Does anyone have any experience with having/getting an emotional support animal?
Last Updated: 04/16/2021 at 7:42am
Temi Coker, MSC, MA, Dip.Cons
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Top Rated Answers
I have a dog who is a registered emotional support animal. She has been the greatest gift! They really can and do help you! I got mine when she was a puppy, and going based off of my experience, I would maybe not recommend a puppy or kitten if you are struggling a lot. I was very depressed and chasing around a puppy was a lot more work than I was prepared for! However, she has grown into a wonderful, sweet, snuggly, well-behaved adult dog and I couldn't ask for a better pet or friend. Adult dogs and cats make wonderful companions. My sweet girl really does make me feel better when I'm in a low. She gives me a purpose to get up every day, because I know she needs me like I need her. If you feel this is something that may help you, ask a therapist. Getting a letter from a therapist is the first step, I would suggest looking through pet rescue groups. They are better equipped to help you find a dog or cat that will align with your needs, and you'll be helping an animal who needs a home! Double win :) Good luck!
Yes! I have a cat that is my emotional support animal. I got her about 2 years ago when I was severely depressed, and honestly she’s the reason I’m still here today. She helps me get up and out of bed in the morning because I know I have to feed her and once I feed her I’m up for the day. She cuddles me when I’m upset, and it’s just nice to have a presence. It may seem crazy, but I do talk to her about when I’m feeling. To have something to love and take care of has seriously helped my mental and emotional health
Any animal (within reason) can be an emotional support animal. You just need a doctor's note (from your actual primary care doctor or therapist). The registrations for emotional support animals (or service animals) that you find online or through the mail are all scams (and should be reported). There is no actual registration. Those fake official registrations are predatory to those with real disabilities and emotional support animals or service dogs. They are also giving those with real disabilities and emotional support animals or service dogs a bad reputation. An emotional support animal does not have access rights like a service animal (which is specifically trained [costing thousands of dollars] to do specific tasks [beyond comfort] for a person with a recognized disability) does- so you can not take your pet wherever you want. You can have your emotional support animal in your house even if they do not allow pets - you just need your doctor's note. However, your animal should still be well behaved, and if your animal misbehaves you may have to move or rehome your emotional support animal. You will also have to pay for any damage that your animal does. You can also take your emotional support animal on a plane with you (though there may be some restrictions). Animals are great for some people with mental illness. They can provide comfort. They provide a reason to get up in the morning. Taking care of something/someone sometimes encourages people to take better care of themselves. If your animal needs to go outside and go on walks, that provides a person with motivation to get outside get sunshine, fresh air, and exercise, which are all good for mental health. I personally have an emotional support animal. My therapist had suggested that I get a dog, and she wrote me a note. My primary care doctor also wrote me a note. About a year later, a family had a dog that they were planning to use as a service dog for their autistic son, but the dog failed all of her ($16,000) training because she has anxiety and is too easily distracted, so her owners wanted to get rid of her so I got her for free. My doctor re-wrote the note with my dog's name and physical description. When we moved to a place that does not allow pets, I had to give the leasing agent my doctor's note and she called my doctor to confirm that the note was real. I love my emotional support animal- she comforts me when I'm upset, she interrupts my harming behaviors, she alerts when there's someone outside/at the door, she gives me a reason to get up in the morning, I find joy in taking care of her, she's adorable, she makes me smile and laugh, she gives me a reason to go outside and exercise.
I totally subscribe to the comment made by HelpSumBunny. Any animal can be an emotional support animal. There is a lot of entities that are specialized in providing assistance with getting an animal that could offer emotional support. To qualify for an emotional support animal in the US, its owner must have an emotional or mental disability that is certified by a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other licensed mental health care provider. These may be invisible disabilities. Landlords and employers can request proof that an animal is an emotional support animal. And this proof has to be from a licensed health care professional who will state why the user needs their emotional support animal to support their specific disability.
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