If you’re thinking about qualifying for an emotional support animal, you’ll first have to acquire an ESA letter, which is written and issued by a mental health professional. Don’t worry, this isn’t the long and daunting task it may seem to be, but it is worth noting down a few of the requirements that you’ll need to apply.
As you’re in the market for an emotional support animal, you’ll probably have already heard about the many benefits of having an ESA and how they can help you cope with a wide range of different fears, phobias, anxiety disorders and other psychological illnesses. So, onto the next step of acquiring your ESA by applying for your ESA letter; typically, ESA letters are issued by a psychologist or therapist that has stated that you suffer from some form of emotional disability and that you are entitled to, and would benefit from, treatment in the form of an emotional support animal. So without further ado, let’s look at the six most fun activities you’ll enjoy once you’ve got your ESA letter!
Limitless cuddles and affection
It goes without saying that the main function of an emotional support animal is to give you, well, emotional support. So with that in mind, expect to be rewarded with a limitless supply of cuddles, affection and love. What separates ESAs from regular pets is that not only are they able to access areas where pets are generally not allowed (such as prohibitive housing or airplanes) but they’re also more finely attuned to their owners emotional state, so are better able to assess when you need calming down, distraction or attention.
A loyal companion for life
Unlike service animals, which are usually employed in cases of severe physical or psychological disorders and come in the form of a highly trained dog or, more recently, miniature horse, ESAs allow more flexibility when choosing which animal will be right for you. Dogs are still a very common choice of ESA but cats, hedgehogs, miniature pigs and even snakes make for popular choices as well. ESAs are fiercely loyal and, once bonded, you can count on their undying love and support for the rest of their life. This dependability is what makes ESAs so special and effective when caring for people suffering from emotional and psychological disorders such as PTSD or anxiety.
Improved health is yet another massive boon to owning an ESA; not only will they be there for you in a therapeutic capacity but as your pet you’ll be charged with their overall health and well being as well. Often this means going outside for regular walks and exercise which in turn leads to you living a more healthy and fulfilled life. Many ESA owners find that the rhythm and routine of caring for their ESA has a palliative and calming effect on them as well.
One of the major benefits to look forward to when applying for ESA ownership is that it allows you more freedom and flexibility when choosing accommodation. Unlike with regular pets, where housing can be quite restrictive and often more expensive, your ESA letter will provide you with the ability to apply for accommodation wherever is best suited to your needs and budget. This more than any other factor was the driving force for the legislation of emotional support animals and the rights of their owners to try and live as normal a life as possible.
Flying rights are really what put ESAs on the map; from articles about snakes on a plane to goats defecating in the aisle, emotional support animals have been receiving a fair amount of flack from the media of late. But if you put the more comical stories of bizarre air travel companions aside, being able to fly with your ESA close is of both a major benefit to you, the owner and your emotional support pet. A lot of people choose to leave their pets at home or in a kennel when going away on holiday because the stress induced by the thought of flying with your pet, cooped up in a cage at the back of a plane is too much. However, with your ESA letter in hand you can fly comfortably knowing that your pet will be safe and sound and more importantly close by to give you cuddles and support throughout your trip.
Improved social life
Last but certainly not least is the improved social aspect of owning an ESA, circling back to my previous paragraph on improved health and the impetus to go outside and walk your ESA on a regular basis. This will obviously have a carry on effect to your social interactions, whether they be fellow ESA owners or simply other regular pet owners in the park, on the street or even on one of the many forums set up for additional support for ESA owners.