Emotional support dogs can be a great therapy tool for people suffering from a wide range of illnesses. The companionship, love and patience that people find when they take in an emotional support dog, look after it and raise it can be a very stabilizing bond in a world that can, at times, feel very overwhelming and scary.
Emotional support dogs are different from service animals, which are highly trained to aid and assist people suffering from extensive and debilitating conditions such as blindness or palsy. Emotional support dogs need not go through any such extensive training as their main function is to simply provide companionship and emotional support when necessary. In this way, an emotional support dog is practically indistinguishable from a regular family pet.
It’s no surprise then that more and more people are seeking to register their beloved pets as emotional support animals as it gives them extended rights in terms of where they’re allowed to live and how they can travel.
What You Need to Qualify for an Emotional Support Dog
Emotional support dogs can be of great use to people suffering from some form of mental, psychological or physical illness. The most common conditions that have shown a great benefit from the intervention of an emotional support dog are post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, learning difficulties, attention deficit disorders and mood disorders. If you’ve been diagnosed with any of these conditions or feel like you may suffer from them and would benefit from access to an emotional support dog, then you’ll need an emotional support animal letter.
How to Get Your Emotional Support Animal Letter
Applying for your emotional support animal letter is actually a lot more simple than it sounds. If you seek counsel from a licensed mental health practitioner and provide them with your medical history and your desire to register for an emotional support dog, then the practitioner will issue you with a certified emotional support animal letter (if they believe that the treatment is suitable), which you can then use to register your pet and use as documentation of your rights. If you haven’t received any treatment for your condition, then simply describe your symptoms thoroughly and explain why your life may be improved by the introduction of an emotional support dog. The process should be more or less similar.
How to Choose Your Emotional Support Dog
Once you have your emotional support animal letter in hand, then the fun can start, and you can set about choosing your emotional support dog. When choosing which breed is best for you, it’s a good idea to do some research to get an idea of what kind of dog will be best suited to your lifestyle instead of the one that you think looks cutest (although this is also of utmost importance).
Different breeds will exhibit certain traits that are distinctive to that breed and can be used as a guideline to decide which pup is the pup for you. Som things to look out for are size and energy levels, purebred or mixed breed, maintenance requirements, typical personality traits, intelligence, and trainability. The size and energy level is fairly self-explanatory. If you go for a dog breed like a Sheepdog or a Border Collie, then you’ll need enough space for your pup to run around in as well as the time necessary to take them for long, physically intense walks. If you don’t have the luxury of time and space, then you may consider a smaller, more low-energy breed such as a Basset Hound or a Sussex Spaniel.
If you’re looking into purchasing a purebred, then just remember that, due to inbreeding, they’re more likely to be predisposed to genetic health problems such as respiratory and skin conditions and will most likely require more veterinary care.
Your emotional support dog’s coat is another thing to consider, as some long-haired dogs can shed excessively and will require frequent grooming to keep them looking neat. Equally, if anyone in your household or even one of your neighbors suffers from allergies, then you might consider looking into a dog with a hypoallergenic coat such as a Poodle or an Irish Water Spaniel. Personality traits,
Personality traits, intelligence and trainability will also be of great importance when considering your emotional support dog, as you’ll be taking them into public places where they’ll be expected to be well-behaved and quiet. Newfoundlands and Golden Retrievers are good examples of easily trainable, intelligent and generally quiet dog breeds.
How to Register Your Emotional Support Animal
Now that you have you emotional support animal letter and have picked out your canine companion, it’s time to register your new best friend. Registering is easy and can be done online. All you’ll need is to do is have your letter and provide evidence that your emotional support dog is manageable in public spaces, and in three to four working days, your dog will be issued will an identification card that you can take with you when out in public.