Emotional support dogs get all the glory. We get it, they’re funny and cute. But did you know that there are emotional support animals of all stripes? Including, for instance, turkeys.
Meet Easter. The bird was found as a chick by some friends of Jodie Smalley on — you guessed it — Easter Day. They brought the bird to her and she raised it to a healthy adult, who now functions as Smalley’s support animal.
“Easter came to me as a tiny poult at an emotionally difficult time in my life being in a mentally abusive and failing marriage,” Smalley explains on her Facebook page. “In the last year and a half I lost hope, stability, a home, a marriage, a family of in-laws and my husband,” she added to the BBC.
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Though the definition of emotional support animal has been expanded in recent years, it’s not been an easy battle. Last June, Wisconsin changed its rules on ESAs when a woman brought her baby kangaroo into a restaurant, and in November 2014, a woman was escorted off a US Airways flight when her pot-bellied pig relieved itself and squealed before takeoff.
According to the National Service Animal Registry, “all domesticated animals may qualify as an ESA” so long as they are “manageable in public and [do] not create a nuisance in or around the home setting.” They include examples like mice, rabbits, birds, snakes, hedgehogs, rats, mini pigs and ferrets alongside the standard cat or dog.
“I kiss and hug her before I go to bed and scratch her head when I’m feeling anxious while driving,” Smalley says of the bond she has with Easter. “I feel moments of peace when I just simply watch this curious and beautiful creature just be without concern. I openly laugh at her innocent mischief and vicariously experience the wonder she brings to those she meets.”