The world is a frustrating place and the worries in a person’s daily life can be quite overwhelming. In order to cope with such feelings, most people opt for pets as a source of comfort. But an Emotional Support Dog is much more than just an ordinary pet.
People who are suffering from mental issues or any other disorders related to it might find the companionship of a loving and faithful dog helpful to overcome their issues or problems that occur because of such conditions.
In our article today, we will take a detailed look at the details regarding ‘How does it help to have an Emotional Support Dog’, ‘Qualifying for an Emotional Support Dog’, and ‘How to certify an Emotional Support Dog’. We will also cover the information about the legitimate way to qualify your furry friend as an ESD (Emotional Support Dog).
Emotional Support Dogs can be kept even in a place where pets are not allowed, and they are free from discrimination based on their breed, age, or size.
If you are a person that is dealing with issues related to your mental wellness, would want to know whether you qualify for an Emotional Support Dog, and don’t know any therapist having a valid license. Don’t worry, we got you covered… Just click on the link provided below and we might be able to connect you with a licensed therapist.
Conditions that qualify for having an ESD:
Most people could find relief from different types of health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, panic attacks, and phobias by having an Emotional Support Dog. Especially, when the people are not able to get well with the help of prescribed medication or have unfavorable side effects using them.
In order to qualify for an ESD, your already existing therapist or a medical professional with a valid license will be able to decide whether or not you are suffering from a mental disorder and will having an ESD be able to relieve you from your condition.
It should be taken into consideration that Emotional Support Dogs are not usually considered service dogs according to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), and therefore, don’t have the same privileges and rights as a service dog. A Service Dog is even allowed in Restaurants and Stores, where an ESD might not be allowed.
Anyhow, Emotional Support Dogs have the right to go along with their respective owners in their place of residence or on flights based on two federal laws, which are the ‘Fair Housing Act’ and ‘ACAA’. People having Emotional Support Dogs can keep them even if their place of residence doesn’t allow pets.
Getting an Emotional Support Dog:
Emotional Support Dogs could be obtained from places such as dog shelters and rescue centers. You can either get an ESA letter before getting a dog or after getting one.
An Emotional Support Dog could be any dog that can help you relieve symptoms of your mental health condition or emotional issues. Moreover, an ESD can be able to provide the owner with the support and confidence they need for leading a normal life.
Any dog can become an Emotional Support Dog, irrespective of its breed. In most cases, the dogs that can be found in shelters and rescues are highly likely to become perfect Emotional Support Dogs. As said before, you get an ESA letter before adopting a dog or you can get one after adoption. There is no requirement of special training to fulfill the duties of the owner for an Emotional Support Dog in contrast to a service dog that needs to be trained. Emotional Support Dogs are just there to support their owners with their fellowship and make them feel comfortable.
Even though any breed of dog can become an Emotional Support Dog, it is better that you choose a dog that is considered a perfect companion for you. For instance, if you are a person living in an apartment, having a smaller dog might be convenient for you to manage when compared to a large dog, which would need a lot of exercise and a lot of free space to wander.
Also, it is better to pick a breed that has positive effects on you. For example, if you are suffering from extreme anxiety, a dog with excessive energy and excitement might make things worse. Instead, you should choose a dog that exhibits quiet behavior. It is better to visit many dogs and conduct some research on the breed and its qualities until you could find a dog that is perfect for you. Not only it is important to choose a perfect dog, but it is also essential for you to create a nice environment for the dog to stay.
How to certify your Emotional Support Dog:
One important thing to notice is that certifying your Emotional Support Dog is different from acquiring an ESA letter. Most people often have a misconception that both these aspects are the same. It is useless to get a certification for qualifying your dog as an ESD. There is a difference between certifying a dog and getting an ESA letter.
There exists no certification program that can formally qualify a dog to be an ESA based on the law. The only legal way for qualifying your dog to become an Emotional Support Animal is by getting a recommendation letter from a mental health professional having a valid license. If you don’t know a therapist and are having trouble finding a therapist, you can connect with a mental health professional with the help of an online platform.
Usually, no landlord or any other person would need the certificate, registration number, or ID to prove that your dog is an Emotional Support Animal. The only thing that is required by them is the ESA letter which has been provided by a healthcare professional with a license saying that you need an ESA.
To be precise, there is no necessity to register your dog on any website, if you are able to acquire an ESA letter. Neither the Fair Housing Act nor the Air Carrier Access Act recognizes certificates or registrations of Emotional Support Animals.
The process of certifying your ESD:
- Acknowledge your requirement for an ESA
- Connect with a doctor or therapist having a license
- Indicate your need for an ESA
- Gather your documents
- And the process is complete, no need of registering your dog.
You should know that there is a possibility for landlords or airlines requiring to submit additional documents belonging to your ESD along with your ESA letter.
In order to make your dog an Emotional Support Dog, you should be able to qualify for an ESA letter that is provided by a licensed doctor or therapist.
In case you qualify, the ESA letter you have obtained from your Licensed Mental Health Professional will:
- Get written on your therapist or doctor’s (LMHP) letterhead.
- Ensure that you are suffering from a disorder.
- Provide a recommendation stating that you require an Emotional Support Animal for getting relieved of your disability-related symptoms.
- Consist of the license number of your LMHP.
- Contain the date and signature of the LMHP.
Please observe that in the case of air travel, the ESA letter will only remain valid for one year from the date that it has been provided. After that, you might have to renew it periodically.
Obtaining a valid ESA letter can help you to accommodate your Emotional Support Dog in a house that doesn’t allow pets and in aircraft carriers without requiring you to pay any sort of additional fees or charges. The general policies for pets don’t apply to Emotional Support Dogs. This means, even if your place of residence does not allow dogs, or restricts dogs based on their weight or specific breed, these restrictions will be ignored as such rules aren’t applicable to Emotional Support Dogs.
If you want to know about your eligibility to qualify for an Emotional Support Dog, you should contact your current therapist. If you don’t have one, you can connect with an efficient licensed health care professional via a website such as ‘ESAcertificate.org’.
Rights of an Emotional Support Dog:
The most important rights of Emotional Support Dogs are that they can be with their owners in houses and on flights based on the two federal laws namely, Fair Housing Act and Air Carrier Access Act. People having Emotional Support Dogs can have them at their house even if the place they stay has a strict ‘No-Pets Policy’.
The U.S. Department of Housing has released new guidance on January 2020 designed for the accommodation of Emotional Support Dogs in the house. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s guidance declares that landlords must offer reasonable accommodation to the tenants that are having a valid ESA letter, which has been provided by an LMHP (Licensed Mental Healthcare Professional). HUD strictly states that people should buy licenses, registrations, or certifications from the sites that sell them in order to qualify for an ESA. However, it has also been declared that health care professionals having a valid license can offer services remotely (online as well), which are related to Emotional Support Animals. This is considered to great news for the people who are suffering from mental health issues and are unable to consult a therapist, whether due to financial reasons or a busy schedule.
The United States Department of Transportation is recently making changes to the existing rules, which are applicable to Emotional Support Dogs. This might impact the rights of Emotional Support Dogs. Further details about the changes in these rules and from when they are applicable are not known. However, as of now, airlines will still continue to accommodate passengers that bring along Emotional Support Animals on flights.
Your relationship with your ESD:
It is not a sign of weakness to have an Emotional Support Dog.
There is nothing to be ashamed of about requiring the help of a furry friend in order to deal with the mental issues and emotional distress that you are currently dealing with. Emotional Support Dogs are known to provide efficient support and comfort to people suffering from disorders.
If you think that having an Emotional Support Dog can be beneficial for you, discuss the same with your doctor or therapist, or mental health professional. In case you don’t have access to an effective mental healthcare professional, ESA Certificate can be able to let you connect with a professional having a valid license in your state. In order to proceed further, please click on the link that has been provided below.