WHAT IS AN EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL AND HOW TO GET ONE

 

What is an emotional support animal and how to get one

What is an emotional support animal and how to get one


The health benefits of owning a pet have been recognized for years. The companionship, affection and unconditional love that they provide can make their owners happy and less stressed. A 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine reported that owning a pet can "reduce stress, high blood pressure, anxiety, and symptoms of depression."
 
When a person has an animal that helps alleviate the symptoms of their mental illness, it is called an emotional support animal.
 Emotional support animals provide comfort and companionship to a person with a disability.

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 What is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?

An emotional support animal (ESA) is any domestic animal that provides psychological and/or emotional benefits to its owner. If someone is feeling down or out, just holding the animal can sometimes calm them down.  Having this animal by their side can keep them from going to a worse place.
 
Your ESA capabilities depends on how you train it to serve you well. Many ESAs have not been trained at all: their mere presence is enough to gain psychological benefits.

What is an emotional support animal and how to get one


What is an ESA letter? 

A letter from the ESA is the only legal way to prove that your pet is an emotional support animal. You should pick up the letter from a doctor or licensed mental health professional, including a therapist, psychiatrist, or psychologist. The letter confirms that you have a diagnosed mental illness and that your pet provides you with mental and/or emotional benefits.
 
However, there are many places where ESA letters are not accepted. In fact, unlike service dogs, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not protect emotional support animals. It is up to each individual business, such as hotels and retail stores, to accept or decline your ESA.

 How to get an emotional support animal
 
If you have lived with an animal on mental health benefits and have seen a licensed mental health professional, you can ask them to write an ESA letter for you to prove it is in your best interests.
 
The process is different if you don't currently have a animal and want to get one. You will want to choose an animal that will suit your mental and emotional needs; Most people prefer dogs. The next step would be to get an ESA letter from your licensed mental health professional.

 ESA Animal Eligibility
 
To qualify for an emotional support animal, you must have a diagnosed mental illness or disability, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. A licensed mental health professional or physician should understand that your ESA is providing you with psychological and/or emotional benefits.

 ESA dog vs. assistance dog vs. Therapy dog
 
Emotional support animals and service animals are not considered pets. An ESA provides comfort and companionship. According to the ADA, service animals must be dogs and are always trained to perform specific tasks that help their owners do things every day.


A service dog is like a mediciner with four legs and a tail, because they are necessary for daily operations. While emotional support dogs require a letter from the ESA for some licenses, service dogs do not need to be certified. It is illegal for a person working in a business or government agency to request a document for a service dog. Service dogs are allowed almost everywhere, while joining an ESA is at the discretion of the foundation.
 
Therapy dogs are used for companionship and comfort, like ESA, except that they have received extensive training and interaction for this purpose. You can see them being used in large companies, schools, libraries and hospitals.

Therapy dogs need to be calm... They need to be well-trained, well-behaved, socialized and able to listen to instructions well.

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 Can Emotional Support Dogs Fly on Airplanes?
 
Before 2021, emotional support animals can travel with their owners for free. But due to changes in the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), airlines are no longer required to accept ESAs. Emotional support dogs are allowed in the cabin on most airlines

If your ESA does not meet the requirements, it may fly to an airport or not be allowed to fly at all.

The Mental Health Benefits of Pets Emotional Support
 
Emotional support animals have many mental health benefits.

 Here are some ways an ESA dog can benefit your mental health:
 
 Get rid of anxiety:

Just looking at or petting [an ESA] can bring you back, Okay, everything is fine now. They can completely change your mood when you're in a bad mood. 

 Eliminate the symptoms of depression:

People can be depressed and walk out their front door to see their dog staring at them. It can change their whole day. 

 Providing support for people with PTSD:

 Suffering can make people feel nervous, anxious, and pessimistic. The comfort of a dog can help reduce these symptoms.

 Help those who are lonely or sad:

 A person who is lonely or experiencing loss can benefit from joining an ESA. 

Reduce stress levels:

Having a dog by your side can help you relieve stress. In fact, dogs have been shown to reduce physical symptoms of stress such as high blood pressure and increased heart rate.
 
Suitable pets for emotional support animal selection
 
Any domestic animal can be an emotional support animal; However, the most popular in the eyes are dogs. Some popular dog breeds for ESA include golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, poodles, and Yorkshire terriers.
 
Other common ESA animals include cats, pigs, birds, rabbits, and miniature horses.
 
Understanding the Legal Aspects of Emotional Support Dogs
 
The only legally accepted document that can prove that you have an emotional support animal is a letter from the ESA.

Landlords cannot deny you the right to live with your ESA, even if the property is listed as "no pets." Family law protects your right to live with your emotional support animal. If your application is denied, you can review your application by filing a discrimination complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
 
Neither the ADA nor the ACAA protect emotional support animals. This means that they are not considered essential service dogs and may refuse to enter any business or airline.

Pet insurance for emotional support animals
 
There is no special pet insurance for emotional support animals, but you will want your ESA to have the best pet insurance. Making sure it's covered will give you peace of mind, both for your ESA and your wallet. 

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