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?

Reduce anxiety

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.


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12 Comments

  1. People so often confuse Service Animals & ESA's. I appreciate your clarification.

    IMM #6

  2. My son would love a dog for this very reason …but alas those with a disability often have a very low income and pet ownership is way beyond their reach. However, I have heard of some rescue organizations who retain ownership to make long-term fostering a possibility. The criteria also applies to elderly-brilliant!

  3. Little Girl is the cutest little Beagle! I'm so glad you have each other, Paula!

  4. I think support animals are wonderful! I'm so glad you have your Little Girl, Paula, truly a blessing from the Lord. Thank you for bringing attention to this wonderful resource!

  5. You're welcome Barb.

  6. I've read about those organizations too Jan. Thanks for visiting my friend.

  7. Thank you for your kind words Lisa.

  8. You're so welcome Donna. She truly is a blessing.

  9. I love this post Paula! ESA's can make such a difference in someone's life. So many people are unaware that there are other options available if they do not qualify for a certified Service Animal. Thank you for highlighting this and I'm so glad for you and your little fur baby. How lucky you both are to have found each other!

  10. Sometimes a pet companion can make all the difference ♥ Thanks so much for linking up at the A Themed Linkup 120 for All About Pets. Shared.

  11. You're very welcome Denise. And thank you for your kind words. Blessings.

  12. CONGRATS Paula! Your post is FEATURED at A Themed Linkup 121 for Fall Crafts and Décor from the previous linkup for All About Pets.

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