It seems that this past American Airlines flight.
Although Flirty herself was perfectly calm about the whole business, she managed to cause something of a stir among fellow passengers and those who spotted the little mare checking in at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) on August 29, 2019.
The seven-year-old, 135-pound service animal is specially trained to provide medical alerts and mobility assistance in much the same way a dog would, as well as providing emotional and psychological support when her owner gets overwhelmed since Hensley also suffers from PTSD.
— Amberley Babbage (@AmberleyBabbage) August 30, 2019
Miniature horses are actually the only alternative species to dogs used as trained service animals allowed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Minis can live up to 35 years, tripling the working lifespan that could be expected from their canine counterparts.
Hensley, a resident of Bellevue, Nebraska, who is reportedly allergic to dogs, paired up with Flirty in 2017, according to a recent article about the duo in the Omaha World-Herald.
American Airlines staff were nothing but gracious about hosting the little equine passenger onboard and Flirty was on her best behavior, but Hensley wrote afterward on social media that they will be reserving air travel for emergencies in the future, continuing to travel by car where possible, because it’s easier on both herself and her horse.
In a tweet, Hensley explained: “It’s just too difficult to make sure Flirty doesn’t inconvenience other passengers. Because my airport is smaller, the planes are smaller and don’t have solid bulkheads. Flirty couldn’t help jostling seat of the person in the last row of first-class every time she moved.” She continued, “I’m so proud of her! I couldn’t have asked for better behavior.”
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