Anybody can have a dog or a cat. That’s boring! Wouldn’t you prefer to turn heads while you’re walking down the street with something a bit more special? Some rare emotional support animal that only the truly interesting and innovative mavericks of the ESA world would ever think to own?
Here is our list of seven unusual — but awesome — emotional support animal options.
We begin our list with an animal that is unconventional but not too crazy. People have been keeping pigs as pets for millennia. Recently, it has become quite trendy to stroll around Soho or Malibu with a pig by your side. Pot-bellied pigs are super-intelligent and friendly. They love interacting with humans, and they adore cuddling and bonding, which is why they make wonderful emotional support pets. Taking care of a pig is a big commitment. They need regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet. Although they have a tendency to root around in bins and drawers and dig up gardens, these are minor inconveniences. All in all, a pot-bellied pig is a great choice for an emotional support animal.
Sticking with the farmyard theme, the next animal on our list is the pygmy goat. This small breed of goat has a gentle temperament and friendly personality, which makes it a popular choice for an unconventional ESA animal. Even Abraham Lincoln had a pet goat living with him in the White House during his presidency. And if it’s good enough for Abe, it’s good enough for us! Pygmy goats are typically the size of an average dog, and they eat grass, hay and leaves. They need a shelter that is approximately 8 feet by 10 feet and a large fenced-off area in which they can roam, so a pygmy goat is usually best suited to offer emotional support in a rural setting.
Donkeys are sensitive souls with big front teeth and even bigger personalities! A miniature donkey will be affectionate and friendly and is good with children. But even mini donkeys grow to about 3 feet tall and up to 300 pounds, so, again, this animal is not suitable for urban living, unless you have a lot of land available. Like goats, they need plenty of grass and hay, shelter, and fenced land on which to roam. If you have the facilities, a donkey can be a great ESA animal.
Small, cute and highly inquisitive, ferrets will require quite a lot of looking after, but they will repay the effort in quality interactions, fun and frolics. A cheeky ferret will never fail to raise your mood with its high jinks and outgoing personality. For such small animals, ferrets require large amounts of care. They need to be sufficiently trained to keep them out of mischief and make them easier to handle. They love playing and exploring, so they need to be tamed, and rules need to be set. If you have the time to train a ferret, it will make an excellent emotional support animal.
Pet rabbits used to be fairly traditional ESA animals, but these days, they’re pretty rare. But pet rabbits, with their soft fur and calm demeanor, offer endless comfort and joy to their owners. They are intelligent and social and enjoy interacting with humans. Rabbits prefer company at all times, so getting two rabbits to share a hutch together is always the best course of action. With an emotional support animal rabbit, you get two ESA animals for the price of one!
These stylish facial-haired little lizards are famously social and are kept as much-loved pets by many people around the world. They are calm and happy in human company, often choosing to live among humans even when in the wild. The are not particularly cute, and they don’t like to be cuddled, but they do enjoy climbing, playing and interacting with their human owners. A bearded dragon is an unusual but potentially very good emotional support animal.
These little guys are serious contenders for the title of the cutest animal in the kingdom. They are tiny, gentle and incredibly adorable. But they also happen to be covered in spikes, so cuddling can be tricky! Their backs may be spikey, but their bellies are warm, soft, furry and endlessly fun to stroke. Hedgehogs are quiet creatures, and they neither need nor want constant attention. Like many humans, they need their alone time. Certain states don’t allow hedgehogs to be owned as pets, so it is important to research the legality in your own jurisdiction before you set your heart on getting an emotional support hedgehog.
So there you go: 7 unusual but great ESA animal options. Some may not be practical for you given your logistics and lifestyle situation, but some may be perfect matches!