Unfortunately, anxiety is something many of us live with. From having to work under pressure to being debilitated under this emotional weight, it is often hard for each anxiety sufferer to get through the day. While there are many ways to treat anxiety, such as meditation, medication, and exercise, these are all individualized. Another such approach is choosing an emotional support animal.
An emotional support animal is defined as an animal that offers support and relief for emotional and psychological conditions with its presence. These animals offer a calming presence that makes day to day life easier for individuals with anxiety, depression, and other emotional and mental issues. Support animals can also be trained to detect seizures and other physical symptoms before they occur.
Note that there is a difference between emotional support animals and psychiatric support animals. Rather than providing a calming emotional presence, psychiatric support animals are able to find exits during a panic attack, bring help when it is needed during a panic attack, and search for individuals in a room before a person with severe anxiety
Which Animals Are Best?
Among the best emotional support pets are the same few dog breeds well-known for their ability to be trained and well-mannered demeanor around humans. These include the Labrador Retriever, the German Shepherd, Beagles and Corgis. German Shepherds are highly intelligent, and both Beagles and Corgis are fiercely loyal animals. Alternatively, your current pet might also able to perform this important job.
While canine support animals are the most common, even cats and other animals can offer relief for your depression and anxiety. Because emotional support animals are not service animals, they do not require extensive and specialized training. They do not even need special certification, but when your emotional support animal keeps you calm in public places such as the grocery store or on the subway, this can be beneficial in letting others know of your pet’s importance.
Know the Rules
Still, the reality is that your emotional support animal cannot go anywhere that is openly pet non-friendly. More importantly, read up on relevant laws when you have or need an emotional support animal. Two tricky emotional support animal laws include the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. When you certify your pet as an emotional support animal, these laws are particularly important to know back to front.
The Fair Housing Act ensures that apartments and houses make reasonable accommodations for emotional support animals. This is covered for individuals with a real need for their support animals, just as individuals with disabilities reserve the right to proper housing accommodations. The Air Carrier Access Act, similarly, ensures that your support animal can come with you on an airplane. Just as disabled individuals can call ahead and receive certain services to help make their flight easier, so can those individuals with support animals.
Some say that emotional support animals, because of their separation from service animals, are not as important. Of course, while they do not need training, they still help many of us get through the day to live through another. Having a pet in itself is sometimes enough to give us peace of mind and help ease anxiety symptoms. If you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety or depression and nothing seems to work, ESA animals can be just what the doctor prescribed.