Occasionally our therapists, based on their professional assessment, are unable to verify and approve a client’s “disability and disability-related need for an assistance animal.”
AKA they’re turned down for an ESA letter.
If you’re reading this page, you’re probably wondering, being this is the Internet, how that all works out … is this just a big scam of ours?
Hint: No, this is all quite serious for us.
With that in mind, here are a few pointers about our ESA assessment process.
- If you’re gaming the system, looking to save a few bucks on airline fees, or quite mentally healthy and just looking to use an ESA letter as a last resort for doggy rescue, then you should know better. For the record, we’re huge dog rescue people, but ESA letters weren’t intended to save a pet.
- Early on, we didn’t have any assessment fee, and then quickly realized, that’s like those sub-prime mortgage applications back in the day. If there’s no “skin in the game for a client,” if they can roll the dice with no penalty, if they’re truly not psychologically disabled but just really want their peacock on the airplane, then why not take a chance?
- Our therapists are trained to spot red-flags and are encouraged to weed out the folks who are misusing this system. In fact, we pay our therapists regardless if they approve a client or not, so there’s no financial benefit for them to churn out letters.
If this sounds like we’re turning away business, then you’re on the right track.
Here are a few examples of clients turned away:
- The client who wanted six Chihuahuas approved.
- The client who was experiencing college-related anxiety (with nearly zero-related symptoms). Said our therapist, “college is about anxiety. They had nothing else but that and well, that’s life.” By the way, anxiety without a significant functional limitation doesn’t qualify you for an ESA.
- The client who couldn’t find a home for their rescue dog.
- The client who “hid” their dog during lease signing, got busted months down the road, then declared their pet an ESA.
For us, we work really hard to help those truly in need and that means making sure that we’re viewed as a “legitimate and reliable source” for our ESA products. Our therapists are highly motivated to develop a therapeutic relationship with our clients.
We’ll never ever approve a “therapy elephant.” No really, that happened.
No therapy goats for us, you see.
As for those clients who are looking to save a few bucks on travel fees, skirt the pet rules, take your dog to Chili’s, and all that other related nonsense, the best of luck to you. Luckily, you don’t have to look too hard on the Internet, there’s plenty of folks willing to take your money and sell you worthless junk.
Legitimacy, you see, is a two-sided coin.