When choosing which emotional support animal is right for you, it’s important to factor in which animal you yourself are right for. Inner city apartments can be stressful for certain animals that crave wide open spaces, which is an important factor to take into consideration when assessing an animal’s ability to effectively support you; it can’t look after its owner when it’s possibly under duress itself. Cats, rabbits and guinea pigs are an excellent choice of ESA for those living in small apartments in the city or busy residential areas. But if your property does allow a little more room to roam then you can start to be a bit more creative and widen your search when considering which ESA will be best suited to your needs and lifestyle. Below are the top three emotional support animals we think Old McDonald would have chosen for himself.
Border Collies are the classic choice for farmers who are in need of a little herding help; their agility, intelligence and seemingly limitless energy levels make them a true workhorse (‘workdog’? Pfft, semantics!) and a huge asset to farm life. Border Collies are easy to train and are fiercely loyal and loving to those closest to them. However, their spritely spirit will need constant fulfilment, lest they become restless and unleash their cheekier side on your slippers… So, a big yard to run around in, games to play and tasks to complete will be necessary to keep your pup happy and healthy. One thing to consider about these barking beauties is that they really like to herd, whether you want them to or not. Be it sheep, chickens, your children or even a bag of dropped apples, if something looks disorderly, expect your canine companion to round ’em up. Their constant need for companionship can at times be a little trying for some but it’s this exact quality that makes Border Collies an especially good choice for emotional support animals because they just can’t get enough of spending time with their owners.
If you’re still keen on a canine companion for your ESA but don’t think you can match the athletic requirements of a Border Collie then a good old-fashioned English Sheepdog would make another fine choice. This good natured, shaggy haired pup was historically a drover, helping farmers to herd cattle and sheep to the market. You can expect a good level of obedience, agility and intelligence when training, matched with a whimsical and easy-going disposition when you’re more in the mood to play. Their poofball-like fur is part of what makes the Sheepdog such an enticing choice of pet, but be warned that to keep this coat clean and cuddleable will require around four hours of grooming per week. Despite the sheepdog’s working heritage, they’re not a great choice for a backyard dog as they crave closeness with their family and can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long.
Pot-bellied Pigs are another excellent choice for those living the pastoral life; they’re highly intelligent, emotionally intuitive, generally non-allergenic, flea-free, inexpensive to feed and pride themselves on their personal hygiene. They’re incredibly social creatures that are able to bond easily with humans and will always be up for a bit of a tummy rub and a snuggle. Whilst pigs are generally more intelligent than dogs and can learn at a faster rate, their eager-to-please counterparts make for easier training as getting your ‘Babe’ acting on their best behavior will first require you to earn their trust and respect. Being happy left to their own devices means that pot-bellied pigs make for a low maintenance and stress-free pet, whilst being highly attuned to the emotional state of their surroundings means that they’re also a wonderful choice as emotional support animals as they’re better able to asses the needs of their owners.
Miniature horses are another choice of ESA that have been making waves in the media, as a recent court ruling has declared them viable for work as emotional support animals and allowed them access to both air travel and usually ‘non-pet’ friendly areas. This is great news for both equine lovers or just about anyone who finds these magical creatures a boon to existence in general. But as happy as these shrunken steeds are to cuddle up indoors, they also love a bit of outdoor action in their free time, making them perfectly suited for those with a bit more space living out in the country. Aside from being cute as hell, miniature horses are also highly intelligent living to be at least 20-35 years old (the oldest miniature horse actually stands at an impressive 50 years young). When these miniature mares aren’t spreading joy to all that lay eyes upon them, they can also pick up the slack with the household chores, such as mowing the lawn.