What is an Emotional Support Animal?
An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is often a priceless friend in need for persons suffering from anxiety, depression or other mental illnesses. They provide therapeutic support and are therefore irreplaceable for such people. The most common type of ESA is an Emotional Support Dog.
How do I register my Emotional Support Animal?
If you are considering registering your dog, you should know that there is no official registry. What you need to certify your pet as an Emotional Support Animal is an ESA Letter written by a licensed therapist.
If you registered your Emotional Support Animal, stop and read this important information.
What is an ESA Letter?
An ESA letter is a recommendation letter written by a licensed therapist.
An ESA Letter should be written by a mental health professional. In many cases, your family doctor or primary physician may not be the right choice. To qualify for a legitimiate ESA Letter, make sure to work with a licensed mental health professional who specializes in animal therapy so they know all the requirements around Emotional Support Animals. You do not want to worry about whether your ESA Letter will be accepted or not.
If you are currently working with a therapist, ESA Doctors recommends asking them to write you an ESA Letter.
If your current therapist does not believe in animal therapy or are unaware of ESA rights, you may seek support from one of the therapists we work with. Please click on the image below or on this link to proceed – Qualify for an ESA Letter Online.
How is an ESA Letter different from an ESA Registry?
An ESA Registry is a site that asks for money to confirm that you have a registered emotional support animal. This is not required by law and does not need to be done.
If any company or website states that ESA registration is required, they are a scam and should not be trusted.
The only way to qualify your pet as an official ESA is to qualify for a legitimate ESA letter from an ESA doctor (such as a psychologist) or licensed therapist (LMFT, LPC, etc.). You may choose to carry a copy of your ESA Letter on your phone so you have access to your letter at all times.
What should an ESA Letter Contain?
An ESA letter should include the following information:
- Your full name
- That you have a disability as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders
- You are unable to perform at least one of the most important activities of your everyday life because of this disability
- The ESA is recommended to you by a licensed mental health professional
- The Federal Regulations that protect you
You should also make sure that your ESA letter isn’t dated later than a year from the current date.
Emotional Support Animal Rights
First things first: even though ESAs don’t require any special training, your dog needs to be ready for this kind of a responsibility.
It’s important that your emotional support animal behaves among people and other animals.
If you’re not sure your dog is up for the job or if it has some habits that should go away (like barking at people or jumping on them), you should definitely consider finding a person who will train your ESA and correct their behavior.
ESA Right #1 – You can live in “no-pets” policy housing with your Emotional Support Animal
Landlords can’t require sensitive medical information nor can they charge you any additional rent or deposits for your Emotional Support Animal. They also cannot place illegal regulations on your emotional support dogs such as weight and breed discrimination.
ESA Right #2- Airlines are obliged to let your dog fly with you in the cabin without a fee or weight restrictions
Your emotional support dog won’t have to be in a carrier, but you do have to keep them on a leash. If it helps, your animal can also sit on your lap during the flight. Still, make sure to notify the airline that you’ll be traveling with your ESA when reserving the seat. That will help the entire process go as smoothly as possible.
Beware of Emotional Support Animal Discrimination
When it comes to rules you should know as an owner of an ESA, federal laws forbid anyone from discriminating against you or your emotional support animal.
Emotional Support Animal Adoption
It is fairly easy to register a dog as an emotional support animal, but remember that ONLY an ESA Letter will qualify a dog as a true emotional support animal.
When choosing a dog, be careful when picking the right one. Of course, if you already have a dog – your choice will be clear, but remember to be reasonable and train your dog if necessary.
If you don’t own a dog yet, you can always consider adopting from your local rescue or shelter.
Lots of animals are full of love and just waiting for the right person to share their life with. We always recommend selecting your Emotional Support Animal carefully – picking an animal with a history of traumatic experiences may feel noble, but it could be a stressful experience for a person who does not have experience with dog training and needs to deal with their own problems. You may end up getting more stressed about your ESA rather than alleviating your stress.
Whatever you finally choose, remember that this animal deserves as much as it’s giving you. If the dog is helping you stay focused, relaxed and happy, make sure they feel the same way. It should be a relationship that brings you both a lifelong friend and support system.
Get your Emotional Support Animal Letter below –
Get the Love and Support you deserve.