Here’s What Everyone Should Know Before Getting an ESA


Having pets is a wonderful way to know that you are loved. There are numerous other benefits of having pets, but none beats the emotional connection that a pet and his owner create over the years as they stay together. For some people, however, pets are more than just companions. Some have pets as emotional support animals. Technically speaking, emotional support animals are more than just pets. They play an important role because they are a source of therapy for those who suffer emotional ailments. This article discusses what you need to know before you get an ESA. 

1. The Difference Between an Emotional Support Animal and a Service Animal

Most people confuse the concepts of emotional support and service animals. While the two terms might seem similar, they are not. The Americans with Disabilities Act provides a good ground for understanding the difference between these two. They define service animals as dogs specially trained to cater to the physical, sensory, intellectual, psychiatric, or mental disability of a person for their benefit. Emotional support animals, on the other hand, can be a myriad of animals. These animals may have specialized training to help their owners, but there is no specific requirement. Lots of people approach premier dog training services with Pettable so their furry companion would be fully prepared to support them. Their owners are supposed to benefit from the companionship of the animal, but they must be able to perform daily tasks without necessarily needing the assistance of their animal.

2. How to Qualify

Many people who qualify to have emotional support animals are always part of a cognitive behavioral therapy program. It, therefore, follows that to get official approval, a licensed mental health professional has to be involved. They have to certify that you have emotional disability and date and sign a letter on their letterhead for your animal to be considered an ESA. Your emotional support animal does not need to be registered to any organization and does not require any unique apparel, either. Also, you do not need to pay any extra fees to have your animal put into an assistance animal registry.

3. ESA Handler Responsibilities and Rights

Remember that you are responsible for your ESA just as you would be for any pet. Anything that your pet does will fall under your responsibility docket. You have to ensure that your emotional support animal is up-to-date with vaccinations and that they are clean. The environment at home should be safe and ready for these animals.

Other provisions protect you as an ESA handler. Some critical ESA rights are covered under the Fair Housing Act. One of them is that the owner of a house, property manager or landlord must ensure that your ESA is accommodated. This means that once a medical professional recommends an ESA, your landlord must allow the animal in, even if the building has a no animal policy. However, these administrators can deny admission if the animal causes undue administrative or financial pressure or is extremely large to be on the property. Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, these animals are not allowed to some automatically into all public places. Some restaurant owners or classrooms, for instance, may require you to remove the animal from the environment. 

The Air Carrier Access Act also has a provision that allows a handler to fly with their emotional support animal in an airplane cabin, free of charge. You can carry the animal on your lap. For instance, if it is a small animal such as a cat, or you can request a seat with more room so that you and your ESA can fit. The main requirement for airlines to accommodate such needs is usually a letter signed by a physician. 

4. Suitability

For an animal to provide emotional support, they should be suitable for a family or its owner. These animals, for example, dogs, should be well socialized for family interactions. A dog that is not socialized correctly might end up stressing its owner instead of providing the necessary support. If you do not want a situation where you have to toss a dog aside and upset it, then it pays to get a dog or animal compatible with your needs. In this way, both you and your emotional support animal can enjoy each other’s company without any extra stressors. 

Humans release their stress and anxiety in many different ways. Emotional support animals, especially, come in to support the psychological need for companionship. Once an emotional support animal is in your life, everything is bound to change for the better. However, this article focused mainly on what you need to know before you get the animal. By reading above, you create a safe and stable environment for you and your animal to thrive.