Benefits of Getting an Emotional Support Animal

What is an Emotional Support Animal? How can you qualify to have an Emotional Support Animal? What is the ESA letter? Which animals are considered Best for this purpose? How is it beneficial?

When humans are no longer relevant to support you emotionally, you need to find someone reliable. When human support ceases to give you peace of mind, it is time to look out for getting an emotional support animal. Now you are wondering about which animal is an emotional support animal, so let me help you out. You will learn today about the best emotional support animals for depression and emotional support.

1. Define Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

An animal in the form of a companion that is provided to a person with a psychiatric disability to help them recover is termed an emotional support animal. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, animals from all species come under the category of emotional support animals. (See Do Dogs Feel Emotion?)

2. How Service Dogs are Different from ESA?

Mostly, people get confused between these two. A service dog is specially trained to serve people with physical impairments and disabilities. People carry out their daily tasks with the help of service dogs, and they help them heal emotionally also. For example, a service dog will help the person with opening doors, handing out things, and other security work. (See 7 Facts About Dog Sled Teams)

3. Training of Emotional Support Animals

There is no specialized training for such animals. They are put under observation to monitor their activities and habits to ensure they are not dangerous to anyone. Such animals should be mentally and physically healthy because a person coping with emotional distress cannot handle any severe situations. Must read the article on 8 tame wolf facts.

  • An emotional support animal must be well-behaved and easy to handle.
  • Such animals should not pose any threat to the health and safety of others, including their new owners.
  • They should be neutered or spayed to keep their mating aggression under control. (See Bloodhound – Dog with Best Sense of Smell)

4. Qualification for having an ESA

According to the laws proposed in the United States, a person can have an emotional support animal only when his mental, emotional, or physical disability is certified by a mental health professional, a psychiatrist, psychologist, or any such professional. Your requirements for getting an emotional support animal should be genuine and not just a desire to have a pet. (Also read What to Do When You Feel Like a Failure?)

5. Need for ESA Letter in Getting an Emotional Support Animal

There are certain localities, apartments, and buildings where a pet is not allowed. If you are having an emotional support animal, then you should ask for the ESA letter from your psychiatrist. Keep the following points in mind for your ESA letter. 

  • It should be issued by the doctor treating you presently.
  • The letter should not be older than 1 year.
  • The psychiatrist issuing the letter must be your practitioner and not some random doctor. (See Importance of Child Behavioral Psychologist)

6. Acts Regulating the ESA

According to the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) and Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), in the United States, a person certified to have an emotional support animal has the following rights:

  • Your companion animal can accompany you in the airplane cabin without any additional costs.
  • You can have them at your apartment, flat, or workplace even if they have a no-pet policy.
  • Make sure your companion is wearing a collar stating their identity as an emotional support animal. (See 14 Interesting Facts about Mammals)

7. Best Emotional Support Animals for Depression

Dogs are the most common choice for this purpose, but cats are also following them in the second number. Cats will teach you to love yourself and not be bothered by others in the least. (See 8 Types of Good Emotional Support Dogs)

  • Ferrets are just next on the list of getting an emotional support animal because more and more people want them as pets these days. They are energetic and lovable and their small size makes them good traveling companions in an airplane.
  • Rabbits are easy to handle because they neither bark nor hiss when in public. They are quiet, gentle, and loving. (See Can Possums be Pets?)
  • Mini horses and ponies need to be house-trained, controlled, and should meet the height and weight requirements to be kept as an emotional support animal. 
  • Fishes are low-maintenance companions and many people consider them good pals.
  • A bird can be very helpful as an emotional support animal.
  • Cow, sheep, and goats are also on the list because they can help you grow emotionally.
  • Chickens and hens will keep you busy and give you eggs also.
  • Hedgehogs, hamsters, squirrels, etc. can be prickly but at the same time affectionate and gentle. Even so, they are not so famous as emotional support animals. (See Can you have a pet squirrel?)

8. Benefits of Emotional Support Animals

The emotional support animals offer you the companionship and reassurance that you need to get over depression and mental health issues. Various benefits offered by them are as follows:

  • They can help you to develop social interactions and connections. It happens when you are taking them on a walk and people communicate with you on their ground. (See What is a Positive Mindset?)
  • After getting an emotional support animal, your ability to care for them helps in generating a sense of self-efficacy in yourself. You start believing in yourself and your ability to control your behaviors and outcomes.
  • You will be protected against low moods because your companion will encourage daily interactions with them as well as other people.
  •  You will feel relieved from the high states of anxiety and triggering moments after you get involved with your companion pet. (Also read Uses of EMDR for Anxiety Reduction)

9. Responsibility of having an ESA

Irrespective of your age, gender, and relationship status, you can have an emotional support animal because everyone needs a break from this stressful life. If you are facing depression or any other mental-related issues, you can talk to your physician and take home your companion. (See What is the Name of Lovecraft’s Cat?)

Having your own pet at home is a big responsibility. If you are getting an emotional support animal, then the responsibility is no less as they are still dependent on you. (See Why Are Dogs Not Supposed To Have Chocolate?)

  • You have to consider your financial, emotional, and physical conditions before getting an animal companion.
  • If you are not financially stable, then you should prefer a low-maintenance companion like a fish or a bird.
  • Be ready to love and cherish them. Be considerate towards them.
  • Consider getting an emotional support animal as your companion and not an animal living in your house.
  • Make time for them so that they also feel attached to you.

But an emotional support animal is not trained to support a person emotionally. They do so in their natural way and through their natural behavior. Now you know the benefits of getting an emotional support animal. Do share the best emotional support animals for depression list with everyone to help them find the best companion for them. (See Can Parrots really Talk?)

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