Emotional support animals (ESAs) have quickly become a leading source of support for those who suffer from emotional and psychological disabilities. Studies show that living with a pet can assuage anxiety, depression, and an array of other psychological and mental disabilities. Owners of emotional support animals across California attest to the impact of the presence of animals on the human spirit.
Housing that bans pets makes it difficult for tenants with emotional disabilities to reap the benefits of such a pet’s emotional support. An ESA note is a legal document signed by your doctor which proves your psychological disability, states the role of your pet in soothing your condition, and proves your legal right to keep a pet that can ease the anxiety and general strife of living with an emotional or psychological disability, regardless of rules in place against pets in your particular housing. Another exception made for ESAs is access to the cabin of the plane on which it’s owner may be traveling, to reduce anxiety associated with flying.
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Though the exceptions made for ESAs accommodate the emotional needs of owners very successfully, they do not match those of service animals, and in turn are not allowed access to the same settings. Service dogs have greater mobility due to their function of helping people perform physical tasks that could not be achieved as easily by the owner on their own. Emotional support animals work to provide moral support, and are not allowed to access most public places that are not pet friendly.
Lucky for you, there are places in California where emotional support dogs are welcomed with open paws:
- Forge in the Forest, Carmel, CA – Forge in the Forest specializes in gourmet bistro style dishes while offering dog-friendly outdoor seating with a menu for dogs, ranging from kibble to chicken and steak.
- Lazy Dog Café, Westminster, CA – With locations across California, Texas, and Nevada, The cafe is a dog-themed eatery with cozy surroundings, dog-friendly seating, and an eclectic menu of hearty American eats.
- Coronado Dog Beach, Coronado California – The park is leash-free year-round on the western part of the beach. On one side there’s the beautiful Hotel del Coronado; the Point Loma skyline fills the view to the north. The dog beach is open 24 hours The city provides free dog litter bags at the entrance to the run.
If you suffer from an emotional or psychological disability that would be significantly reduced by the companionship of an ESA, you are eligible for an ESA note. There is some debate as to what constitutes an emotional or psychological disability, as the Americans with Disabilities Act defines them very loosely.
A psychological disability is defined as a mental abnormality that affects the day-to-day function of your life as the result of persistent, destructive behavioral patterns. Such disability would include intellectual disabilities and autism. Studies show that ESAs have a calming effect on people with these conditions.
An emotional disability is one which impacts an individual’s ability to recognize, express or control their emotions. In many instances, the companionship emotional support animals provide mitigates depression.
ESA Letters: What you need to read
Here's what you need to know to secure a legitimate emotional support animal letter.
How this works: In three easy steps, you'll place an order, take an online exam, and chat with a local licensed therapist. Here's a guide to how that works.
How to qualify: An emotional support animal is a type of assistance animal that is recognized as a “reasonable accommodation” for a person with a disability under the federal Fair Housing Act. Two different federal laws regulate emotional support animal letters. Here's how we go about qualifying clients.
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