When it comes to emotional support animals, it is often confused with service animals. While the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, the two are actually quite different. Service animals assist an individual with a disability.
Emotional support animals provide comfort and companionship to their owners. ESAs do not have to be trained service dogs, but they must provide therapeutic benefits to their owners.
Service animals perform tasks that benefit the individual with a disability and have been trained by someone who is qualified in this field. In contrast, emotional support animals provide comfort and companionship to their owners without any specific task requirements (this may include sleeping or fetching).
It is important to note that not all individuals who have emotional support animals are people with disabilities; some simply like having them around.
If you already have service animals, in most cases, there is no need to get an emotional support animal. Service animals can also provide comfort and companionship to their owners, even though service animals are not specifically trained to provide emotional support.
Disabilities that require service animals include autism, anxiety, blindness, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, mental illness, mobility impairments (such as a wheelchair), multiple sclerosis (MS), and seizure disorders.
Service animals are typically dogs that have been trained to perform specific tasks to benefit the individual with a disability. Service animals can be any breed or size of dogs. These dogs must be individually trained to perform tasks that help people with disabilities go about their day-to-day lives.
The dog must be housebroken and well behaved around people and other animals in public places such as restaurants and stores. Some states also require that service dogs wear special collars or vests identifying them as service animals.
Service animals cannot simply accompany their owners in public places without the assistance of an official guide or handler (this is true for all types of service animals).
On the other hand, disabilities that might require emotional support animals include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, autism, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People with these disabilities usually don’t need physical help and thus don’t need service animals.
However, they may benefit from having a pet that provides comfort and companionship. An emotional support animal does not have to be a dog. Some people prefer to use other animals such as cats, rabbits, or even snakes. Emotional support animals can also be other types of pets such as birds or fish.
KyokoKyoko is from a family of 3 and moved to New York with her parents and siblings when she was 13. Kyoko is fond of spending a great amount of time with pets, specifically her beagle Luna and cat Missy. Her boyfriend often complains that she spends too much time giving attention to their animals. Kyoko has written dozens of articles concerning pets and is aiming at owning a pet shop one day!
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