Archive for the ‘Emotional Support Animal’ Category

A person suffering from anxiety attacks experience many risks, and it’s one of the reasons why it’s prudent to consider having a service dog or emotional support animal as a companion. The animal can keep the environment safer for the individual and below are some of the ways a dogs can calm anxiety:

1) Dogs can predict panic attacks

Because of their acute senses, dogs can recognize that a person is about to experience a panic or anxiety attack. If a service dog is well-trained, it can intervene in the situation before any untoward incident happens. The pet will nudge or bark at his handler or owner even before the attacks happen, and they will not stop unless the handler listens.

2) Dogs have a calming and relaxing presence.

Even the ones that aren’t trained to be service dogs draw the same calming effect. A study has determined that a dog’s presence has some sort of healing effect. A person’s heart rate and blood pressure lowers whenever they are around dogs to either touch or keep the company.

Another study revealed that dogs can unleash happy hormones in a person, thus reducing stress levels that could trigger anxiety.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


3) Dogs ground you during an anxiety attack.

A person experiencing bouts of anxiety attacks could temporary lose focus as panic sets in, but a service dog will keep him grounded, so that he can get a grip of his situation. Some service dogs are trained to facilitate deep pressure therapy, where the dogs can settle their body on the person’s chest to help him calm him down. Certain panic attacks can put the person at risk of hurting himself or damaging property, when this can be avoided or reduced with the dog’s presence.

4) Dogs alert your loved-one or other humans.

If a person is having an attack, a well-trained service dog can let another human know so that the matter can immediately be given attention. They can look for that person for help, or they can also be relied upon to find their master’s phone so that he can call for help.

Updates to Emotional Support Animal Laws 

Emotional Support Animals recently lost the right to fly with their handlers though they have maintained the right to live with their handlers in apartments, condos, co-ops, and communities that don’t allow regular pets. As a result of this change, more and more Emotional Support Animal owners are looking to train their ESA’s to be Psychiatric Service Animals. If you are interested in learning more about Psychiatric Service Animals, you may find this page helpful

How to Qualify for An Emotional Support Animal

If you have an emotional disability, you can legally qualify for an ESA, short for an emotional support animal. You must be certified as emotionally disabled by a psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, or other duly licensed and/or certified mental health professional. This certification should be a formal and appropriately formatted letter, known as an ESA Letter.

Any other kind of doctor – a cardiologist, for instance – does not qualify as a mental health professional because unlike a psychiatrist, other medical doctors are not specialists in mental health. Some property managers of apartments, however, accept verification forms filled out by a family physician if they are treating you for a mental illness. Ensure that you have the correct authority to write the letter for you.

To qualify for an Emotional Support Animal, your ESA letter must be written on the mental health professional’s letterhead, include his or her license type, date of the license, license number, and the state which issued the license. Moreover, it should have the date when it was written. A sample of the request letter can be viewed at the official website of Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, but there are other websites that have the same kind of samples which you may prefer.

What the Letter Must Contain

Your ESA letter must contain some details which will inform your landlord that you are:

A current patient of the signing mental health professional. Under this mental health professional’s care for your disability which is described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders Version V. Substantially limited in performing or participating in at least one of life’s major activities because of your disability. Having an Emotional Support Animal is an integral part of the treatment of your current condition. The ESA letter must be dated and no older than a year. What Disorders Qualify You as An Emotional Support Animal Owner

To help you further on qualifying for an ESA, you may want to read through the list of some of the disorders stipulated in the previously mentioned DSM-V:

Learning disorders. Attention Deficit Disorder, also known as ADD. Sexual disorder. Mental retardation. Tic disorders. Motor skills disorders. Bipolar disorder. Gender identity. Substance-related disorder (alcohol and/or drugs, among others). Cognitive disorders. Emotional Support Animal Training

Unlike service animals, ESA’s are not required to be trained to perform a service for their handlers. An ESA provides emotional support for their handlers and can qualify as long as the animal does not cause a disturbance or undue hardship for an apartment manager/owner. For more information on ESA’s and service animals, please contact Service Dog Certifications.

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