We all know that people can get extremely close to their pets. This is especially true of celebrities who love to take their dogs with them when they travel, their fluffy friends always peeking out of their Gucci handbags as they stride through the arrivals terminal. But for many famous people, emotional support animals are much more than a pampered pet to keep them company as they jet around the world racking up airline miles. Rather, emotional support animals are a necessity to keep them calm and cheerful and to help them resist their addictions (all that alcohol in small bottles can be mighty tempting if you’re feeling stressed). The bonds that celebrities form with their ESA dogs are a real source of emotional comfort and joy.
Here are three celebrities who benefited greatly from spending time with their emotional support animals and who would never be without them whether they were walking down the street, posing on the red carpet or boarding their next flight.
Carrie Fisher and Gary
The late Carrie Fisher was used to being in the limelight. But ever since the actress rose to stardom as Princess Leia in the Star Wars trilogy as a 19-year-old, she dealt with drug and alcohol problems. She was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 29. Although Fisher had always been open about her issues, the media often dismissed them as being self-indulgent celebrity antics.
It’s not surprising that Fisher’s French Bulldog, Gary, also became a media star in his own right. He even had his own Instagram account. Gary was Fisher’s ESA dog, but he was also a public example of how a therapy dog could help someone overcome mental health issues. The two were very close in what she described as a “complicated and essential” relationship.
“Gary is like my heart,” Fisher said. “Gary is very devoted to me, and that calms me down. He’s anxious when he’s away from me.”
Gary regularly made appearances on the red carpet and talk shows with Fisher, and many people think he should have been in movies, too.
Henry Cavill and Kal-El
The last thing you’d ever expect is an actor who plays Superman to be afraid of flying, but that’s exactly what British actor Henry Cavill is. Cavill shot to fame faster than a speeding bullet playing Clark Kent in the 2013 film Man of Steel. With his chiseled jaw and confident manner, he is the perfect actor to play Superman. But he needs an emotional support dog to even set foot on a plane.
Being afraid of flying is extremely inconvenient for the actor who needs to travel all over the world to work on films. For this reason, Cavill has an Akita named Kal-El (Superman’s name on the planet Krypton), who is allowed to accompany him on board the plane.
An Akita is a large breed of dog that originates from Japan. They were originally used for guarding royalty. They are affectionate and respectful dogs that are also very soft and cuddly. The perfect emotional support animals for anyone who gets jittery in the air to stroke, calm down and take their mind off things. Kal-El wears a vest with the words “Working. Do not pet. Emotional Support Dog” emblazoned on it so people know that he’s not just a pet when he and Cavill arrive at the airport.
Kristin Chenoweth and Maddie
An overemotional and upset celebrity on a plane is something that airlines strive to avoid. If there is any problem, it’s likely the media will get wind of it, and it will be plastered all over the internet. So most celebrities usually won’t have any trouble getting their emotional support animals through check-in, especially if they have the correct emotional support animal letter to justify their pet jetting off with them.
But on occasion, you do hear of a celebrity who has had a problem boarding a plane with their ESA dog. Actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth has appeared in Broadway shows such as Wicked and the TV series Glee and, up until recently, was always accompanied by a fluffy Maltese called Madeleine, or Maddie for short. Unfortunately, Maddie has since passed away, but she was Chenoweth’s ESA dog. Maddie kept the actress relaxed and happy when she was away from home working.
One time when she tried to board a flight from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Los Angeles, Chenoweth was told she couldn’t because she didn’t have the right companion dog certification. After a harsh reprimand from the check-in agent, which resulted in Chenoweth bursting into tears, the problem was resolved. Chenoweth and Maddie could fly in peace. The airline refunded her money and issued an apology, but unfortunately, it was too late to stop Chenoweth taking to Twitter to voice her frustration. Then everyone knew exactly what airline it was that gave her trouble.
Generally, airlines are usually good about allowing emotional support animals on board and do not charge for them to be there. They don’t have to be contained in a carrier. The only general rule of thumb is that they must not weigh more than 20 pounds and must be at least 8 weeks old. Also, you must check them in at the counter. An ESA letter from a mental health or medical doctor dated within a year must be presented at least 48 hours before flying so the airline can check its authenticity.