Archive for the ‘Emotional Support Animal’ Category

When seeking housing, it is not uncommon to find that landlords or housing providers have a “no-pets” policy. While this does, indeed, apply to the majority of renters, there are some situations where individuals are allowed to keep animals in buildings that ban pets.

The law: The Fair Housing Act allows for individuals with qualifying health conditions to have assistance animals, even where pets are not allowed. This is because assistance animals such as service dogs and emotional support animals are needed to support physical and mental health disabilities.

Emotional support animals (ESA) are used by people with psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Landlords have to accommodate emotional support animals as long as the tenant has a valid ESA letter from their licensed healthcare professional.

However, landlords sometimes reject a tenant’s request to live with an ESA. So what can you do if your landlord does not accept your emotional support animal?

Reasons a landlord can reject an Emotional Support Animal

The exception to the rule: Landlords do not always have to accept emotional support animals, even when the tenant has a signed ESA letter from their doctor or therapist. Fair Housing rules permit landlords to reject an emotional support animal under certain circumstances.

For example, these landlords are exempt from Fair Housing Laws:

Owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units Single-family houses sold or rented by the owner without the use of an agent

These small landlords do not have to accept ESA letters. Landlords can also rely on a few other exemptions for emotional support animals. The main exemptions are if the landlord has evidence the emotional support animal would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

An ESA that has caused significant property damage can also be turned away. Sometimes landlords reject emotional support animals because the tenant’s ESA letter is flawed. It’s essential that your doctor or therapist includes the correct information in their ESA letter.

If you’re looking for a healthcare provider to help with your ESA request, it can be helpful to find one with experience when it comes to ESA matters.

How Can I Get an ESA Letter Online? What to do if my landlord says “NO” to my emotional support animal?

If your landlord says no to your emotional support animal, that should not be the end of the story. Under HUD guidelines, housing providers are expected to work with tenants to resolve any issues that may impede accommodating an ESA.

For example, if the landlord points out a valid deficiency in your ESA letter, you should work together with your healthcare provider to update your letter. If your landlord has concerns about the health or safety of your ESA, you can take steps to demonstrate your animal is properly vaccinated and trained.

Here are a few steps to follow if your landlord rejects your ESA:

Get the specific reasons why your landlord rejected your ESA.

If your landlord says no to your ESA, you’re entitled to know why.

Work with the landlord to address their concerns.

Once you know why your landlord is rejecting your ESA, you should work towards finding a solution together.

Understand your Fair Housing Rights.

Ensure that your landlord is not giving you a bogus reason for rejecting your ESA. Remember, your right to have an ESA is protected by federal law.

Get an updated ESA letter.

If your landlord points out that your ESA letter contains defects, work with your provider to fix the letter. Remember that landlords have to stick with HUD guidelines – they can’t make up their rules about ESA letters.

Contact HUD if your rights are being violated.

If you feel your landlord violates your Fair Housing rights, you can consider filing a complaint with HUD. This step should be taken when all other options have been exhausted.

Give your landlord every reason to say “YES” to your Emotional Support Animal

Before informing your landlord about your emotional support animal, make sure you have your ducks in a row.

You should be prepared with a signed ESA letter from a licensed healthcare professional. Be knowledgeable about ESA rules so you can engage with your landlord thoughtfully.

Unscrupulous landlords will try to take advantage of tenants who do not understand their legal rights when it comes to ESAs.

If you’re looking to qualify for an ESA letter, you can be connected to a licensed ESA professional at the link below.

Qualify for an emotional support animal today!
The Difference Between Service Dogs, Emotional Support Animals, and Therapy Dogs

Although service dogs for the deaf and blind have been used for decades, doctors and mental health professionals are now attesting to the benefits dogs (and other animals) bring to individuals that need emotional or stress-relieving help.

However, since this practice of emotional and therapy pooch is relatively new, we tend to clump the jobs these animals do into one category. Sure, we know these dogs are important to the individuals they are helping, but do we know the difference between service dogs, emotional support animals, and therapy dogs?

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We’ve consulted with the experts to clear up the mystery and misunderstanding of this important trio.

What is a Service Dog?

According to the organization, ‘Please Don’t Pet Me,’ a service dog is defined as a canine assistant that helps those with physical disabilities. This can include those folks in wheelchairs, limited vision or hearing, epilepsy, and a wide array of other physical health problems. This type of dog works to help the disabled person do things and live a life they may not be otherwise able to do.

This type of human/canine partnership is protected by The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), DOT’s Air Carrier Access Act, DOJ/HUD Fair Housing Act and Federal Rehabilitation Act. These laws ensure the canine will be granted access to public buildings, airlines, and no-pets apartments/condos.  

A service dog should not be petted by strangers when on duty, as this can be a distraction to the animal, which could cause harm to the disabled person.

Since service dogs are highly trained from an early age, obtaining a service animal can be quite costly. Most organizations quote around $20,000 for a service dog. Depending on your country and city of location this fee may be paid by individual fundraising, government programs, or the service dog organization itself. If you are unable to afford a professionally trained service dog, you may train your service dog yourself.

What is an Emotional Support Animal?

Unlike a service dog, the emotional support animal does not have to be highly trained to do its job. The main focus of an emotional support animal is to be there to provide unconditional love, support, companionship, and friendship for the person with a psychological disorder. The idea behind this type of partnership is to help individuals who may suffer from severe depression, anxiety issues, or debilitating stress. A doctor, mental health professional, or psychotherapist can prescribe an emotional support animal for the person in need.

The role of the emotional support animal isn’t always awarded to a dog. It can be a cat, bird, turtle, rabbit, or even a horse.

According to ESA Doctors, these animals are allowed into ‘no pets allowed’ housing as long as they have an ESA letter or document from a mental health professional.

How Can I Get an ESA Letter Online? What is a Therapy Dog?

A therapy dog is also trained but for a different purpose. This dog should be naturally friendly, easy-going, loving, and able to handle any situation from calm to chaotic. The therapy dog is used for the sole purpose of bringing stress-relief to those in need. This can include schools, hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, and more. Therapy dogs are accompanied by a handler (usually the pet parent) and can be interacted with; in fact, it’s encouraged.

The role of the therapy dog can vary from visit to visit, depending on where it is needed. Therapy dogs are used in grade schools to encourage reluctant students to read aloud; they may sit with patients that are critically ill or just in need of a pick-me-up, as well as actively participate in someone’s physical rehabilitation.

Albeit an important type of service, therapy dogs are not usually allowed into public places, airlines, or living quarters where ‘no pet’ policies are in place.

The Importance of Assistance Animals

The dog and human bond go way back in time, so it’s only natural that we would integrate them into the service world. Dogs have a special intuition that allows them to know when a person is hurting emotionally, physically ill, or disabled. And for this, we are truly blessed to have the lovable canine to be our partner in life.

Whether you need a service dog, emotional support animal, or therapy dog, the canine is always on duty.

Using Dogs to Stop Panic Attacks

It’s happening again. Your heart is going a mile-a-minute, you’re sweating and shaking, you’re short of breath, and you’re in a state of absolute panic. But your dog notices what’s going on, comes into the room, jumps onto your lap, and before you know it, everything is fine. But why is this? What is it about dogs that helps to stop panic attacks? Here we explore how dogs can help to soothe sufferers of panic attacks, and more specifically, how to stop panic attacks using dogs.

Obviously, dogs can’t speak or truly understand what you’re saying, nor do they know what anxiety is or what panic attacks are, but somehow they have the ability to calm us down in moments of need. Dogs can do wonders for people who suffer from various anxiety related conditions, and here’s how they can be used to help stop panic attacks.

Dogs love to cuddle

It’s been clinically proven that positive physical touch can calm people down by reducing their heart rate, but this sort of physical affection isn’t always available, especially as the symptoms of panic attacks tend to occur at the most unlikely of times. As dogs are always down for cuddle time, they make the perfect solution for people craving the warm touch they can provide. Simply having a dog sit on your lap or lean against you can significantly reduce the symptoms of a panic attack and help to calm you down.

A dog will listen without trying to ‘fix’ you

Quite often, when discussing anxiety-related issues with people, they will usually listen but also try to offer advice, which is sometimes the last thing you want when pouring your heart out. Having a dog nearby to speak to can often alleviate the symptoms of a panic attack, as you can say absolutely anything you want without the fear of being judged, and knowing your dog won’t try to offer advice – because it can’t. Simply knowing you have an impartial listener can really help towards stopping panic attacks from happening.

Dogs are a great distraction

When left to our own devices, we can let our mind wonder and think about situations we wouldn’t normally think of, and this can be much worse for people with anxiety issues and suffer from panic attacks. As dogs are always available to play, take for walks, or just to snuggle with, they make for an excellent distraction from any wondering thoughts we might have. How can we think about worst case scenarios when playing fetch with an enthusiastic dog? It’s well known that dogs require a lot of care and affection, so when your focus is on looking after a dog, there will be less time to focus on any negative thoughts.

Having a dog around can help loneliness

Being alone at home for long periods of time can increase the chance of developing anxiety related disorders such as panic attacks. A flicker of light or the slightest noise can put you on edge, and the worry of being alone can induce a panic attack. By having a dog with you, you’ll definitely never be alone – there will always be someone you can share your latest news with, someone to play with and someone to cuddle up to.

Playing with your dog is a fantastic way to clear your mind

With all the stresses of daily life, it’s a wonder more people don’t suffer from anxiety related issues. Thinking about worrisome situations can only lead to more negative trains of thought, but it’s hard to worry about life when taking your dog for a walk, or see them being silly. In fact, playing with a dog has the ability to massively relieve stress and decrease the chances of having a panic attack. By simply focusing on your dog can really help to clear your mind and enable you to come up with solutions to any problems you may have, real or imagined.

Whether you’re a sufferer of panic attacks, have anxiety issues or simply want a loving companion, a dog can help anyone seeking to improve their life. A dog can be a shoulder to lean on in times of need, a non-judgemental listener, a great distraction from life’s stresses, a great companion to ward off loneliness, and can help to clear your mind. Why not think about getting a dog to help stop panic attacks?

For more information on service dog requirements click here.

For more information on how to obtain an emotional support animal letter from a doctor click here.