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Anyone who has a beloved animal in their life understands how pets can lift spirits and reduce loneliness. The Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) states that 80% of pet owners attribute their reduced feelings of loneliness to their pets. The effect pets have on their owners makes an emotional support animal (ESA) vital to people who struggle with depression or anxiety. For those with emotional or mental health conditions, an ESA provides companionship and a soothing presence.
Although pets are beneficial for all pet owners, an emotional support animal is more than a pet; an ESA is a critical part of dealing with a mental illness. An ESA can have therapeutic value, and there’s a proven need for some people to have them near. An emotional support animal can be essential for someone dealing with depression and anxiety.Depression
Depression is more than just feeling blue or sad. It’s the persistent feeling of hopelessness, sadness, and loss that remains with a person for longer than two weeks. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that depression can affect the quality of life and how a person eats, sleep, and works. Severe depression may even lead to suicide.Symptoms of Depression
The symptoms of depression can be different from person to person. The following are signs that might be caused by depression:Constantly feeling sad, lonely, guilty, or hopeless Irritability, easy to anger Loss of enjoyment in things you used to like (hobbies and activities) Fatigue, lack of energy Talking or moving slow or feeling restless and anxious Difficulty making decisions or recalling words Difficulty concentrating or following a through on a task Sleep changes Aches and pains, digestive issues, and headaches that don’t seem to have a physical cause Thoughts of death or suicide Small, domesticated pets can qualify as an emotional support animal for depression and anxiety. Anxiety
Stress is a common part of life. However, when a person experiences a large amount of stress for long periods, it can become anxiety. Anxiety comes in many forms, but it’s generally a heightened state of stress that doesn’t go away. Over time anxiety can get worse and affect work, school, and relationships. Some people may have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) or develop phobias like a fear of flying or cramped spaces. Anxiety, if left untreated, can cause significant distress and decrease a person’s quality of life.Symptoms of Anxiety
The symptoms of anxiety, like depression, can vary from person to person. The following are some signs of anxiety:Feeling keyed-up, restless, and on edge Easily distracted or difficulty concentrating Irritable, easy to anger Muscle tension in the back, shoulders, or neck. Racing thoughts Difficulty staying or falling asleep Panic Attacks, which might include: Lound, pounding heartbeat Fast heart rate Profuse sweating Shaking or trembling Feeling chilly Shortness of breath, feeling smothered A sense of impending doom Feeling out of control Already own a legitimate emotional support animal for depression or anxiety? Get a registration and ID tag to let others know. How an Emotional Support Animal Can Help Depression or Anxiety
Some people who have depression or anxiety may benefit from having a constant source of support that doesn’t judge them. An ESA can supply that base of warmth and connection and enable a person to function in their daily lives. The act of caring for an emotional support animal (feeding, grooming, walking, etc.) also encourages a person with depression or anxiety to maintain a schedule and participate in social activities. An ESA allows a person to have continuous affection and interaction.How to get an ESA Letter Online How To Qualify for an ESA If You Have Depression or Anxiety
If you suffer from the symptoms listed above, you may qualify for an emotional support animal. An ESA letter is required to establish whether you’re a suitable candidate for an ESA. If you are already seeing a licensed healthcare professional regarding depression or anxiety, you may want to consult with them regarding an ESA letter and incorporate an ESA into your treatment plan.
To own a legitimate ESA letter, the doctor or therapist must be licensed in your state of residence. If you’re unable to visit a doctor or your therapist is out of state, you can also get an ESA assessment online. A legitimate online service will connect you with a licensed healthcare professional licensed for your state.
Remember that an ESA must be written by a licensed healthcare professional, such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, nurse practitioner, or licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). If the author is not licensed, the letter is invalid. The ESA letter should include information regarding the licensed person, such as their name, license number, and contact information.What the Law Says About Emotional Support Animals
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) states that a psychiatrist, physician, social worker, psychologists and other mental health professionals can write an ESA letter. Emotional support animals have the right to live in a “no pets allowed” housing and are protected by the federal law Fair Housing Act (FHA). Landlords can never charge any type of fee or deposit for tenants with emotional support animals, and they are not allowed to disallow an ESA because of its size or breed.
For people with depression or anxiety, an ESA doesn’t just brighten their day — an ESA can change their life.See if you qualify for an Emotional Support Animal letter through ESA Doctors by clicking the link below.
Service Dog ID Card
Having a Service Dog ID card can be the single most useful tool you have, aside from your actual Service Dog. Service Dogs are granted public access rights so you may encounter more hostility and confusion than Emotional Support Animals or Therapy Animals since their presence is often expected.Benefits of having a Service Dog ID card – Allows you to travel with confidence Permits employees to grant you access without worry Helps educate the public on Service Dog access rights Provides you access to your Service Dog registration on your phone at all times Provides documentation for how long you have had your Service Dog 1. Having a Service Dog ID card allows you to travel with confidence
Service Dogs exist to allow you to live a normal life, even if you have an emotional, mental, or physical disability. However, due to the cultural perceptions that Americans have around dogs in public spaces, your Service Dog might be mistaken for a pet. This can be unnecessarily stressful for some and can prevent people from leaving their homes and using their Service Dog effectively.
By having a Service Dog ID card with you, you can feel confident that no matter what circumstance you run into, you can request public access with ease.Service Dog ID card allow you to travel with confidence in public. 2. Showing your Service Dog ID card empowers employees to grant you public access
Unfortunately, every employee is not well trained in Service Dog access rights. There are some employees that may be afraid to grant you access because of their “no-animal” policies. They don’t want to permit access because they may be afraid of getting in trouble for allowing an animal. This is a reasonable fear if they or their immediate supervisor is not well versed in Service Dog regulations.Service Dogs have public access to places such as restaurants, bars, or cafeterias.
If you have your Service Dog ID card, it is even helpful for the employees of:Restaurants Movie theaters Retail stores Mall security Beach life guards Park rangers
If you are able to show them your Service Dog ID card and identify what task your Service Dog provides to you, they will be able to show their supervisors or anyone else who asks why they granted your Service Dog access.3. Sharing your Service Dog ID card helps educate the public on Service Dog rights
Having your Service Dog ID card handy may also help you engage and educate others about Service Dog rights. If you have ever entered a public space that does not permit pets, such as an airport, you will likely be asked why your dog is allowed in. You should never feel pressured to engage in conversations about your Service Dog if you are not comfortable.
If you are interested in sharing your experience, you can share your Service Dog ID card with them and explain how your Service Dog helps you and why they are allowed to join you in places where pets are normally not allowed.Sharing why your Service Dog helps you can be a beautiful experience. 4. Digitally access your Service Dog ID card on your phone at anytime
By registering your Service Dog, you will also have digital access to your Service Dog ID card at all times. The Service Dog registration number can be found on your card. You can keep the number handy on your phone so you may access the database at all times, in the case where you leave your ID card at home or if you do not have your wallet.
In some cases, some places may even ask for this ahead of time. Hotels may request this information so it will be convenient for you to send them a link to access the Service Dog Certification Database and provide them with your service dog registration number.Instant access to your Service Dog Registration, certificate, and ID card. 5. Document the date you registered your Service Dog for your protection
This is rarely needed, but its better to be safe than sorry. If you are moving and need to request access to a new building, you may run into issues with a new landlord. It may be better to have evidence to show them that you have had your Service Dog registered even before your request for access. Unfortunately, landlords make a lot of money in pet fees so they will be reluctant to grant your Service Dog access since Service Dogs are exempt from paying any additional pet deposits or monthly pet fees.
Your Service Dog also has access to “no-pet” buildings so your landlord may feel more comfortable granting access if they can see that you’ve had your service dog for months or years before moving into their building.
The ADA does not require that you order a Service Dog ID card and allows you to decide what is best for you and your situation. If you would like to have the ease and peace of mind, we recommend registering your Service Dog for a Service Dog ID Card.
If you are interested in making your dog your Service Dog, the link below provide a comprehensive guide to registering your Service Dog.
Service dogs are an amazing medical tool and are often underutilized due to a confusion in Service Dog regulations. We will go through what a service dog is, who can qualify to have a service dog, where you are allowed to take your service dog, and the benefits of completing your service dog registration.
If you qualify for a Service Dog and go through the proper steps to train your dog, you may want to register your Service Dog so that you can provide your registration card and identify your animal as a service dog. There are many people out there that do not know the rules surrounding service dogs and having a Service Dog ID card can help to mitigate conflict.Registered Service Dogs are required to be well trained must be under their handler’s control. What is a Service Dog?
A Service Dog is an assistance animal that is specifically trained in aid in a mental, emotional, or physical disability. Service Dogs must always be in the control of their handler and must service a specific function for their handler’s disability. A certified Service Dog should not pull their handler or bark at others when in public, unprovoked.Qualifying for a Service Dog
If you experience an emotional, mental, or physical disability, you qualify for a Service Dog. For more information and a list of disability that may qualify you for a Service Dog, read here.
Once you have identified your disability, your next step is to identify what task your dog can perform to help aid in your disability.
A common misunderstanding is that Service Dogs are required to be professionally trained. This is untrue. If you are capable, you are allowed to train your service dog yourself! For many people, paying $20K for a service dog isn’t feasible so being able to train your own service dog is an important right. Even if you choose to hire a trainer or purchase a trained Service Dog, you may still choose to register your new Service Dog for your own convenience.
Don’t qualify for a service dog? You may qualify for an emotional support animal. Read more about emotional support animals here.You are permitted to train your Service Dog yourself. How to Register your Service Dog
If you want to register your dog as a service dog, your dog must provide a service for your disability. A professional trainer is not required for your dogs to be called a service dog. If you are in need of a service dog, you may personally train your dog to provide a service for your disability.
To register your Service Dog, you can start your Service Dog Registration process online by entering your information along with your animal’s information here.
To register your service dog, complete the registration in the link below.Service Dog Regulations
Service Dog regulations are governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This is different than Emotional Support Animals which are governed by Fair Housing and the Air Carrier Access Act.
Even if you you have completed your Service Dog registration, your service dog can still be denied access if it is not well behaved.
Service Dogs are distinctly different from emotional support animals. Emotional support animals are also a class of assistance animals, but do not require the same amount of training as Service Dogs and therefore do not enjoy the same access rights. If you are interested in an ESA, read more here. It is important to know the difference so that you can determine which animal is best for you and your needs.To qualify for an Emotional Support Animal, you need an ESA letter. Registration is not sufficient. Do I need an Doctor’s note for my Service Dog?
Service dogs do not require a note or letter from a doctor. If your dog is trained to provide a service for your disability, a doctor’s note or letter is not required.
If your animal does not provide a service or task for your disability, but instead provides comfort and support, you will need a note from a doctor to qualify your animal as an emotional support animal.A doctor’s note is not required for a service dog. However, if you need an ESA, a doctor’s note is required. Where are Service Dogs allowed to go?
In short, you are allowed to go everywhere that you are allowed to go with your service dog.
Service Dogs can go into restaurants, hotels, beaches, in the workplace, airplanes, and are granted housing access.
Emotional Support Animals only have access to air travel and housing. You may choose to register both your Service Dog or our Emotional Support Animal. If you have an Emotional Support Animal, you will also need an ESA Letter from a licensed mental health professional as registration alone is not sufficient. You may request an ESA letter from your therapist, if you need help guidance with how to find a therapist who is well versed in ESA regulations, you may read this post.
As touched on earlier, Service Dogs are not the same as Emotional Support Animals but people can confuse the two. In order to avoid any issues when traveling with your Service Dog, its important to be well versed in your rights and how to handle any confrontations.Service Dogs have public access rights. This includes no dog beaches, restaurants, air travel, hotels, and no-pet housing. Going to Public Places with your Service Dog
If you expect to be traveling with your Service Dog, you may choose to order an ID card and Service Dog Vest. The ADA is clear that both items are not required but the reality is that people are not well aware of ADA regulations and you may experience unpleasant confrontations without it. It is always up to you if you want to stand your ground and educate those who are not well aware of Service Dog rules or you may prefer to have your Service Dog ID handy. There is no right answer, do what is best for you.
Once you have requested access for your Service Dog, you are never required to disclose your disability to anyone. If you are asked to disclose your disability or asked to demonstrate your Service Dog’s tasks as a condition for granting reasonable accommodation (aka access to wherever you need to go), you may report that business or establishment to the ADA.If your Service Dog is denied access, you may report the business to the ADA.
The ADA exists to protect people with disability and if any business is denying access without due cause they need to be reported.
From time to time, the person you are dealing with just may be unaware of service dog regulations. If you encounter an employee who is dying access “because pets aren’t allowed”, your next step is to request to speak with a manager. We advise against arguing with any employee regarding your Service Dog to avoid escalation. If you are unable to speak with a manager for any reason, ask for the employees name so you may report them to the ADA.Service Dog Registration
Service Dogs are an important tool and we are lucky to have them. By knowing your rights, you can travel comfortably with your dog. If you would like to register your Service Dog and have your Service Dog ID handy when traveling with your service dog, you can start by completing the Service Dog Registration form below.
You will be able to order a Service Dog identification kit and register your animal in an international database of service dogs and handlers. You will also be able to pull up your Service Dog ID and registration card using your mobile device anywhere. To complete the service dog registration process, complete the form in the link below.