All dogs offer an emotional connection with their pet parents. Your dog may also be your personal trainer, comic relief and your best friend all wrapped up in a furry package. But some dogs can also be your Emotional Support Animal (ESA). According to Wikipedia, “an emotional support animal is an animal that provides relief to individuals with psychiatric disability through companionship.” If you are suffering from anxiety, depression and are prone to having panic attacks, an emotional support animal might be a positive addition to your life.
Who and What?
A dog is the most common type of ESA. But cats are a close second. An emotional support animal can be any breed or species as long as it supports an emotional or psychological condition. These animals offer benefits to the dog mom or dog dad with some form of mental disability. Companionship and emotional support are the intended jobs. As a side note, your emotional support animal must comply with local laws and must be an animal that is legal to own in the United States. Consequently, no lions, tigers or bears.
How does an ESA help a person? One example, if that having an ESA helps to lower blood pressure and reduce stress levels. In addition, for people with social anxiety, having your dog with you may provide just the right motivation to interact with others. Your ESA offers their person a sense of stability. Just the mere presence of having an ESA can help build confidence, and reduce anxiety and stress.
ESA vs. Service Dogs
ESA dogs are not psychiatric service dogs. Emotional support animals are intended to provide companionship and support and they do not require specialized training. A service dog require years of training and works specifically with people who suffer from mental illness. A service dog can detect the start of a emotional episode and help ease their effects. Although it seems very similar to an ESA, service dogs are highly trained to perform tasks: guiding a person on a street, pressing an elevator button, retrieving items and even reminding a person to take their medication.
If you are a veteran and have suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, you may want an ESA. As a military vet, who suffers from insomnia, has PTSD flashbacks or is withdrawn from family and friends, ESA are highly effective to reduce these symptoms and improve the soldier’s mental well-being.
How To Get An ESA
You may think the first step in getting an emotional support animal would be your Veterinarian. That is not the case. Vets are not legally qualified in the fields of mental health to make that judgement. Only a licensed social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist can do that. That is why you need Pettable.
Pettable is an online platform with a mission to keep pets together with their pet parents. They offer tele-health services to people needing to connect with certified mental health professionals. The general criteria conditions may include depression, generalized anxiety, paranoia and/or insomnia. Their licensed clinicians can prescribe ESA letters for housing and travel purposes. To qualify for an ESA, you simply speak with a licensed clinician to receive your own ESA letter. Then simply designate which animal will be your specific emotional support animal. Whether it’s an existing pet or a new pet your adopt or rescue, your dog or cat will now be your ESA.
The Fair Housing Act
As a housing renter, you will have certain rights with your ESA. The Fair Housing Act requires landlord and property management companies to allow the possession of animals that provide emotional support to their humans. Pettable will help an individual enforce the Fair Housing Act with their landlord. If you have an ESA letter from Pettable, they cannot deny you having an emotional support animal. Under the Fair Housing act, landlords cannot require tenants to pay additional fees for their ESA or require that the animal receive specific training.
Being dog codependent is a responsibility that new pet owners should not treat lightly. Owning a dog or cat is large responsibilty of time and effort. You must be capable of caring for your ESA and are prepared for a life time commitment. Talking to a medical health professional will help you assess if you are in need of an emotional support animal. We invite you to talk to our friends at Pettable and have them help you with your emotional support animal.