Many people today have pets, and that is only expected. However, there are some people who do not have any regular pets, but rather “emotional support animals” (ESA). You may have heard of this before, but you may not know what it is or what an emotional support animal is for. The idea of emotional support animals can be a bit confusing, but if you have read this article, then you will be able to understand what it is.
What is the Purpose of an Emotional Support Animal?
Emotional support animals are great for people who have conditions such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. These animals provide comfort and support to their owners.
If you have been diagnosed with one of the conditions mentioned above, then you will most likely benefit from having an emotional support animal in your life. Owning an emotional support animal can change your life by providing you therapeutic benefits. For example, someone who often gets panic attacks while out in public will feel more grounded if they have a familiar animal companion nearby.
Aside from simply calming someone down, an emotional support animal can also help with a person’s social life. They can make a lot of people more comfortable, and that is especially true for those who have social anxiety. It is common for someone who has a mental health condition to have a hard time making new friends. An emotional support animal can help with this problem because it will provide its owner with the support that they need to feel accepted by others.
Emotional Support Animals vs. Service Animals
Oftentimes, people will confuse emotional support animals with service animals. Service animals are pets that are trained to perform a specific task for their owner. For example, service dogs help their owners by alerting them to seizures or other health problems.
Service animals are often referred to as “assistance animals” or “therapy animals” because they perform tasks that help the owner live a more comfortable life. However, emotional support animals do not need to be trained and they do not need to have certificates, unlike service animals. They just need to be a pet that provides comfort and support to its owner, although they do need an ESA letter to set them apart from regular pets.
What Qualifies as an Emotional Support Animal?
A pet qualifies as an emotional support animal if it gives its owner comfort to help with their condition. You may be wondering what kind of animals qualify as emotional support animals. There are no specific qualifications that need to be met in order for an animal to be considered an emotional support animal.
This means that your options are not restricted to just cats and dogs. In fact, all sorts of domesticated animals can be considered as emotional support animals. These include birds, rabbits, and even fish.
However, all animals must also come with an ESA letter to be recognized as an emotional support pet. This letter is required by law and is given by a doctor or licensed mental health professional (LMHP). The letter will explain the reason why the animal was prescribed to you and what it can do for you.