Mark Essig(NEW YORK) — Meet Daniel Turducken Stinkerbutt, a.k.a. Daniel the Duck.
He’s an “emotional support” animal for 37-year-old Carla Fitzgerald, who has been battling post-traumatic stress disorder ever since a bad accident in 2013.
Daniel rose to fame this past weekend when he accompanied Fitzgerald on two airplane flights — one from her hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Charlotte, North Carolina, and then another from Charlotte to Asheville, North Carolina.
“Everyone just took notice of him and fell in love,” she said. “I mean, he’s an adorable, funny and sweet lil’ guy. He was very well-behaved at the airport and during the flight.
“I think his little red shoes and Captain America diaper were also really well-received,” Fitzgerald added with a laugh.
It had been Fitzgerald’s first time flying since the 2013 accident that left her with PTSD, she said.
The 37-year-old said she was “incredibly nervous” — given that “just leaving the house can be terrifying” — but Daniel’s “hugs and kisses” gave her the “comfort and confidence” she needed to make it through.
Fitzgerald added that Daniel has been of help to her “in so many other ways.” For example, she said he can tell when she’s about to have a panic attack and even puts his feet on her chest as a cue to lay down.
The 37-year-old said her doctor has written her an official a letter noting that Daniel is an integral part of her PTSD treatment. Fitzgerald added that she used the letter to get clearance for Daniel to join her onboard their recent flight.
“Some people have therapy dogs, others have cats. I have a duck,” Fitzgerald told ABC News. “I hope more people can accept that a duck can make a very good, loving and loyal companion and support animal.”
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