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5 Things You Should Know About Emotional Support Animals

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Pets give their fur parents a different kind of love and connection. Although they might seem just animals to those who are not pet lovers, pets provide emotional support, affection, and companionship to their fur parents.

Some theorize that pets help boost our bonding hormone or cuddle chemical also known as oxytocin. This hormone heightens our social skills while reducing our blood pressure and heart rate.

Let us put our focus on emotional support animals, shall we?

  1.  What are they?

Emotional support animals are companion animals for persons with disabilities. Usually, emotional support animals are dogs. These support animals are recommended by medical professionals and cannot be accessed by just anybody. Before being able to have an emotional support animal of your one, a recommendation letter from a certified medical or a licensed mental health professional.

  1. What do they give you?

These fur babies can help you ease your anxiety or depression. Because having a pet or an animal to look after needs routine, these emotional support animals (ESA) provide some structure in the lives of their fur parents. They as well enhance the person's sense of responsibility and ability to follow a specific routine.

  1. Who can get an emotional support animal?

You will only be allowed to get an ESA if you have the recommendation from your licensed medical doctor and if you can provide proof of your disability. Unfortunately, some well-abled individuals pretend to scam the system and claim his/her pet as ESA just so he/she can bring it anywhere. In some states, like in South Dakota, fake claiming your pet as an ESA is considered a misdemeanor.

  1.  Can I be turned away from renting an apartment if I have ESA?

Sadly, some apartments or landlords do not accept tenants with pets or require a pet deposit fee. They have their own reasons, of course, however as per the Fair Housing Amendments Act, tenants with ESA are allowed to live in such places without being required to shoulder the pet deposit fee. Just be prepared to have your proper documentation to show as proof that your pet is an ESA.

  1.  Are emotional support animals the same as psychiatric service animals?

Psychiatric service animals, as the name suggests work specifically with mentally unstable individuals or those with mental illnesses. These animals sense the onset of psychiatric episodes and help alleviate the effects. Emotional support animals, on the other hand, provide help or assistance by providing comfort to their owners' emotional and psychiatric needs and condition.

Social isolation may lead to depressive symptoms or depression.  The phrase, No man is an island is true as social interaction and relationships directly correlate to depression and mental health. Having an emotional support animal can be a great reducer of feelings of isolation and sadness because it offers unconditional love, affection, and companionship. It also boosts a person's self-esteem because knowing that someone, even a pet is counting on them.