Gongol.com Archives: June 2024

Brian Gongol

June 7, 2024

Iowa The right support

A woman is in a dispute with the city of Chariton, Iowa, over her intention to keep a goose as an "emotional-support animal". At other times, from other places, we've heard of emotional-support boa constrictors, emotional-support pigs, and emotional-support alligators. ■ The idea of emotional bonding with certain familiar species of animals -- dogs, cats, horses, perhaps the occasional parakeet -- is nothing new. Dogs have been our pets for tens of thousands of years. And it's entirely possible that some people achieve satisfying attachments to animals of far-flung breeds. ■ But the claims to "emotional support" from far-flung members of the animal kingdom, known neither for their intelligence nor their warmth, strains credulity. There is, for instance, an entire Facebook group devoted to the titular claim that Canada Geese Are Jerks. ■ Modern life is indeed more complex than lift at any time in the past. We have to navigate many questions and challenges daily just in order to survive, and that can tax people whose mental composition isn't optimal for that complexity. ■ Perhaps, though, that should indicate to us something about the need to equip ourselves, both as individuals and as a society, with the tools to adapt and endure the struggles and hard times that come our way, rather than retreating into the imagined "emotional support" of species for which indifference to humans would be an improvement over their natural instincts. ■ Everyone needs mental tools to persist through especially troubling times, and sometimes just to get through ordinary days. But those tools are ultimately internal in nature, not things we can project onto other creatures and then relay back to ourselves, certainly not upon pains of losing access to housing.

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