Archive for the ‘Emotional Support Animal’ Category

Anyone who has ever owned a pet knows that animals are often our best source of comfort when we are feeling down or unwell. For people who struggle with emotional or mental illnesses or disabilities, emotional support animals provide much-needed companionship, comfort, security, and love. Animals have a remarkable way of making us feel better, and emotional support animals truly do provide emotional support to the people who need it most.

What Is an Emotional Support Animal?

There is some confusion surrounding what an emotional support animal, or ESA, is and is not. By definition, an ESA is an animal that provides therapeutic benefits and helps alleviate the symptoms their handlers experience due to a mental or emotional disability. They require minimal training, and, unlike service dogs, they do not need to perform a specific task to help their handlers.

The most important job of an emotional support animal is to provide companionship and comfort to its owner to make it easier to accomplish one or more major life activities, including caring for oneself, working, performing manual tasks, sleeping, walking, and numerous other activities. Emotional support animals are commonly prescribed to persons struggling with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, etc.

Who Qualifies for Emotional Support Animals?

Roughly 18% of American adults live with some type of emotional or mental disability, many of whom could benefit from owning an emotional support animal. Unfortunately, many of them do not realize that they may qualify for one. Mental health professionals prescribe ESAs to people living with a wide variety of disabilities and illnesses. In addition to helping people with depression, anxiety, and PTSD, emotional support animals can help people of all ages who struggle with ADHD and autism spectrum disorders.

Emotional support animal letters are provided by licensed mental health workers and other medical professionals. The letter indicates that the patient is limited by their disability and requires an emotional support animal as part of their treatment.

How Emotional Support Animals Provide Emotional Support

Emotional support animals provide emotional support simply by being there for their handlers. They provide unconditional love, and just spending time with a loyal companion can really make someone who suffers from a mental disorder feel better. They also create a sense of purpose and responsibility. Feeding, talking, bathing, and taking care of an animal can make a person feel valuable and important. This can be extremely helpful for people who struggle with depression and may not feel a great sense of self-worth on their own. Because they need to be taken care of, animals also help keep their owners more active. It’s nearly impossible to spend all day curled up in bed when there is a furry companion relying on you to provide for their every need.

While they can’t talk back, emotional support animals are great listeners. They are never too busy to lend an ear when their owners need them, and they never judge. They’re also great at keeping secrets, so they act at furry therapists that people can talk to about absolutely anything. Having another living being to confide in – even in that being isn’t human – helps people work through their problems. It also helps alleviate the feelings of loneliness and isolation that many people who struggle with depression and other mental health problems experience.

Talking with a therapist or counselor is beneficial and highly recommended for people who have mental and emotional illnesses and disabilities. Those people aren’t always available, though. With an emotional support animal, you always have someone by your side that you can talk to at any time of the day or night. There is no waiting room or expensive co-pay to worry about – just a loving companion who will always be there to provide a shoulder to cry on when you need it most.

Emotional support animals provide support when their handlers must face difficult situations. If anxiety prevents you from traveling, for example, an ESA can provide the comfort you need to make it through a long flight. They help their owners feel more confident in anxiety-inducing situations, and they can even make it easier to meet new people. For people with mental or emotional disabilities or illnesses, emotional support animals help provide the support they need to live full, independent lives.

Is your dog the star of the party? Are they able to cheer you up even when you are feeling down? Do they remain calm in stressful situations? If so, we can help you certify your dog as a therapy dog.

Since there is a lot of misinformation regarding the various types of assistance animals, our first step is to provide clarity.

What is a Therapy Dog?

A therapy dog is a kind, gentle, and well behaved dog that provides comfort and support to others. The key word here is others.

Therapy dogs service people in hospitals, schools, and convalescent home. Their presence often provides comfort and love to those who may be hurting or suffering. They can either spend time next to the person or even provide physical comfort by laying next to them. A therapy dog’s comfort can come in different forms but their presence is often healing.

Should my dog become a therapy dog?

Certifying your dog as a therapy dog is not just work for them, but it is work for you as well. If you are interested in helping others, a great way to do this is by taking your dog to hospitals to brighten up the day of those who may be undergoing chemotherapy. If you are interested in doing this, Service Dog Certifications can help you certify your therapy dog.

How to certify your Therapy Dog?

You may certify your therapy dog in two simple, but important steps –

First, confirm your dog is well behaved and can follow all basic commands. Unlike a service dog whose job is ot perform a task to aid in your disability, a therapy dog do not require special training. They do need to be calm and in your control at all times. This is especially true for therapy does as they are often in hospitals and schools with lots of noise and distractions.

Second, order your therapy dog their identification card and vest. This is an important step to traveling to public places such as a school with our therapy dog. These places often do not allow for pets so it’s important that you have the proper paperwork before heading to these places. Staff may not be aware that a therapy dog is joining them so this helps avoid any tension.

Certify and register your dog here

What special access does a Therapy Dog have?

Therapy dogs do not have public access rights and must be invited in. This means, before showing up at the hospital with your therapy dog, contact the hospital ahead of time. Ask to be transferred to the attending nurse or the head of patient care. They will advise you on the steps to bringing your therapy dog into the hospital. Of course, hospitals are excited to have you and your therapy dog join them, but it is important ot follow all the steps so everyone is protected.

But wait, in addition to having your dog support others, you would like them to support you as well. This means you are looking for an Emotional Support Animal instead. It is possible for your dog to be both a therapy dog for others and an emotional support dog for yourself.  However, the steps to certify your dog as an Emotional Support dog is different.

How to qualify for an Emotional Support Animal?

To qualify for an Emotional Support Animal, you need an ESA letter from an ESA Doctor or Therapist. It is important ot seek support from a medical professional and licensed therapist who is well versed in ESA regulations. If your current therapist is familiar will ESA law and can write you an ESA letter, that is your best choice.

If your therapist is unfamiliar with ESA law or does not believe in animal therapy, you may seek support from a legitimate referral company such as ESA Doctors.

When seeking support online, it is important to be wary of discount sites or sites that guarantee “instant approval”. Many of these companies may be ESA Letter mills or work with therapists whose license may not be recognized in your state. Top referral companies such as ESA Doctors will pair you with a therapist directly.

Click here to get your ESA letter

What Special Access Does an Emotional Support Animal Have?

Your dog may already be your best friend and act as your emotional support animal. Why is it necessary to make it official with an ESA note?

The reason is that Emotional Support Animals are protected under federal law. Under the Fair Housing Act ESA’s have access to “no-pets housing”, and landlords cannot charge an additional fee for granting access to your ESA.

It goes without saying, your ESA needs to be well trained and in your control. If your ESA causes harm to others, the landlord can deny access. Remember, your ESA is your responsibility.

Can You Qualify for a Legitimate ESA Letter online? Yes! Thanks to technology and telehealth service, you can qualify for a legitimate ESA letter online.

Each state has their own telehealth service regulations. Some require the therapist have an in-state license while some states will allow doctors such as a psychologist to practice across borders. To connect to a therapist and see if you qualify for an ESA letter, click on the link below to complete an ESA questionnaire.

See if you qualify for an Emotional Support Animal letter from ESA Doctors by clicking the link below.

Step by Step Guide – How to Get an ESA Letter for Flying

Have you seen dogs in the airport and wonder why they are allowed to fly? Chances are, they are emotional support animals. Below we will address steps to qualify for an ESA Letter so you may travel with your dog.

Step #1 – Understand and identify your disability Do you qualify for an ESA letter?

You can be eligible for an ESA letter if you have disabilities, as noted in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). A few examples are:

Depression Social Anxiety Disorder Anxiety Disorder Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Panic Attacks What is an Emotional Support Animal?

An Emotional Support Animal is a pet that provides comfort and love to their handler. An ESA can be any type of animal through an Emotional Support Dog is the most common choice.

Unlike a Service Dog, an Emotional Support Dog does not require special training but does have to be well behaved.

Step #2 – Understand your rights Are Emotional Support Animals allowed to fly? A few airlines allow you to fly on an airplane with an Emotional Support Animal.

On January 11, 2021, rules by the U.S. Department of Transportation went into effect, giving airlines the option to no longer recognize emotional support animals. As a result, many airlines are no longer accepting emotional support animals on flights. A few airlines still allow ESAs into the cabin of the airplane at no extra cost, but their rules and policies may be adjusted at any time.

Please check with your airline prior to booking a flight to confirm their current policy for ESAs as it may change. It is better to contact the airline ahead of time to feel confident that you have all the required documentation needed for your trip.

If you’re flying with an airline that no longer has an ESA program, your animal must meet the airline’s requirements for regular pets.

Step #3 – Qualify for a Legitimate ESA letter How to qualify your dog as an Emotional Support Animal?

If you feel that you may qualify for an Emotional Support Animal, you may contact your therapist for support. If your therapist is unaware of ESA regulations, you may refer to a legitimate online referral company. It is important that you work with a therapist who believes in animal therapy and understands the regulations as the ESA letter requires specific language.

Click here to qualify for your ESA letter

If you qualify for an Emotional Support Animal and have an ESA letter, we recommend that you submit your ESA letter to the participating airline ahead of time for approval. Each airline has their policy and procedure, so it’s best to inquire about their requirements as soon as possible not to run into any problems at the airport.

You are not required to register your Emotional Support Animal – only an ESA letter from a licensed therapist may make your pet an official Emotional Support Animal.

Step #4 – Train your ESA to be a “good citizen”

Although an Emotional Support Animal does not require special training, they need to be well behaved. If you plan on taking your ESA onto an airplane, the participating airlines has the right to deny you access if they determine that your ESA may cause harm to others. 

Examples of good citizen behavior are:

Walking with you and within the leash length; not pulling or lunging Ignoring food on the floor or in other passenger’s hands Not barking or lunging Sitting and staying on command Step #5 – Prepare your ESA for success Exercise and prepare for your ESA’s flight

As mentioned earlier, inquire with your airline regarding their assistance animals policy well in advance. We recommend contacting the airline as soon as you book your flight and submit any required documentation at least 48 hours before departure.

Here are some helpful tips for travelling with your ESA:

Do not give your ESA food or water 3-4 hours before the flight. Make sure they have ample opportunity to relieve themselves before the flight. Prepare treats for good behavior in the airport. This is an excellent opportunity to reward them for positive behavior and enforce it for the next trip. Your ESA should associate the airport as a fun place where they get tons of treats in return for behaving well. Make sure your ESA exercises 1-2 hours before the flight. This will help them get rid of excess energy. Outfit your ESA with an easily identifiable vest. Although not required by law, accessories like vests and tags make identifying your dog as an ESA easier and may prevent unnecessary confrontations. You may also choose to give your ESA Dramamine for motion sickness or Benadryl to help them sleep. Each animal is different; please consult your veterinarian before giving your ESA medicine.

See if you qualify for an Emotional Support Animal letter from ESA Doctors by clicking the link below.

More articles that you may find helpful: Emotional Support Animal Laws What to do if Your Landlord Does Not Accept Your ESA