You may be a candidate for a emotional support animal if you’re having one of these thoughts:

“My son is going to college in another city. How will I ever know he’s safe?”
“My daughter moved out, and now she never calls!”
“Now that I’m widowed, I just don’t know what to do with myself.”

Maybe you’ve lived alone for a while but are facing your first challenge as a single person. You have never missed the companionship of another person as much as you do now. Whatever your circumstances, when someone you’ve had in your life for a long time is no longer interacting with you every day, your daily routine is no longer familiar. And because we’re creatures of habit, adults can suffer from separation anxiety no matter how independent they were before. We shouldn’t expect anyone to take separation easily in stride. Humans are emotional beings that have relied on each other for many millennia.

An emotional support dog or cat can go a long way toward dispelling feelings of uncertainty and aloneness. According to a study published online in Current Biology in 2015, humans tamed wolves into pet dogs 27,000 years ago. Why? Imagine life back then: Small groups of humans must have felt very alone in a harsh and unforgiving environment, with danger ever present. Pets were companions, always cheerful, always ready to play or sit or be petted or keep you warm. And puppies … few things make humans feel as good as the sight and feel of puppies, and litters must have been born frequently.

Pets and support animals perform the same functions today. When you can’t get a hug from your son or daughter, or when you come home to an empty house, a call to your dog will bring him to you in an instant, almost bursting with affection and gratitude for your attention. While cats are not quite as demonstrative, their purring certainly communicates a sense of contentment and goodwill. Even cats are glad to see their humans when it’s dinnertime.

On the flip side, our children may suffer from separation anxiety over not being with us? Everyone needs time to adjust to new circumstances, and children are no exception. Children do, of course, go through phases of being fearful of people and places they don’t know.

However, such behavior lasting more than a month in a child over 6 years old may indicate separation anxiety disorder. Whenever kids are anxious, adults around them can help by shoring up their self-esteem and giving them ways to show their independence and earn approval. One way to do this is with an emotional support pet.

Caring for a pet, whether it’s one child’s responsibility or shared among the family, has been shown to help kids develop empathy. They learn how to think of others besides themselves, thereby getting out of their own heads and away from their internal negative self-talk. They get immediate gratification when they treat a pet well and begin to feel better about themselves naturally.

If you think you or someone close suffers from anxiety disorder, an emotional support pet may be the answer. Find out about emotional support animal registration by contacting us.