Need Some ESA?

Monkey Emotional Support AnimalThese days it seems like everyone has some kind of Emotional Support Animal. An emotional support or assistance animal is a companion that a medical professional says provides some benefit for a person disabled by a mental health condition or emotional disorder. I’ve never heard of this until recently. When I grew up, everyone I knew either had a dog or a cat, but that wasn’t for emotional support that was just to throw a stick to a slobbering beast or dangle a string to a playful feline in hopes of getting it to do some flips.

How does the medical professional know you need an emotional support animal? What if he suggests you get a cat to help you through your depression and when you realize you must clean the litter box every day you go into a deeper depression. And, who picks what kind of ESA you get. Does the doctor or psychiatrist go off a chart? “Let’s see here. Anxiety. Well, you have a choice of a Persian kitty or Chow dog. Fur helps with stress.” Maybe. I could see it. For instance, if you have an eating disorder the doctor may propose getting yourself a pot-belly pig. Perhaps if you have sex-related issue the doctor may suggest you get a few bunny rabbits. I wonder if the shrink says, “Okay, I’ll sign a form allowing you to use your poodle for emotional support but I need you to know that financial problems, career issues, finding a companion, exercising, eating healthy, enjoying life are your responsibility. A poodle can’t solve all your problems.

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What gets one to the point of needing an animal around to give them emotional support. A lazy husband? A nagging wife? A gossiping friend? An empty bank account? My question is, how does the animal help you with that? I could understand if you get fired from your job and your basset hound takes you out for a few drinks to drown your sorrows and the mutt pays. Or maybe after a long day at the office you collapse on the couch and your Maine Coon cat gives you a kneading massage on your back. Now that’s some support.

Dogs and cats are the most common ESA’s but there are plenty of whackos who have other types of companions used for backing. One man, out of Florida, uses an alligator as his support vessel. My guess is he doesn’t like to talk to people and the snapping reptile keeps folks away allowing him some peace and quiet which does wonders for the psyche. I am curious if that odd creature is allowed on planes. Could you imagine sitting next to that on a coast-to-coast flight? For me, having an alligator around wouldn’t provide me any emotional support, it would just make me a little edgy.

“Hi Ally, how are you today?”


“Ally, can I have my fingers back? You know I need those.”

Yeah, the gator would be at the bottom of my ESA list, next to the King Cobra and the Komodo dragon. I guess I’m more of a Guiney pig man. Anything without fur is a deal breaker. Fur therapeutic. Cold, rough scales, not so much.

I wonder why we have ESA’s. That should tell us something. Human beings aren’t good enough or capable enough of fulfilling our support needs. We’d rather hug a furry mammal, rodent or reptile rather than, say, our spouse.

“How was our day, honey?”

“Ummm, it was…. you know, I’m sorry, dear, but, if you don’t mind, I’d rather spend a little quality time with my squirrel, Chuckie.”

Isn’t it crazy that we can’t count on people to put us at ease? Why aren’t there any emotional support people? Simple. We’re selfish, uncaring monsters and, worst of all, we don’t care. But what’s it matter? If people don’t like you, hell, you can always get an emotional support animal.

I don’t know who thought of this ESA thing but, I love it. When do anyone of us feel best? When we’re with our pet. Those little buggers get us. They understand us. They never argue, make snide comments or second-guess us. They’re just the best. I do see how they would be instrumental in supporting us in those daily headache moments. You’re stuck in traffic and you’re about to explode in rage but then you look over to the passenger seat and there’s your ESA, maybe a seal, bobbing his head to the music on the radio. That’s serenity now. Before you know it, you’re as calm as lap kitty.

The emotional support animal has got to be the scam of the century. It is the perfect alibi to bring your pet with you everywhere you go.

“I’m sorry, sir, you can’t bring your alligator in here.”

“But it’s my emotional support animal.”

“Oh, okay, well just make sure he doesn’t bite the priest while he’s saying mass.”

Soon we might go into a Starbucks and see someone enjoying a Frappuccino with their horse. You could be at the movies one night and find yourself sitting next to a Saint Bernard with a bucket of popcorn in his paws. (I wonder if they cry during a sad rom-com.) You may dine in a five-star restaurant and find a man having a nice candle light dinner with a hamster sitting across from him. Could you fathom people making reservations?

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“Table for two.”

“Me and my Iguana.”

Perhaps the ESA that makes the most sense to me would be a parrot. It is the only one of the creatures to pick from that will actually talk to you. I think most people need verbal reassurance. You could teach your parrot to say things like, “Brock, “You’re not that lazy” when you piss away a whole day binge watching Netflix. Or, “I don’t see any wrinkles” or even, “Brock, you’re not fat.” Now that’s some emotional support. But if I ever decided to get an ESA, I think I would choose a chimp. I would like a lion with a big fluffy mange or even a polar bear, but the downside to that is they would eat me. If I’m searching for a little stability in my life, I don’t want to be looking over my shoulder every minute.

A chimp would make me laugh. I could imagine getting a phone call informing me that my ID had been stolen and my bank account has been drained. Instead of breaking down all I would need to do is look at the monkey and he would make one of those funny chimp faces and I’d be on the floor rolling in hysterics. To me, that is priceless emotional support.

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But look at me, trying to ruin your Christmas. I feel like the Grinch! So much for spreading holiday cheer. At least I never said “humbug.” You know what? Don’t listen to me. Forget everything I just said. I don’t know what came over me. Maybe I’m just having a bad hair day. Forgive me. It’s going to be a great Christmas! There’ll be family, friends, toys, pies, and all that good stuff. It’s time to get fat and drunk.  We deserve that after pushing through this pandemic, don’t we?

Bygone Buffoonery written by Jeff Charlebois

Jeff Charlebois

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