Having an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

Do you ever wonder what it’s like having an emotional support animal? Well, let me tell you all about having an emotional support animal, what an emotional support animal is and how to qualify your furry friend or exotic friend as an emotional support animal. 

    According to verywellmind.com, the definition of ESA is “an animal companion that offers some type of benefit to an individual with some form of disability. The animal is intended  to provide companionship and support that help alleviate at least one aspect of the disability. Dogs are usually the most common but cats are common as well. Other types of unique animals can be emotional support animals like bearded dragons, pigs, turkeys, peacocks, ducks, chickens, miniature horses, squirrels, goats, parrots, goldfish, monkeys, spiders, hedgehogs, hamsters, geese, donkeys, llamas, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, turtles, pigeons, roosters, and sheep. 

Emotional support animals have rights that institutions have to abide by. You also have to remember that emotional support animals are not the same as service animals. A service animal goes through far more training than an emotional support animal. Also, a service animal does more for an individual than an emotional support animal does. According to the Fair Housing Act landlords cannot require tenants to pay additional fees for their emotional support animals, ask for information on the extent of the person’s disability or request detailed medical records, refuse to accommodate the emotional support animal, require that the animals receive specific training require the owner to use a specific type of harness or identification collar for the animal. Tenants are still financially responsible if their animal damages the property. Also, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires landlords to make exceptions to the “no pets” policies. However, there are two conditions required for such an exception. First, the person living with the animal must have some type of disability that significantly limits one or more major life activities. Also, the animal must provide some type of relief or assistance related to these identified disabilities. 

    There are many benefits to having an emotional support animal. Some benefits include less anxiety, trauma support, improved physical health, fewer feelings of loneliness, and reciprocal care and love. Having an emotional support animal can provide significant positive effects on your mental health as well. 

    It’s fairly easy to qualify an animal as an emotional support animal. You need a documented disability that is recognized by a therapist or psychiatrist. Then, the mental health provider needs to write a letter on why the animal would be a good fit for your disability. One you have the letter you are all set. All you need is that emotional support animal letter. 

I actually have an emotional support animal named Stormy. She has been my emotional support animal for three years now. She helps me with my mental health issues. I honestly would recommend that anyone with a mental health disability should get some type of emotional support animal. They help a whole lot. I promise you those furry friends and exotic friends can make a crappy day turn 180 degrees into a happy day.