For those that suffer from a mental illness, such as anxiety, PTSD, depression, or other disorders, you might qualify for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA). Also referred to (mistakenly) as therapy pets, ESAs provide a therapeutic benefit to their owners.
Unlike a therapy pet, an Emotional Support Animal has no special training; their job is to provide love and comfort, helping their handlers deal with emotional or mental disabilities. A therapy pet, or therapy dog to be exact, receive training to provide calming comfort to hospital patients.
To qualify for an ESA, your disability must substantially hinder at least one major life activity, such as:
- Caring for oneself
While Federal Law doesn’t require specific ESA training, there are a few important things to keep in mind.
- Your ESA must be well behaved around other people and animals
- If your ESA gets unruly, you can be asked to leave
- If your ESA is well-behaved, airlines and landlords cannot regulate nor limit access to your pet.
A few benefits of having an ESA include:
- Live in the apartment of your dreams, even if they a specific no pet policy
- No apartment dog or pet deposits
- No additional monthly pet fees
- Free airline travel for your pet
How to obtain a legally recognized ESA letter to share with landlords and airlines
To qualify for an ESA recommendation letter an individual must be considered emotionally disabled by a licensed mental health professional. When choosing a service, be very careful to avoid “ESA letter Mills.”