ESA Weekly News Report September 3rd: Service Mini Horses on Planes and NFL’s First Emotional Support Dog

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dog reads esa news

This week, we’re bringing you one service animal and one emotional support animal story. The first is about a new Department of Transportation regulation allowing miniature horses on planes. The second is a heartwarming story of the San Francisco 49ers’ companion animal. Get a cup of coffee and keep reading!

Service Miniature Horses Welcome on Planes Now

Up until August, the Department of Transportation was murky with its service animal guidelines. Despite miniature horses being considered service animals since 2010, there were no clear-cut regulations about their air travel. That has now changed with the new notice the DOT issued a few weeks ago.

Miniature horses are now welcome to travel with their owners by plane. They will need to follow the same guidelines set for service dogs. They can fly domestically and internationally, granted that the destination’s customs allows it.

These larger service animals will fly at their owners’ feet. They will need to check into a seat that has extra legroom. They will also have to take bathroom breaks before boarding, for safety and hygiene concerns.

This will only apply to miniature horses that have been professionally trained.

service miniature horse walking around air field


San Francisco 49ers Say Hello to Emotional Support Dog

The San Francisco 49ers have made headlines by being the first NFL team to adopt an emotional support dog. Zoë, a young French Bulldog, is to provide emotional comfort to the professional players.

This brilliant idea came from Austin Moss, the team’s director of engagement after a player lost his sister to suicide earlier in 2018. Soloman Thomas, a player, highlighted that playing in the league is a stressful and hard job for many.

Both Moss and Thomas believe having Zoë around will help the players. She is now an emotional support dog but, in the future, could become a therapy dog instead. So far, many team members have said Zoë’s presence is “really relaxing” and “calming.”

You can follow their adventures on Zoë’s Instagram page.

emotional support animal jack russell dressed as football player


CertaPet’s Views on This Week’s News

It’s another great day for service animals and their owners! Miniature horses make awesome service buddies, so we’re happy to see them on flights. The Department of Transportation has definitely done the right thing.

But keep in mind that emotional support miniature horses are banned from flying! Only emotional support dogs and cats can travel by plane with their owners. Because of this, CertaPet’s licensed mental health professionals (LMHPs) only recommend getting one of these traditional companion animals.

We’re also thrilled to see Zoë cheering up professional players and being such a hit online. It’s important to spread the message that animal-assisted therapy is a real thing!

If you struggle with mental health issues, do like the San Francisco 49ers and get an ESA by your side! CertaPet makes this process easy and accessible. To start out, take our free 5-minute pre-screening today. We’ll put you in touch with a licensed mental health professional in your state who will handle the rest of the process.

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