Have you ever wondered the difference between an Emotional Support Animal, Therapy Dog or Service Dog? This article is a brief overview, of the different companions.
Emotional Support Animal (ESA)
- The animal provides therapeutic benefits to the owner at home through companionship.
- Steps to getting an ESA:
- Determine if an ESA is right for you. Ask yourself what are the possible benefits. Understand the work that is involved with owning an animal.
- Find a licensed professional mental health therapist who is knowledgeable about ESAs. They will walk you through mental health assessments and other parts of the process. The therapist can write a legitimate letter for you to use and identify your animal as an ESA.
- Adopt an animal. Do your research and choose an animal carefully. An animal can come from a rescue, shelter or trusted breeder. Common ESAs: dogs; cats; reptiles; rodents; birds (even chickens!). If you already have a pet that you would like to be your ESA, that’s great! Just be sure that your pet suits your needs.
- Train your ESA to behave properly. Only basic animal training is needed, there are no special requirements. You are responsible for your animal’s behavior and if the animal damages property, being responsible paying for the damage.
- Use your ESA letter properly.
- Enjoy your emotional support companion!
- The most common type of therapy animal is a dog, but other animals, like cats and horses can also be supportive.
- Used in facilities, such as hospitals and retirement homes to provide affection and comfort.
- Not all dog breeds fit being a therapy dog. The dog must be calm, affectionate and friendly to strangers at all times.
- Therapy dogs don’t have to be trained for specific tasks like service dogs.
- The dog needs to complete obedience training and register to become a certified therapy dog.
- Trained to help people with visual impairment, diabetes, mental illnesses, and other disabilities.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and local government gives the option to people with disabilities to have a service dog, and (the ADA) punctuates that the dog is a working animal.
- Must be well-trained to complete specific tasks related to the needs of the person with the disability. The dog must be fit to complete jobs that you cannot complete yourself.
- Document all of the dog’s training and certificate.
- Follow the service dog laws.
A short Equine Therapy article
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