So Long Pebbles The Support Hamster

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As a former copy editor many years ago, you learn to appreciate an odd story and an unusual headline. Here’s a few recent ones.

Tell us what you think. Maybe we can make this a regular feature:

Woman says airline suggested she flush her emotional support hamster down the toilet. So she did.

Indian man arrested for selling wife’s kidney, which she didn’t know was missing

Military Refuses to Participate in Trump’s Parade, Citing Bone Spurs

Under Pressure from Fox News, Obama to Stop Making Stocks Plummet

Trump thinks not clapping for him is ‘treasonous’

 

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5 thoughts on “So Long Pebbles The Support Hamster

  1. I like the idea of letting people comment on these stories.

    Many people will read the title of the story concerning Pebbles and shake their heads or LOL. Unfortunately, there are people in our society who suffer from mental health issues and need support any way they can get it. Many do so through the companionship of dogs, cats, etc, and yes, even hamsters. I have heard people “say” how important it is to provide support for people in need, yet, when a story such as this one surfaces, the general populace shakes their collective heads and says “OMG, what next?” We live in a society where empathy is dying a slow, slow death.

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    1. Sisco, I agree with the general tenor of your comment. There is a subset of our society that takes great comfort from their pets. Who are we to decide which types of pet is acceptable, and which ones are not? Why is a cat or a dog an acceptable comfort pet, but a hamster isn’t?

      Having said that, there are other subsets of society that suffer from anxiety, such as a fear of dogs. Others have allergies to some types of pet hair or dander. Whose rights override? In the context of air travel, travelers are seated in an airtight, relatively densely packed cylinder. Rearranging seat assignments to move someone away from a pet carrier can often be a challenge. Why should a person who is allergic to animal hair, be forced to sit beside or near an animal that will trigger an allergic reaction?

      Airlines publish their rules regarding transporting animals. Most relegate the pet to the baggage compartment. Is this fair? Fairness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Unfortunately, there are a few individuals who decide that their situation is special, and choose to flout the rules. Thus pictures of a comfort turkey or comfort peacock being brought on board an airplane. Are these legitimate comfort animals, or are these passengers just a variant of the selfish oafs who try to stuff a hockey bag sized piece of luggage into the overhead bin, in order to avoid the $25 or $50 checked baggage fee? As is often the case, it is the few bad apples that spoil the barrel.

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  2. Valid points all, Ron. The primary issue here is a representative of the airline originally told Pebbles’ owner that the hamster “would” be allowed to travel on the ‘plane. (The owner checked with the airline and followed the advice of their representative.) The answer that should have been given to the young lady is “you can check our regulations regarding regulations associated with traveling with pets at . . .”. If the young lady had had an issue with what she found, or didn’t find anything, she could have sought an alternate method of transportation. In my opinion, this is where everything fell apart.

    As the issue heated up the executives of the airplane stepped in and, in my opinion, tried to minimize the issue. (Wait, this is beginning to sound like someone at city hall who has lately been minimizing all his shortcomings.) Hopefully they did “something” to comfort the young lady.

    That having been said, it’s not possible for an organization to account for every permutation and combination of issues that can arise, but the concept of companion pets is not new in western culture.

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    1. Sisco, I read the story in the National Post the other day. The situation was poorly handled by the airline, from beginning to end.

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  3. Agreed. And similar situations are occurring far too frequently these days. No one accepts responsibility for their actions in government, business, the education system, etc. After all is said and done, this a much bigger issue and probably the root cause for the lack of empathy I mentioned earlier.

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