An emotional support animal serves a major need, and that is, to fill an emotional void that no one can fill at the time of need. Research has shown that owning a pet can increase the quality of one’s life to a large extent. Sometimes, a pet is all one needs to navigate their daily lives with ease. “ESA,” as it is fondly called, are animals that provide emotional support.
This is not to be confused with a service animal (mostly dogs) used for needs that go past emotional support. Owning a pet generally is good for your mental health, which is why emotional support animals are domestic animals like dogs, cats, and other animals that are safe to be live-in animals. It is important to point out that an emotional support animal’s training is nothing more than the training a domestic animal receives.
How To Get An ESA
Before acquiring one, you must consider where you live. This is due to some Landlords’ aversion to pets in their properties. However, as one who requires emotional support, you are covered under the Fair Housing Act because it gives room for humans with emotional support animals to have their pets on any property, including those with the “no pets” policy. Also, you are free from paying pet fees, if any, when you have an emotional support animal. However, you can not have them in spaces like restaurants where pets aren’t allowed.
With the above in view, here are ways you can acquire an emotional support animal:
A Psychiatrist or Therapist
You can only have an emotional support animal if a mental health practitioner recommended it. If not, you just have a pet and are not qualified to use the term “Emotional Support Animal.” What happens, in this case, is that a psychiatrist or therapist offering emotional support animal (ESA) letters will write one stating that you need an ESA for your recovery process. Although preferably granted by a psychiatrist or therapist, this letter can also be from a medical doctor. Your pet can board a plane for free with this letter if your ESA is a small one. The law exempts anyone diagnosed with any mental health condition in need of an ESA to pay any extra fee whatsoever.
Adopt a Pet
If you do not have a pet, once you have been diagnosed with needing an emotional support animal and prescribed one, the first step afterward is to adopt one. Various pet adoption centers can provide you with a multitude of pets to adopt from. Do look up those in your state or country and take your time to research them. Better still, your psychiatrist or therapist can recommend one they are affiliated to.
Choose a Pet
Once you have found a preferable center to adopt a pet from, you can go further to decide on the type of pet that works for you. If you find cats scary, you know that you should be tilting towards other domestic pets comforting you. The first stage to getting the required emotional support you need is by being with a pet that you can accommodate—one that is likable by you, not one that you can not stand. As mentioned earlier, you do not need to buy a special pet for this support, especially if you already have a pet. There is simply no extra training needed. All you need to do is get your already existing pet an emotional support animal permit.
What’s your strength?
The strength we mean here is financial. Before adopting a pet, you must weigh what you can allocate to the care of that pet financially. Some pets are high maintenance and those that aren’t. Whatever suits your budget, do adapt accordingly. If the low maintenance pets are still too much for you, you can try stuffed animals or plants as some people do. The responsibility of caring for a pet can be overwhelming, especially if you aren’t wired for it. Do consider these and, most importantly, your schedule.
Consider your schedule
It is unwise to adopt a pet that you barely have the time to bond with. If your schedule permits you to care for your emotional support animal, then, by all means, get one, but if it doesn’t, please get an alternative as mentioned above.
Pets generally are known to lift one’s mood and can be a friend indeed, which is why the concept behind a pet being an emotional support animal isn’t far-fetched. They help if you have a mental or emotional disorder and can bring so much joy into your life.