Woman Says She Took Duck on Plane for Emotional Support: 'Daniel Takes Care of Me'
The owner of a duck that has become a viral sensation after boarding a plane with other passengers is speaking out, saying she relies on her web-footed friend to help her deal with stress.
Carla Fitzgerald, who owns mild-mannered mallard Daniel, says she needs the duck for support due to her battle with post-traumatic stress following a traffic accident.
"It is different strokes for different folks," she told Inside Edition. "Daniel takes care of me, just like someone's dog takes care of them."
She added: "It is necessary for Daniel to be with me in anything I get into, particularly cars. Anytime I am traveling anywhere Daniel has to be with me."
Daniel is allowed on flights because he is officially certified as an Emotional Support Animal and was photographed Monday on a flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Ashville.
Daniel always has to wear a diaper and often dons red booties as he travels.
Fitzgerald treats Daniel like a member of the family and while he may fly coach, he gets first-class treatment at home in Milwaukee. He eats spaghetti at the kitchen table, plays a keyboard and even attends concerts with Fitzgerald.
Unusual service animals on planes are a growing phenomenon, much to the annoyance of some other passengers.
Aviation expert Ed Booth isn't a big fan of service animals.
"It has reached a level of absurdity," he said. "Bringing your backyard pet with you on a long or short commercial flight endangers the safety and comfort of your other passengers."
Fitzgerald disagrees, saying "he is able to keep me calm on flights and travel." She also notes that many passengers tell her how much they enjoy having the duck onboard.