Every year in the United States, 40 million adults deal with the most common form of mental illness in the country: anxiety disorders. Yet, there is some good news. Recently, pet therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment. Pets lend legitimate emotional support, and these pets are referred to as emotional support animals. Here are five frequently asked questions about emotional support animals and ESA training.
1. What is an ESA Letter?
Many individuals wonder how to qualify for an emotional support animal. The first step is to get an ESA letter. An ESA letter is a document written by a mental health professional on behalf of an individual requesting their pet be given the status as an Emotional Support Animal. In the letter, the mental health professional states that the individual requesting the ESA has a disability and the emotional support animal will have a positive effect on the patient.
2. How Can My Pet be an ESA?
To get your pet registered as a certified emotional support animal, you first need an ESA letter from a mental health professional. This ESA letter states that you have a disability and serves basically as a prescription for an ESA. Once you have this, registering a dog or your pet as a certified ESA can usually be done online.
3. Who Can Write an ESA Letter?
A mental health professional must write an ESA letter. In essence, the mental health professional has determined that the individual has an intellectual, psychiatric or physical disability that is in compliance with standards set by the Federal government.
4. What Types of Disabilities Qualify an Individual for an ESA?
An individual qualifying for an ESA requires a letter from a mental health professional that states they have a disability. Some disabilities include depression, social anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, among others such as panic, mood disorders, phobias, and stress.
5. What Else Can I Use My ESA Letter For?
Your ESA letter will be very helpful if you want to live in a building with a policy that states “no pets”. Also, flying restrictions will be different if you show your ESA letter when you want to fly with your pet. Then, your pet can be in the cabin of the plane. It is good to remember that the ESA letter for flying usually needs to be no more than one year old. Always check with your airlines for their rules.
If you have a therapy cat for depression or service dog for social anxiety, whatever your situation is, it is good to know there are laws surrounding ESA ownership. ESA training is readily available for dogs and other animals. And at the end of the day, just think: what could be more of a win-win than adopting a shelter dog ESA? There really is a sense of purpose with ESAs and ESA training.