If you think that you might need an emotional support animal (ESA) and you don’t already have a pet, you may be exploring several options in terms of how to get one. You’re wondering just how to adopt an emotional support animal. It’s very easy to be tempted by the cute pictures on Instagram into buying a fashionable breed, but the truth is that there are millions of unwanted cats and dogs living in shelters across the United States, just waiting for a forever home. Below, we’ve provided a list of reasons why adopting emotional support dogs, cats, and other animals is the best option.
So, why would you need an emotional support animal? They’re a well-respected form of therapy that can be used to treat a variety of emotional and psychological conditions. If you suffer from a condition like an eating disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or depression, you may benefit from an ESA. They help soothe symptoms by offering company as well as support if you are feeling social anxiety or unease. It has also been proven that petting and stroking animals can help aid recovery for those who are unwell.
Instead of going to a breeder for an emotional support animal, visit your local shelter. You are likely to pay an extortionate sum for a specialized breed, whereas you may find one for a far cheaper cost at your shelter, as on-trend breeds tend to be abandoned quickly by owners who are not ready for the responsibility of owning a pet. The emotional dividends of adopting a shelter animal are obvious. You are saving an animal from possible destruction and giving them a safe home where they can experience true love and happiness.
It is also important to not discount mixed breeds. They tend to have healthier immune systems, as pedigree animals are often inbred and have certain problems associated with their breeds. For instance, did you know that pugs are pretty much guaranteed to experience respiratory issues due to their poorly constructed sinuses? And they aren’t alone. Most pure-bred dogs have certain issues associated with their overbreeding.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), approximately 6.5 million animals enter shelters every year. Of this number, 3.3 million are estimated to be dogs and 3.2 million are estimated to be cats. Of these animals, approximately 1.5 million are euthanized, or put down. By adopting an emotional support dog, cat, or other animal from a shelter, not only are you supporting a local charity in the form of the shelter itself, but you may actually be saving an animal from an early and unnecessary death, as well. Most shelters do not wish to euthanize animals, but are often left with no choice due to overcrowding and financial issues.
Luckily, 3.2 million animals are adopted from shelters annually, but this number has the potential to be much higher. If you want to adopt instead of shop, call your local shelter and make an appointment to go in and visit the animals. Meeting your ideal ESA is like meeting your soulmate. You both just know! You will find that certain cats and dogs will just gravitate toward you. Pet them and see which one fits best. It’s also important to consider your living conditions. Don’t get a Great Dane if you live in a small apartment!
Your shelter will usually vaccinate and neuter your emotional support animal and will ask for a small donation to cover these costs. You can then go about getting your ESA its official paperwork so that they can enjoy the protections allocated to them and to you under the law. While emotional support animals do not yet enjoy the same protection as service animals, due to a lack of education as to their necessity, there are still some things that getting an emotional support animal letter can cover. If you’re not comfortable visiting your regular doctor, you can make an online appointment with a medical professional who specializes in assisting people who need emotional support animals. You will have a video consultation with them, where they will ask about your condition and the animal that you wish to be certified as an emotional support animal. If they feel that you are in need of an ESA, they will provide you with an ESA letter, which is signed, stamped, and dated. The ESA letter is valid for one year and when it expires, you will have to attend a new consultation to get a new letter.
While it’s a very tempting proposition to go to a breeder and pick a perfect new puppy, you can’t let the temptation stop you from adopting an emotional support animal from one of the thousands of shelters across the country. Your conscience will thank you and you won’t regret it for a moment when you’re cuddled up with the best emotional support that money can buy. Your bank account will also thank you when it’s counting up all that you’ve saved in avoiding breeders’ fees! If you’d like any further information about how to adopt an emotional support animal, please contact us. We’re here to help you save a life and find a new friend.