More and more people are accepting the fact that animals and human can have a relationship more than just as masters and pets. Dogs and cats, for instance, are now widely used to support people with disabilities. It is believed that an animal companion may help alleviate symptoms of psychological or psychiatric disabilities, such as anxiety, depression, or prolonged stress. An Emotional Support Animal is the term for an animal which provides support for people with disability.
What is an emotional support animal?
To qualify for an ESA, we must get a note from a licensed medical professional which proves that we have disability. Unlike service animals, an emotional support dog is not specially trained to help performing daily tasks of disabled people. A service dog may help the owner by guiding them on the streets, alerting or relieving the owner from seizures, or pulling the owners wheelchair. The animal is trained to perform specific tasks related to the disability.
Unlike a service dog, an emotional support animal helps people solely through the companionship. The dog or cat gives therapeutic benefit for individuals with mental disabilities. Therefore, the restriction and regulation is also different.
Emotional Support Animal Letter
Sometimes, landlords and building management restrict us to keep animals. However, an ESA is not a pet. An ESA helps us to alleviate our mental disability symptoms the same way a wheelchair helps people with physical disabilities. It helps the owner to function like a normal human being without any disabilities.
However, we need to complete paperwork to be able to keep ESAs legally. We need a prescription from a professional of mental health that states that we need ESAs for emotional comfort. The document is called an ESA letter. ESA letter contains information about our disabilities, the necessity of the ESA, and the information about mental health professional who signs the letter. This letter will allow us to register emotional support dog or cat and take them with us into our apartments or airplanes.