Is an Emotional Support Animal Right for You?
There tends to be a lot of confusion about the difference between service dogs, therapy dogs, and emotional support animals. So here’s how it breaks down:
Service dogs: These dogs are highly trained to do specific tasks to accommodate a person with a disability. For instance, they function as “seeing eye dogs” for the blind. They can provide physical stability for someone who suffers from dizziness.
Therapy dogs: These dogs are also highly trained, but their purpose is a bit different. Therapy dogs provide psychological and physiological support to people other than their handlers. They are typically brought into places like schools, hospitals and other care centers.
Emotional support animals (ESA’s): Emotional support animals come in all varieties, not just dogs. They are companion animals that provide emotional support to an individual with a disability or impairment.
Benefits of Emotional Support Animals
ESA’s have proven to have many benefits. Some of these benefits are:
· Reducing stress
· Relieving loneliness
· Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol
· Increasing activity
· Improving mental health
· Faster recovery times from illness or injury
· Having a friend who loves you unconditionally
What is the difference between an ESA and a pet?
Practically any animal can be an ESA. You can also register an animal for ESA certification online.
A huge benefit to having an emotional support animal is that your companion cannot be denied housing. So even if the landlord says “NO PETS ALLOWED,” the law says that ESA’s are not pets and those rules don’t apply. They can also fly on the airplane with you!
More importantly, though, a true ESA is more than a pet. It’s part of your family, your best friend and closest confidant. It gives you a reason to get out of bed, even if it is just to go for a walk. It allows you to experience the therapeutic value of caring for another. It keeps all of your secrets, never talks back, and always takes your side.