Emotional Support Animal
An Emotional Support Animal is a dog or other common domestic animal that provides therapeutic support to a disabled or elderly owner through companionship, non-judgmental positive regard, affection, and a focus in life.Many individuals—both with and without disabilities—derive emotional support and comfort from dogs and other animals that are not specially trained to perform specific tasks directly related to a psychiatric disability.
If a doctor determines that a patient with a disabling mental illness would benefit from the companionship of an emotional support animal, the doctor write letters supporting a request by the patient to keep the ESA in "no pets" housing or to travel with the ESA in the cabin of an aircraft.
The ADA considers such “emotional support animals” to be distinct from psychiatric service dogs, and treats them differently.
The ADA does not grant emotional support dog owners the same right of access to public places that it gives to individuals who use psychiatric service dogs. That means that under the ADA, a movie theater, for example, must allow psychiatric service dogs to accompany their owners into the movie auditorium but can refuse to admit individuals with emotional support dogs.
A psychiatric service animal is actually trained to perform certain tasks that are directly related to an individual’s psychiatric disability. The dog’s primary role is not to provide emotional support. It is to assist the owner with the accomplishment of vital tasks they otherwise would not be able to perform independently.
Studies have shown real health benefits for those living with pets, including:
* lower cholesterol
* lower blood pressure
* lower triglyceride
* reduced stress levels
* reduced feelings of loneliness
* better mental health
* increased activity
* more opportunities for exercise
* more time spent outdoors (for dog owners especially)
* more opportunities for socialization
On March 15, 2011 changes to the definition of "service animal" under the Americans with Disabilities Act became effective. These changes do not affect the use of emotional support animals in housing or on commercial aircraft because those two situations are covered under different federal laws that were not changed when the ADA regulations were changed.
(Click the button above to see the full ADA Law).
Emotional support dogs are dogs that provide comfort and support in forms of affection and companionship for an individual suffering from various mental and emotional conditions. An emotional support dog is not required to perform any specific tasks for a disability like service dogs are.