5 Steps to Get Emotional Support for Animals

Are you considering getting a psychiatric service dog (PSD) or an emotional support animal (ESA)? Are you prepared to apply for an ESA and want to make sure you follow the correct procedures? This article will explain how to get an emotional support animal and legally designate an animal companion as an ESA by meeting the requirements for an ESA letter. To better help you understand the rights you have as an owner of an ESA, we will also quickly review some of the laws and policies that pertain to ESAs and PSDs. 

For those unfamiliar with ESA regulations, the Fair Housing Act grants emotional support animals the ability to live with their owners in housing (even in structures with no-pet laws). Owners who utilize a companion animal for support and who have mental or emotional impairments are granted particular privileges under federal and state law. 

Pets are not regarded to be legitimate emotional support animals. Assisting animals gives people with disabilities the same chance to enjoy housing as people without disabilities. A landlord cannot prohibit an ESA due to its breed or impose fees or deposits in connection with an ESA. If you’re wondering how to obtain emotional support for an animal, look at the simple procedures listed below. 

How to obtain an emotional support animal in steps?

Your certified therapist may write you a letter recommending an ESA after concluding that it will benefit your condition. You and your companion animal will have specific privileges when dealing with landlords. To get the companion, you need to have all the support document for ESA. This article will provide details on how to get an emotional support animal.

1. Analyze Your Potential Benefits from an ESA’s Assistance 

Individuals with disabilities, known as mental illness or emotional distress conditions, are eligible to get emotional support animals. The initial and most crucial step in addressing a potential mental or emotional disorder is always realizing that you may have a problem that could benefit from professional therapy. According to federal law, an ESA referral letter must come from a certified health care physician. 

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM V) lists several illnesses for which an emotional support animal can be helpful. These consist of: 

  • learning disorders 
  • Disorder of Inattention (ADD) 
  • Anxiety Disorders 
  • Depression 
  • PTSD 
  • Phobias 

The forthcoming step is to seek help from a qualified expert if you believe you could have one of these illnesses or if you are unsure what ailment you might have but have been experiencing persistent mental or emotional problems. If you’d like, you can search for a licensed practitioner with specific expertise in emotional support animals here. 

2. Contact a Licensed Healthcare Professional

You should be applauded if you have realized that you could have a mental or emotional disorder and need help because this can be a very challenging process that requires guts and an honest evaluation of oneself. Unfortunately, there is a stigma that is attached to mental illness, and many individuals worry that asking for treatment will make them appear weak or that others will condemn them for doing so. 

The easiest method to get assistance is to speak with a therapist you already have a rapport with. It can be challenging for those without a therapist to locate the ideal licensed expert. Sometimes people are prepared to find therapy, but looking for the best therapist discourages them. 

Additionally, therapists can be excessively expensive for many individuals, and finding time to see one when you have another commitment like work, school, or family obligations can be challenging. Finding a therapist who is informed about ESAs can be particularly challenging if that is what you want to investigate. Finding assistance from an online therapist may be helpful if you are dealing with these difficulties. A letter from a therapist who offers services virtually is equally legitimate as one from a therapist who is seen in person. 

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Housing has published guidelines reiterating that valid ESA letters may originate from therapists who offer treatments remotely, even online. 

3. Embrace an ESA 

If you have a pet and are granted an ESA letter, you may use that animal as your ESA. Reach out to your neighborhood animal shelter or rescue group to find your ideal ESA if you don’t already have one and are interested in adopting one. Another choice is to contact a responsible breeder if you have your heart set on a particular breed that is difficult to obtain at a shelter or rescue. 

Choosing an ESA with the appropriate temperament and qualities for your scenario is crucial because owning an ESA is a long-term commitment. The symptoms of your impairment may be lessened by your emotional support animal (ESA) more effectively if you have a close relationship and bond with it. Additionally, picking an animal with the correct temperament is crucial. If you suffer from sadness or anxiety, the animal should make you feel at ease and provide comfort when you are under pressure. 

4. Your emotional support animal’s training 

Your emotional support animal's training

It’s vital to keep in mind that ESAs technically don’t need any specialized training. This is a typical area of misunderstanding about ESAs. ESAs differ from service dogs, which are granted more privileges to the public under various legislation. Service dogs, such as a dog that accompanies a blind handler, must be trained to carry out specialized activities for the disabled. While, ESAs do not require special training to support and console those afflicted with mental diseases and emotional discomfort through their company. 

Even though your ESA does not require special training relating to a disability, they must receive basic training, just like all other pets, to guarantee acceptable behavior in all circumstances. ESA owners are not required to pay any fees or deposits about their ESA, but they are accountable for any property damage resulting from their ESA. Additionally, if an ESA is rowdy and the landlord or airline believes it could endanger others or pose a safety risk, they have the right to reject it.  

Each ESA owner represents all ESA owners, which is crucial in having a well-behaved ESA. When your ESA can show that it is a model Neighbour to your landlord, Neighbour, flight crew, and other passengers, it benefits all ESA owners. Your ESA can receive introductory instruction from you. Attending group training sessions may also be beneficial to help your dog socialize. You can seek help from a local trainer if you are unable to train your pet on your own or if you are a first-time pet owner and need assistance. They can provide you with practical advice on how to train your ESA. 

5. Use Your ESA Letter Correctly 

Knowing how to use your ESA letter is crucial if your certified health care practitioner has concluded an ESA will be beneficial for you and has provided you with one. To request a reasonable accommodation for your emotional support animal by Fair Housing laws, you should give your landlord a copy of your ESA letter. Your landlord will have 10 days to respond to your request; only under particular conditions, such as if the ESA poses a risk to others, can they refuse. 

Landlords may occasionally request the certification or registration for your ESA. These landlords have incomplete or incorrect knowledge of the ESA laws. Registrations and certifications have no bearing on an ESA’s eligibility. The Department has advised housing tenants not to use websites that offer licenses, registration numbers, or certifications for emotional support animals. Getting a letter from a qualified health care expert is the only way to prove that an ESA is eligible for housing purposes. Although getting an ESA letter and “certification” are sometimes used synonymously, there is a significant difference between the two; the former will legitimately qualify your ESA while the latter would not. 

Even if the building, HOA, or co-op has a no-pets policy, your ESA may live in your home if your landlord approves your request for their accommodation. Breed and weight limitations are not permitted, nor are fees or deposits related to the ESA allowed to be collected by the housing provider. You might be eligible for reimbursement of the pet deposit your landlord collected in the past if your pet later met the requirements to become an ESA. 

Unfortunately, some people try to pass off their animals as emotional support animals without having an ESA letter. These folks will experience rejection when their landlord refuses to rent them because they lack the necessary papers. Pretending your pet is an ESA without the necessary documents is never a good idea.

Conclusion 

Many people have found relief from crippling mental health disorders with the help of ESA. ESAs offer priceless support that has enabled numerous people to live happy, productive lives. Owners of ESAs have affirmed that their devices assist them in dealing with their chronic insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and severe depression by giving them a reason to live and be active outside, as well as with their post-traumatic stress and anxiety.