There’s something special when you have a dog. That’s right! They are emotional support animals that can help you get a quality life. For someone having emotional instability, emotional support is a must for them to live normally.
It’s wrong to think that when you have pugs, you only take care of them. Your pets are loyal companions that can comfort you on every challenge in life.
In this article, we’re going talk about pets as your emotional support or emotional support animals. Read more.
Table of Contents
Defining Emotional Support Service Animals
There are pets that are trained to give emotional support to people. These service animals are called emotional support animals (ESAs).
For anyone to have emotional support dogs, a licensed mental health professional or ESA Doctor must prescribe them to you.
It can be a psychologist or therapist who can give that prescription. Most people with mental health condition are the recipient of these therapy animals.
For instance, a service animal can ease your anxiety. Because of their emotional support, your mental health becomes better.
What’s the difference between Service Dogs and Support Dogs?
Oftentimes, there is a misconception between service dogs and support dogs. Do you know the difference? Service animals can be taken to public areas.
They are trained to provide assistance to people with physical disabilities. This pet is also called a psychiatric service dog or a guide dog.
If we refer to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals have the primary function as assistance animals to people with physical disabilities.
In contrast, emotional support dogs cannot be in public areas. They are just there to provide emotional support to their owners. A licensed mental health professional has the right to give a prescription that a person needs emotional support animals.
What are the benefits of an emotional support animal?
There’s a rising case of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety disorder. People who experienced traumatic events suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. All these things are considered emotional instability. Sometimes they are also called mental disabilities since a person cannot think well due to uncontrolled feelings.
Because of this, emotional support animal came to life. They are specifically trained to provide emotional assistance to patients with a mental disability. If you like to know more about the benefits of having an emotional support animal, see below.
Unlike service animals, therapy animals help a person calm down. When you have an anxiety disorder, these pets give you the therapeutic benefit of relaxation.
Comfort pets are excellent for deep pressure therapy. We’re going to talk about that in a separate section.
Give comfort after a traumatic event
It’s never easy experiencing a traumatic event. It oftentimes haunts you in the night. You can’t relax and sleep well.
This is where emotional support animals are a big help. They help ease the trauma in you. If you can’t cope with trauma, there’s a huge chance it leads to mental illness.
Deep pressure therapy
This therapy helps reduce anxiety and panic attack. An emotional support animal can help you with that. Compared to the cost of PSD, getting a therapy animal is more cost-efficient. You can get a prescription from a licensed mental health professional to get this pet.
Better physical health
When you have good emotional health, it translates to a healthy physical body. You have normal blood pressure, better sleep, and normal breathing.
No more loneliness
An emotional support animal is like your best friend. A loyal companion who’ll be there for you at your darkest times. They provide comfort and therapeutic benefit that help improve your emotional stability.
People who are suffering from depressive disorder, get a prescription for a support animal. For you to get one, you need to send an emotional support animal letter to a licensed mental health professional. The latter will be the one to give you a prescription. Once you have that, you can get your emotional support dog.
Sharing of love and care
Support animal also trains you to share love and care. True, these pets help alleviate negativity in you. But they also teach you how to care for them back.
By learning how to care for your pets, you can better express your feelings. You’re also shaping a better you since you get more responsible taking care of your pets.
Is an emotional support dog also considered a Psychiatric service dog?
Psychiatric service dogs undergo extensive training to help their patients cope with mental health issues. They perform specific tasks like determining if their owner starts to have a depressive moment. Other tasks include helping their owner take their medicines on time.
Another example, a seizure response dog has the specific role of assisting a patient with a seizure disorder. Those with panic attack are the ones frequently experiencing seizures.
You can’t consider a dog, a part of the psychiatric service animals if it’s only their presence that helps the patient cope with their mental problem.
People Using Emotional Support Animals Have Housing Accommodations
Under the Federal law, people who are using emotional support animals are provided with accommodations to avoid housing discrimination against domesticated animal legal rights. This is also recognized by the United States Department Housing and Urban Development.
Local government agencies also provide equal opportunity for people with emotional problems to have access to support animals. This right to have such accommodation is there to help those patients have a fair opportunity to have a decent home.
If you look into the Fair Housing Act, you would see that it’s part of their coverage to provide assistance for people prescribed with an emotional support animal. This Fair Housing Act is a true help for these patients since it helps them avoid housing discrimination.
Because of this law, people with mental health problems can request housing providers to give them reasonable accommodation to keep their emotional support animal.
Below are the things your landlord cannot do because of the Fair Housing Act:
- Let you pay higher since you have an therapy animal with you
- Request a medical record to know the extent of your mental illness
- Reject to accommodate your emotional support animal
- Insist that your therapy animal get specific training that’s not necessary to their function as an ESA
Do they allow Service Animals to be on Flights?
Good news! There has been a change in the Air Carrier Access Act. The United States Department of Transporation (DOT) made a statement last December 2020 that they will allow service animals to be on flights. No matter what breed it is, a patient with a disability can take his service animal with him. This rule is aligned with the Federal Americans with Disability Act.
Unfortunately, any emotional support animal (ESA) cannot fly together with their patient. This is stated in the new DOT Air Carrier Access Act. Even though emotional support animal has been trained to be service animals, still, they’ll be considered pets. That said, they are sanctioned under the “no-fly” policy.
With this new act in place, patients with service animals need to comply with DOT certifications for their service animal.
Right now, AKC is debating with the DOT about this policy. They are expressing their sentiments that DOT reconsiders their definition of service animals. Therapy animals must also be considered as service animals since they help patients recover from disability.
They must reconsider since therapy animals help in the recovery of a person’s disability. We are talking about emotional or mental health problems. Emotional support animals help a person feel better and be able to live life more positively.
How to know if you’re eligible to have an ESA?
Not all are fortunate enough to get an ESA. You need to write a letter to request a prescription from licensed mental health professionals.
To obtain an ESA, you need to have proper documentation to justify your need for an emotional support animal.
You can also talk to your doctor or therapist to understand your condition. After their assessment, if they find you need an ESA, they will give you a prescription.
Pugs are one of the in-demand ESA to help you relax and calm down. Having these pets are great since they help cope with stress and panic attack.
Dogs are great companions. They are loyal and protective. Most of all, they are always there whether you are down or feeling good.
But to know if you need one, you need to talk to your therapist. That way, you’d know if you need an emotional support dog or not.
In case you have further questions, feel free to reach. We’re more than willing to help you. We can also help you find an emotional support pet.