An emotional support animal is a pet that provides comfort and companionship to its owner. The ESA is an animal that helps to alleviate the symptoms of mental illness. These animals are legally protected in all 50 states, but their presence on public transportation is still not a given. Emotional support animals are also recognized by other countries and continents, including most of Europe.
You may wonder, why do people get them? People who have been diagnosed with severe anxiety disorders or severe depression often need help from their pets in order to function normally at home and at work. An ESA provides emotional support by providing comfort and companionship to its owner during times of distress, such as when one is grieving over the loss of a loved one or preparing for a job interview.
An ESA also helps reduce symptoms of anxiety disorders and depressive disorders by reducing stress and fear levels in their owners’ lives. This, in turn, helps them to feel more comfortable around others, more self-confident, and able to participate more fully in social activities with family members or coworkers. They can avoid becoming overwhelmed or depressed around others.
Emotional Support Animals and Travel Laws
Although Emotional Support Animals are protected under the ADA, they are not yet recognized by many countries as an accepted form of medical treatment. However, in some countries and continents, such as Europe, these animals are allowed to accompany their owners on public transportation.
Some countries even allow these animals to stay in hotel rooms with their owners. However, there are some restrictions when it comes to traveling with your ESA pet abroad around Europe. For example, in most countries, the animal must be able to adapt to local conditions. This means that your ESA must be healthy and free of any known disease or illness.
The Basics: Get an ESA Letter
The ESA letter is the key to traveling with your ESA overseas. An ESA letter from a licensed professional, such as a doctor or psychiatrist, is required in order to be allowed to travel with your ESA.
Before you leave, you must obtain an official written statement from a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) who can attest that your ESA has been prescribed by them and that they are authorized to provide such services. You can find out where to get this information either by just visiting the office of your chosen LMHP or by searching up services online.
You will then need to show this letter to your airline, travel agency, or hotel. Some airlines have recently adopted stricter laws on the ESA. If your airline requires you to show a letter from a licensed LMHP, you may need to submit it to them a certain amount of days before your flight takes place.
In addition, there are conditions where an airline may deny your ESA access. For example, if your animal is too big or too loud, or if it is an unfamiliar breed, then your ESA may be denied access. Other cases may require you to pay an extra fee, much like if you were to bring a regular pet.
TomTom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!
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