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Portrait with Dog

Emotional Support Animal

Emotional Support Animal

For some people with mental or emotional conditions, the presence of a dog is beneficial to their well-being. The dog’s ability to help the person deal with the challenges of their emotional difficulties adds quality to life. These dogs are called Emotional Support Animals (ESA).

Some common challenges that might be improved by the use of ESA are anxiety, depression, learning disabilities, post-traumatic stress and attention deficit disorders.

One of the main differences between an ESA and Service Dog is ESA’s do not perform specific tasks. Emotional Support Animals are not afforded the right of public access like service dogs.  The difference between an ESA and your pet is a letter from your licensed mental health professional.  A person wanting their pet to be an Emotional Support Animal, must have a letter from their therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist stating that the person’s mental health would be improved by the presence of the animal. There are no regulations on age, breed or size for an ESA.

Psychiatric Service dogs are specifically trained to mitigate the affects of a psychiatric disability, although this sounds similar to what ESA does, it is not merely the dog’s presence that brings comfort, the dog is working specific tasks to keep the handler secure and actually mitigate some of the issues that come with the disability.

The fair housing act does cover ESA, if the letter from the mental health professional is presented the dog owner cannot be denied housing due the presence of the dog, even if pets are not allowed; and a deposit cannot be charged for the animal. The department of transportation does not make allowances for Emotional Support Animals on flights. 

For more information on Emotional Support Animals please see our resources page and follow the links.

If your Emotional Support Animal needs a little obedience training, feel free to email us at to inquire how we can help. 

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