Service Dog Certification or ESA Letter?
Which one is best suited for me?
Dogs have been working with humans for thousands of years. Their loyalty, unconditional love and willingness to serve have brought the canine species into many areas of our lives. This includes helping those with both physical, mental and emotional disabilities.
There are two basic types of assistance dogs. Emotional support animals and Service Dogs both assist their owners, but they are not the same and require different steps to obtain them.
What is a Service Dog?
A Service Dog is a type of assistance animal that provides a service or a task for their disabled handler. According to the ADA, service animals may only be dogs and miniature horses. Service dogs must be specially trained to assist their handler and must be well behaved while on duty. These dogs have more access rights than emotional support animals. See below for a few examples of the types of service dogs.
- Hearing Dogs – Alert the deaf to different sounds, alarms, etc.
- Guide Dogs – Used by those that are visually impaired to help them navigate around obstacles, through a crowd, etc.
- Mobility Dogs – Provides support and does tasks for those with limited mobility or with balance issues.
- Psychiatric Service Dogs – Provides support for invisible mental illnesses. These dogs alert or calm their owners in need.
- Medical Alert Dogs – Alerts their owners before an attack, seizure, or drop in blood sugar.
What is an Emotional Support Animal?
This type of assistance dog or animal does not require any specific training. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be of the canine species.
Emotional Support Animals (ESA) can be a dog, cat, reptile, bird, rodent or even a horse or potbelly pig.