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Greyhounds As Emotional Support Animals


Guest Wasabi303
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Guest Wasabi303

I am not sure if this is the right forum to be asking these questions, but I guess I will find out.

 

My greyhound is an ESA. We are going on our very first airplane ride together next month, and I am incredibly nervous. She has never been on a plane before and I have never flown with a service animal before. I am mostly worried that she will be uncomfortable on the plane and she might whine. I am also scared that the flight crew will get mad at me because she is too big. I understand my rights and I have all the paperwork.

 

Any tips/suggestions? Does anyone else have a greyhound ESA?

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I flew with a greyhound in the cabin once. You have to know your dog. Not all of mine would have been good and I made sure to be very aware and respectful of the other passengers.

 

How is your dog in public? How is she on a bus or even just a car ride? Does she whine and stand? If so, a plane ride may not be in her best interest. As much as she is a ESA for you, you should also be a comfort for her. Also be sure to check each airport that you will be at. I had a connection and wanted to take my dog outside to potty and when returning into the airport was notified that they don't accept pets in the general area. I had to do a lot of smooth talking to get back in. Even with paperwork. An ESA dog is very different than a service dog and they do not have the same rights.

 

On the plane they will let her sit or lay in the bulkhead (seats at the very front). She can not sit or put her feet on a seat and must be able to be controlled by command or leash. I have seen employees ask a passenger with a service pet to "control" them. Not everyone wants to pet your dog and not everyone is comfortable sitting by a pet.

 

All of that being said, my greyhound was a dream on the flight. I took a small roll up bed and she laid right down and didn't move until we landed. I enjoyed having her with me.

Edited by kamsmom

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~Beth, with a crazy mixed crew of misfits.
~ Forever and Always missing and loving Steak, Carmen, Ivy, Isis, and Madi.
Don't cry because it's ended, Smile because it happened.
Before you judge me, try to keep an open mind, not everyone likes your taste.

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Guest Wasabi303

My girl is really good in public, she is quiet and un-frightened by commotion. She has never been on a bus, but she is really good in the car.

 

Good to know that I bring her a little something to lay on, I think she will be great if I can do that. The worst thing she does is whine and stand when we are in rooms with hard floors, so if I have get her comfy I think she will be ok. Fortunately, we have a direct flight that is only a little over two hours.

 

Thanks for the advice!

 

ALSO: I have read conflicting things about whether or not she will need a health certificate. Thoughts?

Edited by Wasabi303
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Are you flying out of PDX? When I moved cross country this summer, my ILs flew with my cat to PDX. Alaska Airlines told us that PDX very strictly enforces the pet certificate requirements. Flying out of NC, no one cared about the cat's health certificate. After landing at PDX, they stopped BIL and checked all the cat's paperwork.

 

Not sure how being an ESA could affect the requirement, though.

Rebecca
with Atlas the borzoi, Luna the pyr, and Madison the cat, always missing Sahara(Flyin Tara Lyn) and Coltrane(Blue on By) the greyhounds

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I know virtually nothing about flying with an ESA, but a few thoughts from a trainer's perspective to set yourselves up for success. One, I would teach a "go to bed" or "go to mat" cue that includes duration where she learns to go and lie down on her bed on cue and then stay there until you release her. You don't need to send her from a distance, which is the hardest part to teach imo so this shouldn't be too tough to work on if you haven't already. Just practice with distractions, especially people walking by and loud noises.

 

Second, you might try a calming chew (I like Composure a lot) and give her an appropriate dosage at home one day when you're around to see how it affects her. It's in the can't hurt, might help keep her calm category, but I recommend trying it out in advance just to make sure it doesn't have some bizarre side effect for her (never heard of that happening with Composure, but better safe than sorry).

 

Lastly, if she likes stuffed kongs, I would make several and freeze them and bring them with you on the plane. If you don't think you can get them through security, pack the empty kongs and some treats in your carry on then buy some PB or yogurt at the airport and layer the treats with the other stuff to keep her busy. You could also pack bully sticks, himalayan chews, whatever she likes that will keep her busy and that you know won't upset her stomach.

 

Lastly, exercise her WELL before the trip, including getting in some good off leash running in the days leading up to the trip. Not sure what time you fly out, but day of, make sure you have time for a good romp or long walk and if she plays tug or fetch a good 10-20 min session of that as well to really get her good and tired.

 

You could potentially do none of this and have an uneventful trip, but basically my strategy would be to make sure my dog was good and tired and had plenty to keep him/her comfortable and busy on the flight. And yes, definitely a comfy bed. A certain dog of mine will stand and bark if he doesn't have a comfortable surface to lie on so I know your pain there. ;) Also, maybe a light coat, sweater or PJs as it tends to get cold on planes sometimes.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Was it Riley's mom who flew trans-Atlantic with an emotional support iggy--does anyone remember? Whoever it was, she was really nervous ahead of time and had a really great experience in the end and her fellow passengers loved her dog.

Beth, Petey (8 September 2018- ), and Faith (22 March 2019). Godspeed Patrick (28 April 1999 - 5 August 2012), Murphy (23 June 2004 - 27 July 2013), Leo (1 May 2009 - 27 January 2020), and Henry (10 August 2010 - 7 August 2020), you were loved more than you can know.

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Guest Clawsandpaws

Make sure you are allowed to fly with an ESA and have the appropriate paperwork. Although technically you don't have to prove a service dog is a "service dog" to the airlines due to ADA laws, you DO have to prove your dog is an ESA and bring paperwork. You should call the airline and make sure you have everything prepared ahead of time.

 

 

ETA: Also, make sure the airlines knows that she is a large dog, they may have to make accommodations. (I know that I have seen police K9s fly and the officer and dog had the whole row to themselves, other times I have seen large service dogs get two chair lengths of space.)

Edited by Clawsandpaws
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Guest Johberry

Our boy Enzo is DBF's ESA but haven't flown with him yet. Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't there different protocols depending on the airline and the destination? Regardless, have a safe flight and tell us how it all goes. I'm curious about the process.

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Guest Wasabi303

Thanks for all the advice. i am planning an calling the airline soon to double check some things, but I think we can do it. it will be a good experience for us both either way.

Regardless, have a safe flight and tell us how it all goes. I'm curious about the process.

I will! It seems like this may be an area where there is a lack of concrete information. Hopefully I will learn some things that I can pass on. But my flight is not until mid-December, so until then, further advice is appreciated!

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest Wasabi303

Alright people, tomorrow is the day. I am very nervous, but we are as ready as we can be. We have all our paperwork in order, called the airline (twice), have calming treats that we tested a few days ago to make she wasn't going to have a bad reaction. I made a little travel bed, and we practiced going to to lay down in strange places by pointing to the bed. Wasabi is clean and happy, about to eat a late dinner.

 

Please wish us luck tomorrow! :goodluck

 

At the very least, tomorrow we will learn something. I will update you all with what exactly that is!

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Guest Johberry

That's awesome that Wasabi knows to stay on her little bed! We have to teach Enzo that, too.

 

Anyhow, have a safe flight and trip! Hope everything goes well!

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Guest Wasabi303

We made it! :balloonparty

 

 

I am so incredibly proud of Wasabi and very thankful how kind and helpful all the airport and airline employees were. Wasabi was a trooper and stayed calm all day, even when she didn't exactly fit in the space on the plane! The passengers next to me very understanding and helpful.

 

I certainly got a few 'comments' from startled people, but overall this was a success. I will give more details and pictures later, but for now we are just happy to be at our destination.

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Wonderful!

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Robin, EZ (Tribal Track), JJ (What a Story), Dustin (E's Full House) and our beautiful Jack (Mana Black Jack) and Lily (Chip's Little Miss Lily) both at the Bridge
The WFUBCC honors our beautiful friends at the bridge. Godspeed sweet angels.

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Guest Wasabi303

Yes, i know what the acronym is, but i was wondering in practice, what an ESA is.

 

In practice, an ESA is an animal that provides someone who is diagnosed with mental-health disability with a service of some kind. The most common ESAs are dogs that help war veterans with PTSD. They have less rights than service dogs, such as a seeing eye dog, but they still have two privileges: air travel in the cabin and access to pet-free housing.

 

Hope this answers your question, and just to be clear, I am not a veteran.

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

Is there a nationally recognized program for certification? I am asking these questions because my mother has mental health issues and I think this would be something that could really help her.

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Guest Wasabi303

Is there a nationally recognized program for certification?

 

There are some scams online where you can 'register' the dog and they will send you documentation and a vest for the dog. But really all you need is a letter from a licensed mental health professional stating that she has a diagnosed issue and that the dog helps her with it. If she wants to fly with the dog, be sure to check with the airline to see what exactly they want the letter to say. As far as housing goes, I think you just show the letter to a landlord. There is a lot of information online about this, with citations to the specific laws.

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Guest sireltonsmom

Thanks for all the advice. i am planning an calling the airline soon to double check some things, but I think we can do it. it will be a good experience for us both either way.

 

I will! It seems like this may be an area where there is a lack of concrete information. Hopefully I will learn some things that I can pass on. But my flight is not until mid-December, so until then, further advice is appreciated!

I work with prison trained greyhounds, some of who, become service dogs. We had a boy graduate FRIDAY and go from the prison to the airport. He was fine on the plane and in the airport between flights in spite of delays etc. Hope you have a service dog jacket. You be confident and your sweet doggie should take the cue. Let us know how it goes. Happy Holidays.

Is there a nationally recognized program for certification? I am asking these questions because my mother has mental health issues and I think this would be something that could really help her.

 

Greyhounds make wonderful service dogs. Ask a few adoption groups or Google it. Good luck.

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