We have all heard of service dogs for the blind, deaf, disabled, or otherwise seriously afflicted people out there. But have you ever heard of emotional support animals?
If you are new to this concept and are unsure what exactly they are or what they do. Make sure to read more because we are going to cover this topic in detail. So, without further ado, let us get started!
What Is An Emotional Support Animal?
Emotional support animals are companions that provide some kind of benefit to someone that has a disability of some sort. Typically, these disabilities are to do with mental health.
But we will go into that later on in this article. Emotional support animals provide companionship and support that is intended to alleviate some parts of a disability.
Now that we have a simple understanding of what an emotional support animal is, let us explore what the benefits are.
What Are The Benefits Of Having An Emotional Support Animal?
There have been many studies that have indicated that animals can provide essential mental health benefits and support.
There has even been research that has shown that owning a pet can vastly improve the mental health of an individual.
This is because owning a pet usually garners emotional connectivity and this can be extremely helpful to those of us that are experiencing a time of crisis.
Below are the most common benefits that emotional support animals provide to their owners:
- Anxiety – When you are feeling anxious the simple act of petting an animal can put you in a better mood as well as helping you to relax.
- Trauma – Animals of various kinds are known to offer people support when they have gone through traumatic incidents. This is largely due to the fact that animals are attuned to emotion and often react in a way that can comfort them.
- Physical Health – There has been research that indicated that having an emotional support animal can help to lower blood pressure and even decrease respiration rates which has an overall positive effect on physical health.
- Loneliness – Loneliness is a big killer and the companionship of an emotional support animal can be essential for those of us that experience depression and anxiety while living alone.
- Care and Love – Mist animals love unconditionally and provide companionship no matter what. They also need care and attention which can be very rewarding in return for undying love, loyalty, and affection.
What Animals Can Be Emotional Support Animals?
The general rule is that any domestic animal can be considered an emotional support animal. They are also able to be any age as long as they are not aggressive and are not troublemakers in their owner’s home.
Some animals that are commonly chosen as emotional support animals are as follows:
- Guinea Pig
- Bearded Dragon
The list could go on, but you get the idea. As long as it is a domestic animal that we humans know as pets or see on farms, you can have it as an emotional support animal.
The only requirements of an emotional support animal is that they are able to be handled in public without incident, they are not aggressive and they do not cause havoc in the home.
This is because an ESA’s presence is all that is required to help alleviate the symptoms that its owner experiences.
Who Can Get An Emotional Support Animal?
Emotional support animals are usually given to people that have emotional disabilities. This means that they will need to be certified by a professional that they are emotionally disabled.
Usually, a psychologist, therapist, or other mental health professionals can qualify you for an emotional support animal.
This means that they will need to write you a properly formatted letter which is known as an ESA letter.
But, what conditions qualify you as an emotional support animal owner? Below are some of the most common conditions that are mentioned in the DSM-V:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Cognitive Disorders
- Motor Skills Disorders
- Tic Disorders
- Intellectual Disability
- Learning Disorders
- Attention Deficit Disorder
- Sexual Disorder
- Substance-Related Disorder
What Qualification Do Emotional Support Animals Require?
Emotional support animals do not really require any registration or certification to become your ESA. In fact, there are only two things you will need to provide in order to get an emotional support animal.
This first thing, as we have mentioned, is a letter from your counselor or other mental health provider.
The second is proof that your animal of choice has passed a recently administered standardization temperament evaluation from a respectable institution.
We recommend the AKC or Pet Partners. This evaluation is to make sure that your animal has the right temperament and is not aggressive or difficult to handle.
What Do Emotional Support Animals Do?
Emotional support animals are animals that are not aggressive, easy to handle, and do not cause trouble in the home that are there to support people with various mental disabilities or conditions.
They can be animals of any variety that are domestic. Their purpose is to provide comfort and support to their owner, usually by providing companionship, love, loyalty, and emotional support.
They offer a wide range of benefits to their owners, for example, they can put a person that experiences anxiety at ease, comfort an owner that has experienced trauma, help with physical health issues like blood pressure, be a companion for those that are lonely, and of course, they provide love and affection which is reflected in the care and attention that we give our ESA.
We hope that you have enjoyed learning about emotional support animals and what they can do for us. These are the unsung heroes of the service animal world.
While emotional support animals are not typically recognized as service animals they certainly provide care and companionship for those of us who experience disorders that are mental more than physical.
We hope that you have a fantastic day and we will see you soon in the next article!