Music City, a.k.a. Nashville, Tennessee, is the place for music and dog lovers. If you’ve got a song in your heart for dogs, Nashville is the place for you. The city has so many dog-friendly sites that it has an official web page dedicated to pet-friendly areas. Music City even has dog clubs and many pet-friendly restaurants to enjoy with your furry friend. 

What is an ESA?

An emotional support animal (ESA) is much more than just a pet; an ESA acts as an invaluable help to someone with a mental illness. An emotional support animal can be a dog, cat, bird, fish, gerbil, turtle, or other small, domesticated animal typically kept as a pet.

Although ESAs are often confused with service animals, they have different criteria. Service animals receive specialized training that is task-specific. For example, service dogs can receive training to detect oncoming seizures in someone diagnosed with epilepsy. ESAs, however, do not require any training. 

It’s essential to know the difference between an ESA and a service animal because federal and state laws apply differently to the two. For example, housing laws let owners of ESAs reside with their animals in “no pets allowed” buildings. ESAs are also exempt from size and breed restrictions, pet fees, and deposits. However, ESAs are not permitted to board flights free of charge the same way a service dog can.

Housing Rules for ESAs - 12 important details ESA owners should know (infographic)

What is an ESA letter? 

To prove that an emotional support animal is official, an ESA letter is required. An ESA letter legitimizes an ESA and allows the animal to fall under the protection of federal and state housing laws.

Who can write an ESA letter? 

An ESA letter is a necessary part of having an emotional support animal. However, only a “licensed healthcare professional” can write a legitimate ESA letter. Professions who can write an ESA letter are psychologists, licensed clinical social workers (LCSW), psychiatrists, doctors, and licensed nurse practitioners. Whether the ESA letter is acquired online or in person, healthcare professionals must have a valid license number in the state in which they are practicing.

Where You Can Adopt an ESA 

Because Nashville loves dogs, finding a fur-ever friend in Music City is not hard. Finding the right ESA for you may take some searching, but it’s always worth it. Visit any of these shelters, and you might find the pooch of your dreams! 

Proverbs 12:10 Shelter Nashville

Proverbs 12:10

Proverbs 12:10 not only rescues and places dogs in forever homes but also works with the community and develops animal awareness campaigns. 

Music City Animal Rescue Nashville

Music City Animal Rescue

Rescuing surrendered and homeless animals, Music City Animal Rescue treats all their animals like family from the start. All their animals receive rehabilitation and socialization with both humans and other animals, ensuring that their animals can be a part of any home. 

Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary Nashville

Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary

Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary (OFSDS) gives older dogs a new lease on life. Their tagline is “Where love never grows old,” and if that doesn’t melt your heart, their animals will. Because senior dogs are at a higher chance of facing euthanasia than other dogs, OFSDS rescues senior dogs and finds them forever “retirement” homes. 

Where You Can Take Your ESA for Exercise

If you have an emotional support dog, here are a few dog parks in Nashville that can give you and your furry friend some zoomie time.

Centennial Dog Park 

The Centennial Dog Park is a favorite of Music City locals. It offers divided areas for small and large dogs, keeping smaller dogs out of harm’s way. It’s an ideal spot for dogs and people and provides a laid-back social atmosphere. 

Stones River Greenway and Dog Park 

Stones River Dog Park fronts the Stones River Greenway, and it’s easily accessible and excellently maintained. Loved by vacationers and locals alike, the Stones River Greenway and Dog Park are ideal areas for socializing and exercising. 

Nashville Fairgrounds Dog Park

The Nashville Fairgrounds Dog Park is a new play area for dogs. Fenced-in and brand new, the dog park boasts an automobile theme and an agility course. The astroturf is perfect for avoiding dirt and mud. Be aware of the limited times: Weekdays only from 8 in the morning to 4:30 in the afternoon.  

Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal in Nashville, Tennessee, by Applying for Your Emotional Support Animal Letter Online

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