[Hat tip: Instapundit.]
Apparently there was some disturbance on a Frontier Airlines flight last Tuesday involving a monkey. But not to worry; it was a monkey with a job:
The monkey that reportedly got “loose” on a Las Vegas-bound Frontier Airlines flight from Ohio late Tuesday was a certified service animal, airline officials said.
Melissa Nunnery, a spokeswoman for McCarran International Airport, initially said a Frontier staff member reported to McCarran “that the monkey was loose, or got loose” briefly during the flight, but couldn’t clarify what “loose” meant.
Early Wednesday, the airline clarified that the monkey was in the main cabin, but never broke free during the flight.
“The monkey was never loose in the cabin,” Frontier spokesman Richard Oliver said Wednesday. “It was always with the passenger it was traveling with.”
Now, lest you think this is absurd on the face of it, understand that monkeys can indeed be bona fide service animals for people who have lost some or all of the use of their hands. Monkeys (particularly capuchins) have a lot of manual dexterity and of course are very smart and nimble. For example, since 1979:
[Monkey Helpers has been] a non-profit organization that helps adults with spinal cord injuries and other mobility impairments live more independent and engaged lives. We do this by providing them, free of charge, with a unique service animal: a highly trained capuchin monkey to help with their daily tasks. The only organization of our kind, we raise and train these special service animals, carefully match them with appropriate recipients across the nation, and provide active support and care for the duration of each placement.
I had heard of this service many years ago, but I’d never watched any of the YouTube videos, which are moving in human terms and fascinating in terms of animal behavior. There are many many videos on YouTube about this, but here are a few typical ones:
It seems like a very worthwhile charity.
But let’s get back to that plane. The article failed to clarify whether the monkey on the plane was an animal owned by a person with a hand mobility problem, which would have made the entire episode understandable. But that doesn’t appear to be the case; this monkey was described as an “emotional support animal”:
It’s unclear what type of monkey it was, but Nunnery said the monkey was an emotional support animal, adding that “the passenger had all the proper paperwork to have the monkey on the plane with him.”
I’m all for emotional support. But how about the tried-and-true stuffed animal for that? Because to a certain extent I think this “emotional support animal” bit can sometimes be a scam by a person who just likes to take his/her animal everywhere and manages to get a doctor to sign off on it.
Which reminds me (I couldn’t find a video of the original version):
And now that I’ve paid my sincere respects to the actual monkeys that help the actual disabled, I cannot resist posting this classic comedy bit from “The Pink Panther.” And no, a chimpanzee is neither a monkey nor a minkee. But boy, Peter Sellers was a genius, wasn’t he?: