Emotional Support Animal (ESA) serves to provide comfort to the patients who need this therapy. The main difference between emotional support animals and the service animal is that the first one doesn’t require special preparation and training. The only thing that matters is how effective is the patient’s contact with an animal in the context of alleviation of the mental disorder.
According to US laws, a person with a mental or emotional disability is exempt from a number of federal rules related to the accommodation and travel with emotional support animals. To participate in the ESA program, the patient must confirm the diagnosis with a certified doctor, who will indicate the need for emotional support.
Any animal, to which the patient has developed a persistent emotional attachment, and whose presence has a positive effect on his/her condition, can get ESA status.
The law guarantees the right to the emotional support of the animal and offers a number of privileges. In particular, the person has the right to keep his/her ESA in the place of actual residence without bail to the property owner and take it on board during flights. Meanwhile, you need to keep in mind that a number of property owners can legally refuse to place an animal in a rented room.
As for the airlines, many of them also limit the stay of ESA on board to the dogs and cats. Meanwhile, persons with emotional or mental disabilities can travel with their pets with no additional charge, and even without the “house” for transporting an animal.
ESA dogs serve to ensure propitious communication with individuals suffering from emotional or mental disabilities. Some mental health professionals indicate that the dog can have a no less favorable effect on the patient’s health than a cat. Meanwhile, the dog is less demanding and doesn’t require the constant attention of the owner.
Dogs are unobtrusive and live in systematic rhythm. They are obedient and neat and don’t cause unnecessary trouble. When transported by plane, they don’t create unnecessary problems and fuss (unlike cats). Therefore, the main advantage of dogs is their comfort and mobility, which other animals can’t boast of.
At the same time, every dog has its set of personal qualities, which makes them interesting “roommates”. Animals provide full mental support to those who need it. They form a stable communicative connection with a person, which allows them to give the patients warmth, support, and compassion they require.
According to the experts, the dog is a perfect emotional support animal. Clever, gentle, and calm, it creates a favorable atmosphere promoting recovery and helps to cope with such pathological conditions as anxiety and sudden mood swings, depression, and mental instability.
As a rule, emotional support animal spends a lot of time with a person. Therefore, ESAs live in the houses and apartments of their owners, and not on the street. The animal spends most of its time next to the patient; therefore, it must be adapted for staying indoors without leaving the house (if possible). So, sterilized young male or female, living with you in an apartment or house, is a perfect choice as ESA.
Whether the dog is suitable for emotional support on not depends mainly on its breed. It is better to opt for thoroughbred animals. As for the wild pets, picked up on the street, such choice of ESA is not always successful. As a rule, animals who have lived on the street for some time are more nervous. Taming them takes time and nerves, which the patient doesn’t have. That’s why it is recommended to opt for domestic dogs of specific non-aggressive breeds.
Puppies are the most suitable as ESA since, at an early age, animals form a close emotional relationship with humans. If you don’t have an animal yet, and the doctor recommended emotional support, give preference to the young males, preferably puppies. This doesn’t mean that a grown dog is unable to give warmth and affection you’re counting on, but the odds are clearly less.
There is a list of pathologies, in which the patient may be granted the right for ESA. Emotional support of the dog can be effective in case of the following diseases:
To obtain ESA status for your pet, you must contact a licensed physician. The specialist will confirm that your emotional or mental state requires external emotional support. According to the results of the interview, which can take place in person or remotely, the doctor will give a so-called ESA letter that must meet the following criteria:
At the moment, the process of obtaining ESA is maximally simplified. After filing an application, it is considered by a licensed psychologist in the shortest possible time. After that (given that the specialist confirms the patient’s need for ESA), an official letter is sent to the address. It is enough to keep this letter with you to travel freely with your pet and enjoy other privileges.
The dog classified as ESA can live with its owner in a rented apartment (without special residence regulations for pets and bail). There is also an opportunity to fly in the cabin with your dog. It is very comfortable and helps you save on fees.
If the certified doctor diagnosed you with emotional or mental disability and prescribed ESA, then following the tips above, you will easily find the animal that will fully meet your requirements and help you cope with mental discomfort.
Remember that an emotional support animal performs one key function – provides the patient suffering from mental and emotional disorders with a comforting emotional connection.
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