"I didn’t have any other options," says Belen Aldecosea, so she opted for a pretty awful one: She flushed her dwarf hamster down the toilet. The 21-year-old Florida woman says she was compelled to do so because of Spirit Airlines, which she says verified twice on the phone that she'd be able to bring Pebbles on her Nov. 21 flight from Baltimore to Fort Lauderdale. The Miami Herald reports that when she got to the airport, she says Spirit had changed its tune and wouldn't let the pet aboard. Aldecosea says she was stuck: Her nearest friends were hours away in Chambersburg, Penn., at Wilson College, a school she was leaving in order to have a painful but benign neck growth removed at home. The medical issue created a time crunch.
She says a Spirit rep had a suggestion: flush Pebbles. And so Aldecosea says she spent 10 minutes crying in the stall where she did the deed. She says she's considering suing Spirit over losing Pebbles, who she says was classified as an emotional support animal. Spirit denies the flushing recommendation occurred, though it did confirm Aldecosea was erroneously told the hamster would be permitted on board in a support animal capacity. Read the Herald's full story, which also details Aldecosea's attempts to get home via car, here. (An emotional support peacock grabbed headlines last month.)