In the past two years, airlines have seen over a 77% increase of animals on planes,whether it is a service pet or an emotional support animal.
Many of us simply assume this only means dogs and cats, so let me introduce you to Flirty, the miniature horse who can be seen at about 30,000 feet.
Abrea Hensley has suffered from severe PTSD and anxiety for much of her life, and being allergic to dogs has limited her options in service animals.
She needed an animal who could physically assist her as a service pet does, and she needed a companion for emotional support, as an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) does.
Then she met Flirty, the miniature horse.
Their bond is unbreakable and Abrea has found not just a friend and helper, but family in Flirty.
Abrea’s panic attacks can be debilitating and torturous, so flying was nearly impossible.
Luckily, the Federal Aviation Administration recently cleared miniature horses for flying so Flirty can assist Abrea while traveling.
Flirty can sense when Abrea is about to have a panic attack by sensing raised cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and her elevated heartbeat.
When this happens, Flirty calmly approaches Abrea, and begins to nudge, cuddle and lick Abrea until she calms down.
Physical touch with another living being has been proven to be extremely helpful in lowering cortisol levels.
A miniature horse on a plane might seem a bit odd, but don’t be surprised if you begin to see more at the airport. A miniature horse is a great alternative to a dog if someone has allergies.
Now this is not to say any animal is cleared for flying. A perfect example is a woman who got kicked off of a flight when she tried to bring emotional support peacock on board.
Everything has it’s limits.
To celebrate Flirty and the amazing job she does comforting her owner, at 30,000 feet, American Service Petsis going to offer 1Pet Alliance readers 50% off of their Emotional Support Animal letter so you can fly with your pet too!