How to register your Dog as a Support Animal
Dogs are extremely astute creatures, something that allows them to sense human emotions. It is because of this extraordinary sense, that they are often used as support animals for people suffering from various mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dogs can provide such people with emotional support and stability that they need, making them great companions. The support provided by these dogs is therapeutic, as they serve as a guide during times of uncertainty, unfamiliarity, or anxiety-inducing situations.
These dogs are known as Emotional Support Animals or ESAs. If your dog has been registered as an ESA, he or she will receive special permission to aid their role as a support dog. If you have not registered your dog or have an ESA letter, you must do so. Before we address how to do so, you must know that there is a difference between and a service animal. Service dogs are generally allowed to enter places where ESAs are not. If you are someone who is suffering from severe PTSD or phobias, then you must consider getting yourself a service animal. An ESA is supposed to help with different types of mental illnesses as well and is trained to help their human by supporting them and providing companionship. Service animals, on the other hand, maybe trained to perform specific tasks for their humans.
There are a few more things that you need to keep in mind about your ESA. Firstly, a dog of any breed is appropriate to be an ESA. However, you must see which dog is most appropriate for your situation, which is why you must do thorough research.
If you want your dog to be an ESA, here is what you need to do.
1) Keep in mind that an ESA letter is different from the Emotional Support Animal Registration.
Registration of an emotional support animal is not mandated under American law. However, if you still want to register your dog, there is not one single database for you to do this on. You can register on any of the sites that come up after a quick search. These usually require you to pay a certain sum of money.
2) The first step that you need to take in order to get your dog certified as an ESA is to get a recommendation letter called an ESA letter from a licensed therapist.
You must ensure that the therapist in question is one who specializes in animal therapy and is thus well aware of the requirements that need to be fulfilled to certify a dog as an emotional support animal.
3) To get an ESA letter, you have to prove to your therapist that you need an ESA. Once you have done so, your therapist will give you the ESA letter.
4) An ESA letter must contain certain information to prove its legitimacy.
These include your complete name, your disability, the statement that it leaves you unable to perform certain important activities in your daily life. It must also state that the letter was given to you by a professional with the required licenses and that this puts you under the protection of federal laws. The letter should also be written on official letterhead, must contain the license number of the person providing the letter as well as their signature and the date. It is also important to note that ESAs are only valid for a year.
5) You must also know that ESAs are given certain rights where other pets may not be given the same rights.
Under federal law, landlords who do not allow pets in their housing, have to make exceptions for tenants with emotional support animals. The same applies to airlines, which have to allow passengers with ESAs on to their airplanes. However, the airlines and the homeowners may require you to present certain documents to prove that your animal is an ESA. In situations such as these, it is handy to have registered your dog as an ESA or have an ESA letter with you.
6) While registering your dog as an ESA is not mandatory, you can do it at several websites such as National Service Animal Registry or Service Dog Certifications.
Both of these organizations provide you with multiple documents after registering your dog for a small fee. These organizations will also help you determine your rights as per the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Having an ESA letter or registering your dog gives him or her the legitimacy he or she needs to enter areas where they ordinarily would not be allowed. It also reassures you that your dog will be allowed to stay with you in most stressful situations.