentives there are no controls at all on costs.

Let alone cost-vs-benefit requirements. How could there be in a field where there's no objective way to measure benefit?

CatherineM said...

Rick Lee - yes and Rosie Perez brought her friend's dog to the Carolla show with out asking, and then in the middle of the interview, the dog pee'd on Adam's carpet. Rosie giggled an "I'm sorry!"

No manners.