Carla Fitzgerald, 37, has been living with post-traumatic stress disorder ever since her accident in 2013. She was driving a horse and carriage around Milwaukee when a driver, who happened to be texting on her phone, struck her. Fitzgerald was thrown from her carriage, and she couldn't walk or use her arm the same way for months.
It isn't unusual for doctors to recommend emotional support dogs for people with PTSD and other conditions. Fitzgerald's doctor prescribed her with Daniel the Duck. That's right. Daniel has been successful in sensing when his human is going to have a panic attack and calming her. In addition to offering hugs and kisses, he knows to place his webbed feet on her chest to remind her to lie down when an attack is imminent.
For the first time since her accident Fitzgerald boarded a plane, from Milwaukee to Charlotte before continuing onto Asheville, and Daniel was by her side the whole time. She wasn't the only one who benefited from his presence. Other passengers took a liking to the waterbird as well. I suppose you can call it 'love at first flight.'
IT HAS A PIECE OF PAPER WITH IT THAT SAYS "My first flight!" AND ITS QUACKING A LOT pic.twitter.com/IdQhyMZXLW— kayl (@kaylshake) October 16, 2016
**Emotional support animals, or ESAs, are on the rise, according to a 2013 article published by WSJ. The most common ESAs are dogs but people also look to miniature horses, chinchillas, and other animals to help them feel calm at home and in public.**
**Though an unlikely stabilizer, Daniel is a natural soother and entertainer. The other passengers were non-stop Tweeting about him. Check out his red foot covers.**
Daniel, the duck on my flight, likes to look at the clouds. pic.twitter.com/YiOjCvZ0NO— Mark Essig (@mark_essig) October 16, 2016
**His quiet quacks help calm Fitzgerald, who noted that she has been terrified to leave the house since her accident.**
**We associate ducks with water but we've never really considered them as emotional support animals or as flyers. By the way, did you know that some ducks can actually fly? If you spot one in the air, it's more likely to be a wild duck than a domestic one. Check it out on YouTube!**
Here is a 3-second video of Daniel the emotional support duck. His human says, 'and wagging? That's happy.' pic.twitter.com/WElW9d827o— Mark Essig (@mark_essig) October 17, 2016