Animals have proven to be more than just a pet that rolls over or fetches you things. Experts agree that animals can reduce stress and the feeling of loneliness while boosting endorphins (happy hormones) in humans. Further investigation reveals that emotional support animals also offer various other health-related benefits. This is especially true for people with debilitating disabilities like mental illnesses.
“A pet often provides unconditional love and acceptance, and is always there for you,” says Gary A. Christenson, MD, chief medical officer at Boynton Health service. She further adds, “pets are great companions to fill a void in someone’s life and also distract them from unpleasant experiences.” Upon asking any pet owner, you’ll know how having an emotional support animal has changed their life for good. It also breathed positivity into their empty lives.
What You Need to Know?
ESAs are a priceless friend for patients with depression, anxiety, trauma or any other mental disability. They provide therapeutic support and are thus invaluable for such people. Registering your pet as an emotional support animal allows you to live, travel and wander with your pet wherever and whenever you want provided you have an ESA letter.
If you are planning to register your pet as an emotional support animal, it’s time you should familiarize yourself with the registration process and your legal rights. Also, the most important thing to know is that there is no official registry – you need to obtain an ESA letter issued by a certified therapist.
An ESA letter is a certified therapist recommendation stating that your mental health condition requires support of an emotional support animal. A mental health professional must issue the letter. Meaning a recommendation letter written by your family doctor might not work in most cases.
How to register your pet as an emotional support animal?
Visit a mental health expert if you believe that your mental health condition can improve with an ESA. If you are diagnosed with a debilitating mental illness, you can apply for an ESA of your choice. You can either ask your mental health therapist to write a recommendation letter or look for a therapist that does.
“Don’t worry if your therapist does not issue an ESA letter. There are many mental health therapists online that are qualified and certified to write an ESA recommendation letter for you,” says the chief executive officer of Pet Support Doctor.
Apply online by creating an account with a telemedicine service provider and fill out a simple questionnaire. Share your medical records with a therapist online and get your emotional support animal recommendation letter within few minutes if approved.
He further adds, “It’s extremely crucial to have a board-certified therapist issue a letter. Only these are genuine and authentic otherwise it might end up more harm than good.”
An emotional support animal not only allows you to live and travel with your pet. It also gives you certain privileges in cases where animals are not typically allowed. Registering your pet as an ESA means that landlords cannot disqualify pet owners. And have to allow you to live with your pet at no extra cost. Also, if your ESA is qualified for flying, you can bring it with you on the plane, even if they’re above the weight-limit.