Moosh - guinea pig on owner's lap

So you’ve just made one of the most important decisions of your life. You’ve decided to get an emotional support animal. Good move! If you’re suffering from a psychological disability such as anxiety, depression, or panic attacks, then this decision could really change your life. An ESA is not just a pet; it’s an animal that satisfies a need. It could become your constant companion, your comfort-provider, and your confidence-booster, as well as your new BFF.

Now that you’ve made the decision, you might need to know how to get an ESA. There is no specific pet or animal that fulfills this role. You don’t go to your local pet shop and ask for one of their emotional support animals. You decide which type of pet you want, then all you have to do is apply for your emotional support animal letter. The most obvious ESA, and indeed the most popular, is of course a dog. Dogs come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments. They’re known for their loyalty and affection, so if you’re a dog person, it’s a no-brainer. Choose your breed of ESA dog carefully, though. Think about your living space – how big is it? Do you have access to an outside area? Would you like your ESA dog to be a house dog? Maybe you find being in public places challenging or you feel awkward in social situations. If this is you, then an ESA dog could be your life-saver. Access to some public areas is denied to regular pets, but if you have an ESA letter that certifies your dog, you will be granted entry to more places, depending on the discretion of the staff – and providing your pet knows how to behave!

Moosh - playing with ESA dog

Walking, caring for, and playing with your dog can have huge mental health benefits.

Taking your ESA dog for walks will bring so many benefits. First up, as your pet needs exercise, it’s a reason for you to get out of bed in the morning and to get out of the house. With your ESA dog at your side, you’ll surely feel more confident and relaxed. You can play games with your friend, talk to them, and simply enjoy their company. Walking your dog is also likely to bring you non-intimidating social encounters with other dog-walkers – or even walkers without dogs if you have a particularly friendly and attractive canine! With your pal close by, you’ll feel more at ease chatting with strangers and just simply passing the time of day. Encounters like this can do wonders for your self-confidence.

Whichever type of dog you choose will almost certainly help to alleviate your symptoms. There is scientific evidence demonstrating that petting a familiar dog can reduce signs of stress – surely a much more pleasant, quicker, and safer way to aid your mental health than relying entirely on medication. Yet more proof that your ESA dog will be a friend for life!

You may not want a dog, however. No problem. Your emotional support animal can be a cat, a rabbit, a budgerigar, a hamster, a snake… Pretty much any pet that takes your fancy and is capable of being a companion to you and having a positive impact on your life. Smaller animals need less care, of course, but they do still need to be fed and watered and to have their little house cleaned if they live in a cage. An ESA cat, naturally, would live with you in the house. There are a few breeds that are suitable to being purely indoor cats, if that’s what you want. These tend to be more affectionate and loving than outdoor cats, who can often be quite independent. Most cats like attention, though; they love to be stroked and petted and to play games. They will be only too happy to sleep on your bed – or sometimes in it! Little furry pets who live in cages can also become great emotional support animals. If you let them out every day for a run around, they will soon get to know you and will enjoy being petted.

Moosh - riding horse on beach

A horse can be an emotional support animal too!

Another obvious emotional support animal that could become your friend for life is a horse or a pony. These creatures need a fair bit of looking after, but if you like horses, this will be a joy, not a chore. If you choose a horse as your emotional support animal, you will have a daily focus. Your horse needs food, cleaning out, exercise, and attention. Riding your horse, either around a paddock, in the countryside or, better still, galloping across a wide, open beach, will help reduce any anxiety or stress you’re feeling and will give you a close bond with your beloved emotional support animal. You may not feel like riding every day; you could simply visit your friend and spend some time with them. You’ll both feel the benefit.

Once you’ve decided on the best emotional support animal for you, simply apply online for your ESA letter. The process is easy and non-threatening. If you’re approved, you will receive your ESA letter by post and you’ll hopefully be on your way to enjoying a better life with your new best friend.