It's not uncommon for emotional support dogs to take trips on airplanes with their owners. However an emotional support duck is a different story.
Meet Daniel Turducken Stinkerbutt, known as Daniel the Duck. He's an emotional support animal for 37-year-old Carla Fitzgerald, who has been battling post-traumatic stress disorder ever since a bad accident in 2013.
It’s not every day that you get to see a duck on an airplane, especially one that’s wearing adorable red shoes and a Captain America diaper. So it’s no surprise that he caught people’s eye – both those on the plane and millions others looking at his photos online.
Carla Fitzgerald, the duck's owner, told a passenger that Daniel is a 4-year-old Indian runner and cannot fly.
During the flight, Daniel comforted his owner with gentle quacking and tail wagging. Fitzgerald acquired the unusual support animal after she suffered extensive injuries in a horse-carriage accident.
It was Fitzgerald's first time flying since the 2013 accident, she said. Carla told reporters that she wouldn’t have been able to leave the house after the accident. But Daniel's "hugs and kisses" gave her the "comfort and confidence" she needed to make it through.
Fitzgerald had a letter from her doctor in which he states that it is in her best interest to have Daniel around as a support animal. She presented it to the flight crew so they’d allow the duck on board. They presented Mr. Turducken Stinkybottom with a “Certificate of First Flight”.
Since the accident, Daniel has accompanied Fitzgerald everywhere, mostly car rides. Fitzgerald does not have any other immediate travel plans but said that Daniel will no doubt accompany her on her next trip.
However, Fitzgerald might be a little more prepared next time since, as her friends put it, "Daniel broke the Internet" after his first plane ride.
"I didn't know that a little Indian Runner duck who weighs six pounds could cause such an uproar," she said.