Daniel the duck helps soothe his owner’s PTSD on a plane

June 7, 2017 4:48 pm Last Updated: June 7, 2017 4:48 pm


Daniel the duck is a one-of-a-kind, emotional-support animal that’s even allowed on a plane!

Daniel is an Indian Runner duck who was spotted by author Mark Essig back in October on a flight from Charlotte to Asheville, NC, accompanying his owner who has post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“To me, having an emotional support duck is normal—it’s my new normal,” the owner, Carla Fitzgerald, told The Washington Post.

The duck’s owner said the animal gives soothing cuddles and soft quacking noises to help her forget her fear of flying. He can also sense if she may be having a panic attack and encourages her to lie down.

Carla’s PTSD started after a horrible accident. She had been a horse and carriage driver and was hit from behind by a car, sending her flying onto a metal drawbridge and leaving her severely injured. She said it took four months to learn how to walk again.

Carla adopted Daniel in 2012, before her accident, but the duck was able to adjust to his owner’s new situation and provide endless comfort and support.

Now Daniel goes everywhere with Carla, and he also looks pretty cute with his bright red shoes and a diaper.

Some people have become upset with the US Department of Transportation rules allowing support animals inside planes, accusing pet owners of bending the rules just to bring their animals aboard. But Carla says most people don’t understand how helpful support animals can be.

“Who are we to say what is and what isn’t an emotional support animal?” she said. It sure didn’t bother writer and historian Mark Essig who kept snapping pictures of Daniel throughout the flight and posting them on Twitter. Essig also got some therapeutic support from Daniel. He wrote, “[Daniel’s] gentle quacking eases the sadness of leaving .”