Chances are, you are familiar with Service Animals. But have you heard of Emotional Support Animals (ESA)?
Animals have long been on our farms, in our homes, and hearts as our beloved pets. These furry family members are near and dear to us. They are with us through thick and thin. And not only that, our furry family members show us, unconditional love.
What is an Emotional Support Animal?
Very Well Mind tells us that An emotional support animal is an animal companion that offers some type of benefit to an individual with some form of disability. The animal is intended to provide companionship and support that will help alleviate at least one aspect of the disability.
Dogs are the most common type of emotional support animal, but cats are also pretty common. Other animals, such as miniature horses, can also serve as ESAs.
Keep in mind that an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is NOT the same, nor does it have the exact requirements, training, and certification as a Support Animal. Support animals can legally go wherever their owners go due to their certificates.
An ESA does not require special certification to assist you with your condition. Emotional Support Animals are allowed in your rented housing accommodations that generally do not allow pets and are permitted to travel with you on buses, planes, and trains.
BUT ONLY if you have an Emotional Support Animal Letter from your Psychiatrist or sometimes a medical doctor. You will have to provide the letter and a copy of it if you rent your home or apartment.
Also, if you are traveling by plane or train, you will be required to provide your letter and also possibly fill out a pet travel form and pay a pet fee. They will still need your ESA to be in a carrier.
Emotional support animals DO NOT have the same level of public access as service dogs. ESA’s cannot go into the doctor’s office or hospital or go into stores and restaurants with you. They usually can not go to work with you either.
What are the benefits of an Emotional Support Animal?
Provide trauma support
Improve physical health
Fewer feelings of loneliness
Reciprocal care and love
Meet Little Girl
She’s my spoiled rotten, delightful, amusing, fur kid. She’s a little beagle. I have a letter from my Psychiatrist and she is allowed to live with me in a housing community that does not generally allow dogs.
During times of server anxiety when I cry she jumps up on me. First, she licks my face, then she lays her head down to where her neck is laying over my neck. She stays that way until I am settled.
She goes everywhere with me in the car. I have to tell you that it is so weird and strange when I have to go somewhere without her like to the doctor or store. Normally I do Wal-Mart grocery pick-up due to having panic attacks and crying every now and again when I go shopping.
She has epilepsy and needs medication daily. She’s my fir kid, my best friend. And, we take care of each other.