Posts Tagged ‘emotional support animal’

When we say “Pitbull,” it may unfairly conjure up images of a blood-thirsty beast out to destroy anything in its path. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Pitbull has gotten a bad reputation over the years due to cruel people using them for illegal dog fighting rings. These dogs are victims of animal abuse like any other helpless canine that finds themselves in the hands of an unscrupulous individual.

The term “Pitbull” is also a misnomer. There is no recognized breed of Pitbull, but instead, four registered Bully breeds that get lumped into one category. These include the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

All of these “Pitbulls” are battling their way out of an unfair image. Some are even finding their way into the world of therapy work.

In this post, we will explore the question; can a Pitbull be a therapy dog?

General Traits of the Pit Bull

All of the “Pitbull” breeds share similar traits. They are all blocky in build with square heads and muzzles. Despite their shorter stature, the Bully breeds are also deceptively strong.

They all have very short, straight coats that come in a variety of colors.

Personality wise, the Bully breeds tend to be on the stubborn side (this is their Terrier” nature coming into play). However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t highly trainable. With the right techniques (a gentle, yet firm hand, positive reinforcement, and a willingness to help the breed overcome its lousy rep) these dogs do make wonderful companions.

The Bully breeds have a strong need to please, and therefore are very loyal, loving, and devoted animals. They crave human attention and do not do well left alone for long periods-of-time.

When it comes to exercise, your Bully will need 60 to 90 minutes of vigorous exercise once or twice a day. This can include long walks or hikes, jogging, playing in the park or getting your dog into agility or flyball activities.

 Get your Therapy Dog Identification Card Here

What is a Therapy Dog?

Unlike a service dog that must provide a task for a disabled individual, the therapy dog is used for comfort and support.

There are three types of Therapy Dogs;

Personal Therapy Dog (aka Emotional Support Animal) – a dog (or other species of animal) that provides general comfort and unconditional love. It does not need to be specially trained for a task. Requires an ESA letter and can travel and live with you. Assisted Therapy Dog – one that joins the handler (typically a doctor, therapist, teacher, etc.) at the workplace to help clients, students, etc. with stress and anxiety. Visiting Therapy Dog – one that is brought into hospitals, schools, hospices, nursing homes, etc. to interact with the people. They are only there for a short period-of-time. The Pit Bull as a Therapy Dog

Despite many communities imposing breed-specific bans on the Pitbull, there are just as many regions trying to break the stigma.

It is a fact that the “Pitbull” makes an excellent Therapy Dog. Their natural love for people, their eager-to-please attitude, and their ability to withstand pain give them the innate ability to be tolerant in situations where some dogs may not be so.

According to Pitbull Lovers;

“Some people have a hard time getting around, and it’s not altogether unlikely their toes might get stepped on or run over by a wheelchair. I worked a session where a woman had a sensory problem, and she had a compulsive need to pinch things extremely hard once she got a hold of them.

While she never pinched Angel, she could have if we were not paying attention and the outcome would have been Angel having discomfort but not reacting with aggression.

Another breed might have been driven to biting or growling at a person like this.”

All these qualities are what’s making the Pitbull a popular choice in the world of therapy work.

Can a Pitbull Be a Therapy Dog? 

Pitbulls do make excellent therapy dogs, but as with any breed, early socialization and obedience training are vital to having a well-rounded dog. If you want to fly or live with your personal therapy dog (emotional support dog), you must get a letter from a licensed therapist to verify your need.

If you want to get into therapy work or think a canine would be the perfect solution to your emotional issues, then be sure to seek out a reputable breeder or rescue organization.

We all deserve to have a happy, healthy life. The Pitbull is no exception.

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 by two regulations under federal law. The first is access to air travel and the other is access to “no-pets housing”. In both cases, the airline and landlord 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, both the airline and landlord can deny access. Remember, your ESA is still 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.