By Byron McNutt

DHI Media

This could happen. Let’s say you are one of 50 passengers crammed into Delta Flight 5332 from Central Wisconsin Airport to Detroit Metro Airport and 20 of your fellow passengers are traveling with either an emotional support animal or a service animal.

Sounds like a scene from the 1960s “Beverly Hillbillies” TV series and the Clampetts are moving to California with Elly May’s critters, doesn’t it?

The airlines are struggling to comply with enhanced requirements put into place by The Americans with Disabilities Act which protects the rights of passengers with disabilities. But, what about the rights of the average passenger?

To comply with the act, the airlines must allow fully trained service and support animals to fly in the cabin at no charge if they meet the requirements. Animals must be able to fit at your feet, under your seat or in your lap.

Emotional support animals are usually dogs or cats. They must be in a carrier or on a leash at all times. Service animals are also usually dogs or cats, but may include miniature horses, says Southwest Airlines. But that might require very special circumstances, officials say.

You will be glad to know: service animals may not protrude into or block aisles, occupy a seat (unless the seat is paid for) and may not eat from the tray table. If these rules aren’t followed, the animal may need to be checked as a pet.

Imagine being a typical middle-seat passenger on a three-hour flight and being flanked by passengers holding 30-pound dogs. Or, boarding a plane and being told by the flight crew that the cleaning staff has been called in to clean-up a mess left on/under your cramped seat by the previous passenger’s service animal.

You will be relieved to know that the animal must be trained to behave properly in public, must not display any form of disruptive behavior that can’t be successfully corrected or controlled ... that means they cannot growl, bite or lunge at people.

The rules state that some animals can’t be permitted on planes due to safety or for public health risk. That means passengers can’t claim ferrets, goats, reptiles, rodents, snakes, chickens or other types of birds as service animals.

Service animals must be clean and not have an offensive odor. The rules say the animal must be trained to not relieve itself if on a flight up to eight hours, unless it can be done in a way that doesn’t create a health or sanitation issue.

The law makes it clear that emotional support animals provide emotional, psychiatric or cognitive support for individuals with disabilities. To learn more, search service and emotional support animals on airlines. Flying can be a hoot.

• • •

A good message to share with those close to you is to create your own reality, and let your heart do the talking.

Following is a story using former Russian Olympian Vasily Alexeev as the example. Alexeev was the strongest man in the world. He would break the world weight lifting record by a pound each time he performed. He broke the record dozens of times. He did it that way because he would be financially rewarded by the government for each new record.

The story goes ... in college, a sales group would sell coupon books door-to-door, and they had a term, “create our own reality.” This meant that as soon as someone broke a sales record, it changed our entire outlook on our job.

If the record was 20 books in four hours, and someone sold 25, we were no longer happy selling 20. Every day we tried to create a new reality.

The same was true of Alexeev. He was trying to break the 500-pound barrier. He had lifted 499 pounds, but couldn’t lift 500.

Finally, his trainers put 501.5 pounds on his bar, but rigged it so it looked like 499 pounds. Of course, you know the story. He lifted it easily.

Once he created this new reality, other weight lifters went on to break the great Alexeev’s records, which seemed impossible.

The limits we set for ourselves exist in our mind. Sometimes, if we let our hearts do the talking and believe in our ability to overcome past perceptions, we can create another reality.

• • •

About 35 years ago I met and interviewed the Honorable Robert Gollmar, who was a lawyer for over 50 years and a judge for more than 24 years. He was a circuit judge in central Wisconsin. At the time, Judge Gollmar had just written a book titled Edward Gein: Wisconsin’s Most Bizarre Murderer. A previous book was titled Tales of a Country Judge. He wrote about his most dramatic cases and unforgettable experiences, including this one.

One day in Montello, a beautiful young woman came in for a divorce. She was a school teacher and obviously intelligent. Gollmar said he looked at the husband, a gawky type who, to use a country expression, was “behind the door when the brains were passed out.”

He took the stand and in a bewildered manner explained what happened. He had worked at a filling station and this woman would come in and buy gas. She would invite him to her home. Options are limited in rural areas.

He told us: “I never did understand. I would go down there and when I got there she would be all dressed for bed, so I couldn’t see why she wanted company.”

Apparently she finally got the message across to him and they married. She arranged for the wedding night to be spent in a Portage motel. Since he ran a farm which his mother owned, the chores had to be done, and it was further agreed that he would do the chores and meet his new bride afterwards.

The chores took a little longer than he anticipated and “It was getting dark already, so I just thought I’d stay home with Ma and pick her (his new wife) up in the morning.”

End of marriage.