Emotional Support Animals– Are they beneficial? For many people with mental and/or emotional issues, there are many benefits to having an ESA.
In this post I will talk about ways emotional support animals (ESA) can help patients with emotional and mental disorders.
Animals, in general, have been known to elevate one’s mood. Have you ever watched a child smile at a puppy? Or watched the face of an elderly person at the sight of a dog or cat?
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Here are a few books to choose from on Amazon about Emotional Support Animals!
Emotional Support Animals
Emotional Support Animals do just what the name implies. They supply emotional support to their owner, who suffers from a mental or emotional disorders.
That is to say registered ESAs supply the support to those with mental and emotional disorders. Thousands of pets offer their love and support to their owners without being registered ESAs.
ESAs are unlike other service animals in that they do not require special training to assist their owner in special tasks. ESAs also unlike service animals are not protected under all ADA laws. ESAs are only covered under HUD housing laws and Travel laws in order to accompany their owner.
Are Emotional Support Animals Beneficial?
In order to register an emotional support animal, you need a letter from a licensed mental health professional. In some cases, your therapist may even prescribe an ESA for you.
Once your animal is registered, he/she is registered for life and receives a vest and ID card. You can read more about registering an ESA by clicking here.
But are animals beneficial for emotional support? So, I posted on my facebook and asked for opinions. I received 20 comments, all saying yes with reasons given. Here is a screen shot of the question I asked.
My Friend Kim said “Yes, I feel they help tremendously! They pick up on our moods and tone in our voice to detect when we’re happy or sad. They give such unconditional love that it is better than medicine at times. Some people are even prescribed emotional support animals when felt they are needed. Pets are a dose of happiness and love for sure. ☺❤”
This is what Gayle had to say: “YES, they make you smile and give you the incentive to get up and take care of something other than yourself. Daisy keeps me grounded.“
You get the jest of how all 20 comments went! Unconditional love, happiness, understanding, and sense of value are all brought to our lives by our furry friends!
Personally, I can attest to the fact that over this past year and a half my little dogs have made it much easier for me to adjust to living alone.
When my daughter and her two rambunctious little boys moved out, my house became eerily quiet! Almost like a tomb! I found that I felt less “crazy” when talking to the dogs rather that just talking out loud to myself 🙂 Buster even barks in reply when I tell him to talk to me lol
Purpose of Emotional Support Animals
Emotional Support Animals or ESAs basically refer to dogs or other animals that provide emotional comfort and support to their owners on a daily basis.
They provide companionship to those with psychiatric and even some physical disabilities.
In an article about ESAs on www.self.com one psychiatrists had this to say;
“In general, emotional support animals help people who struggle with anxiety or depression, Gail Saltz, M.D., a psychiatrist and author of The Power of Different, tells SELF. “Their presence, their unconditional love, their warmth and softness to pet and hold are all thought to be calming and mood-boosting,” she says. “The need to care for them provides structure, purpose, and being needed”.” 1
Mental Health Benefits of an Emotional Support Animal
Studies show that emotional support animals can provide a comforting presence to handlers that suffer from a variety of mental health issues. As the benefits of using ESA’s grow, doctors are now expanding their patients to include those that suffer from;2
- Mild to severe anxiety
- Agoraphobia (fear of being outside of the home)
- Aerophobia (fear of flying)
- General Anxiety Disorder
- Stress-induced situations
- Social shyness
If you or a loved one suffers from a mental disability, doctors are noting vast improvements with their patients in the following areas with the aid of an emotional support animal;
- Increase in being social
- A boost in their self-esteem
- Patients feel more safe and comforted
- More motivation
- A decrease in the symptoms of the diagnosed illness
- An increased sense of purpose
Would an Emotional Support Animal be Right for You?
Of course the benefits of an ESA for you would be something for you to discuss with your therapist or mental health care provider.
Although you also must consider the costs and care required of you as a pet owner. You owe it to the any animal to be able to provide it the best care needed.
Therefore before considering if an ESA is right for you then you must also consider your ability to afford and physically care for the animal.
My 3 Amigos
Personally, I already have 3 dogs and am now considering registering a couple of them as ESAs.
Buster is an 18 y/o pug. He is rather old for a pug and prefers his life of leisure. He does not enjoy traveling much. However, he does like a nice short joy ride now and then, he does not like traveling far before coming back home for a nap.
So Buster would much rather that I have someone come and care for him while I travel instead of forcing him to leave home with me. He’s most content eating and sleeping. He isn’t really fussy about who gives him the food as long as it’s in his home and his bowl. I just want him to enjoy what is left of his life with me in comfort.
The two young ladies of my trio
Daisy is a one and a half year old Pug that believes she is a princess. Perhaps I have encouraged her to believe this about herself. 🙂
She is finicky and prissy. Daisy does not like the rain or the mud, and will actually snort in disgust when I open the door for her to go outside while it’s raining. She calms my anxiety enormously! I must admit I calm hers too! We don’t cope very well if we are apart very long at a time.
Last, but certainly not least, is Lollipop, which I call Lolly. She is an Australian Shepherd and Red Heeler mix, and at this time she is almost 12 weeks old.
Lolly is a fluffy ball of energy, love and happiness! All my little furry friends help give me purpose and keep me motivated throughout each day. But Lolly has really brightened my days with her comical personality. This has really helped with my depression.
Now it’s your turn!
Leave me a comment! Tell me about your furry friends.
Do you have and ESA or service animal? Even if you don’t have a registered animal tell me how you benefit from your pets.
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Until next time,