Nearly one-fourth of Americans are suffering from one or another mental or psychological condition. Out of those, one fifth has the condition so serious that it hampers their day-to-day task, frequently. The conditions may include stress, anxiety, depression, etc.
Earlier, the only methods to treat any mental illness were therapy and antidepressants. But now we have come across one another effective method. An emotional support animal.
Many of you might be familiar with the term. Many might have one. And a few of you may be thinking of getting one. But which animal is perfect for the task? Well, that depends on you only.
Are you considering getting an emotional support animal? What animal are you considering? Well, that’s a brainer for sure. Choosing an ESA can be a difficult task for many. But don’t worry. I’m here for your rescue.
Here’s a guide to help you get your first emotional support buddy without any confusion.
So what are we waiting for? Let’s get to the task.
What’s an ESA and how to get one?
Before we get to the main task, let’s first understand what an ESA actually is.
An ESA is an animal that works as a help to the people who are suffering from a mental or emotional condition. It is there to provide you with love, support and affection and thus help you with your ailment. Unlike service animals, an ESA requires no special training. They just need to have an emotional bond with the owner and should be able to behave well in public.
An ESA is protected by two laws which allow the owner to keep them even in a no-pet policy house, and also to fly with them without paying any extra charges.
In order to have an ESA, you need an ESA letter which you can get only from a licensed mental health professional. An ESA letter officially allows you to enjoy all the benefits of an ESA. It comes with a validity of one year.
If it can behave, it can be an ESA
Many airlines have certain restrictions on what animals they will allow onboard. A few limit to just cats and dogs. Another thing to consider is that, unlike service animals, there’s no guarantee that you will be allowed to take your ESA to a business or public place. You may find some friendly places for your emotional support dog, but places that welcome pigs or horses might be difficult to find.
Whichever animal you choose, make sure you can control and make them behave in public. No loud noises, no jumping at people, no hissing or growling. These things will not only disturb others but also will make the owner more stressed, which somewhat nullifies the purpose of having one.
Qualities to look for
Obviously, there’s no one kind of animal perfect for everyone. There are certain questions you may ask yourself before finalizing your emotional support animal.
- Are any of your friends or family members afraid of or have any allergies from a certain type of animal? It’s obviously isn’t a good idea to get a cat if your best friend can’t be in the same room as it.
- Do you have enough space for an animal?
- Do you travel frequently? Will your ESA be comfortable and safe while traveling? Will it fit in your car if you drive a lot?
- Do you already have some experience with a certain type?
These questions will surely help you find a perfect animal for your emotional support.
Where can you find your ESA?
Some may prefer upgrading their own pets to ESA. You already have a compatibility. You both feel comfortable with each other. And very little training is required. Sounds like a perfect plan.
Others may prefer raising their ESA from a very young age, spending time on their proper training from the start. However, you should keep in mind that training a kitten or a puppy can be hard, and it may take some time until you could take it outside.
A great option to find your new perfect ESA is to look in a local animal shelter. You may find many wonderful animals here looking for a sweet home. And if you adopt an animal, you may not need to train them as much. It will depend on the individual animal though.
Every person is different, and so are animals. An ESA perfect for one person may not work at all for the other. If you need an ESA for yourself, make sure you do your research and think carefully about what you actually need of it, and if your lifestyle supports it or not. And don’t worry, your ESA is definitely out there somewhere. You’ll find it soon.