When you think of a service animal, what comes to mind? If you immediately think of a doggy in a vest, you’re right; according to the ADA a service animal is a dog that is “…individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” Well, what if I ask you the same question, but swap out service animal for emotional support animal (ESA)? Your mind may jump to stories in the news about someone bringing a squirrel, duck or even the attempt to bring a peacock on an airplane! While these stories are somewhat amusing, they shouldn’t take away from the real benefits that an ESA provides.
The term ESA can apply to any species that brings comfort to an individual. They help those suffering from an emotional or mental disability lead healthier lives. While the animals in the news may not be certified support animals, they are still capable of bringing comfort to their human companion.
Anyone who has a furry friend at home can understand the stress relief and companionship that they can provide. Even Sigmund Freud included his pet chow, Jofi in some of his therapy sessions with patients. So, before you brush off an ESA as an excuse for someone trying to get their fur baby into places where they would otherwise not be allowed, consider the following benefits an ESA can provide:
- Reduce levels of stress
- Reduce anxiety
- Lessen isolation
- Boost self esteem
- Increase sense of purpose
This drug-free option can help those who suffer from everything from social shyness to anxiety and depression. Please be considerate of those with emotional support animals and consider how the fur babies in your life may play this important role.
Do you know anyone with an Emotional Support Animal?