Your Emotional Support Animal

by Sue on July 8, 2011

Let’s liven up the blog a little since it seems to be a bit dead this week. Feel free to answer any or all of these questions.

What type of ESA do you have? (Also name, age and anything else you would like to tell us)

How long have you been using one?

Have to ever ran into problems with having with your ESA?

How did you handle it?

Sussie and Gunny

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Allen 07.11.11 at 12:22 pm

I have a dog that would like to have registered as an ESA for my wife. She has been diagnosed with severe anxiety along with other problems she suffered as a child. Is there an approximate number of visits to the doctor before we can get a prescription?

2 sussie 07.14.11 at 8:09 pm

If its a Doctor that is familiar with her, one visit to have a letter drawn up should be enough.

3 Jenna 07.21.11 at 8:06 pm

I think I should get my dog recognized as an ESA. You can check out my new vlog post about our relationship and how he’s helped me through recovery and living with my disease, Neuromyelitis Optica.

4 Amaris 07.31.11 at 12:36 pm

I suffer from severe depression and have been on many different anti depressants. After my last bout of depression my husband called my doctor inquiring about an ESA. I have always loved animals and so we decided to try a puppy. At first I was against the idea because I had just had a baby and thought that I didn’t need the added stress of something else to take care of. After doing a ton of research I began looking for a puppy and found a little black and white Shih Tzu, we picked her up the next day at 8 weeks old and named her Tika. It seemed as though she had been bred to be an ESA, on my really bad days she would climb in bed and snuggle with me and never leave my side. She is my shadow and she always seems to sense when I am having a bad day and takes every opportunity to be near me and love me. She is now 6 month old and I travel all over the country with her. She is perfect in the plane and its as though she knows that we are flying and is extremely calm and quiet the entire flight. She is a very mellow dog, never hyper and never barks. My depression seems to be much better having Tika around, even my kids have noticed that I am different. They also know that she is NOT just a pet, that she has a purpose in the family and that she is constantly “working”. When we travel and people ask about her, my kids are quick to tell them that she is “my moms special service dog.”

5 Savi K 08.01.11 at 5:59 pm


so i’m a medical student in the carribeans and i travel by air flight alot to n from home. When i started school, i was really depressed and had panic attacks and anxiety issues since i was so far from home. it started to take a toll on my grades and they started to drop. a month before my final exams of my third term in school, i found a pregnant dog in my backyard on the island. She gave birth to 5 pups, three of which died and two survived. Because of complications, the mother died a few days later. i took one of the pups in and raised her up as my pet.

Having my dog, Jiya, a female maltese/shitzu/something mix, around at home made me so happy and less stressed out about school. My grades immediately rose and i even made deans list here in med school. Jiya, whos name stands for a peice of heart… is a piece of my heart. She helped me get over my anxiety. And now, that she is 10 months old, i wish to bring her home with me when ever i visit home.

I was wondering, if she qualified as an ESA dog? Because she does help me emotionally and mentally. i just dont know what kind of doctor to go to that would write up a letter for her to be an ESA dog. Also, would she be considered a service dog? And therefore, would i not have to pay for her flight tickets? they are kinda high, and i am a medical student in dept. haha.

6 sussie 08.03.11 at 5:46 pm

Yes. She does qualify as an ESA.

7 Julianna 08.14.11 at 4:48 pm

I have depression,bipolar and PSTD.I have a hamster for emotional support assistance.Because of him I haven’t cut in almost 2 years.I feel safer going out an doing things when I have him.I tend to open up more and talk to people when he’s with me.

8 Allice 08.15.11 at 10:25 am

I have a small bred mixed from the pound, that before I was disabled she was my deceased Mother’s lap dog. When I could not work before I knew all of my issues, we took my mother in to care for her, she has since passed 2005. The little doggie and I fell in love and she never leaves me, when I worked ( disabled since 1/2011) she was depressed. Well for over 10 years I had terrible physical limitation, so I started teaching to see if I could keep working on, well I had a severe breakdown mentally in Dec 2010 and together with my other physical problems it was to much to live with. Little Girl (her name) has always helped me through bad days even before I knew she was doing it. My family would point out how she would bring me back from deep depression, panic, anxiety, focusing on death without me even really noticing. I will not go into all of my issues, lets just say I found nothing in this world to live for. She notices before I panic, or get anxious or loosing it in public which I never let the house until we started working together to walk around my street. She has given me life back, with her I can go to the store, drive myself to some of the places I need to go. But I used to get bad attention which made some of my issues worse. My doctors told me that if I would bring her in and they could see how she helps me that they would write letters to I could take her anywhere i needed or wanted to go. Wow, I am not well but now I at least feel like I have some life. I have gotten ID tags, she is quiet, well trained and never cause any problems anywhere. She has even taken me to the movies! Most places here in Boise Id are open to the EMS support dogs, but last month I did have a nightmare. My husband, Little Girl and myself went to a grocery store that I had been going every week for over 1 year. Oh my God this 20 something child that thought she knew it all did this, we were in the checkout (bag yourself store) my Little Girl was sitting on a clean blanket that I always use as a barrier in the child seat area of the basket, for Little Girl to not hurt her feet, plus children chew on the handles, have dirty diapers, colds, etc. She stated OSHA states that the dog can not be in the basket and I must remove her right now!! It shocked me at first, did I hear her correctly? I stated she is a service dog and must be near my upper body for medical reasons, she continued “take that dog out of the basket right now’, now others are staring at the situation which makes me start to panic. Little Girl stands up to put her front paws on my neck to have me calm down, she states again, take the dog out or I will!. Well my husband and a gentleman in another lines started to say something to her. But now I found my voice and it was calm because of Little Girl helping me, I stated when I am finished unloading my food I will take her out of the basket, she then reached toward my Dog. I am terrified now but still holding it together because of my dog. So in a low but stern voice I stated “Do not touch me or my dog, go away right now and leave me along or we can call the police and tell them or are threatening a disabled person, and her service dog with bodily harm. Just go away. SHE DID. So when I left, I had a severe panic attack in the parking lot, after got home my 34 year old daughter that helps me everyday called the store and complained. The next morning I got a call from the stores legal department and they stated ” we are sorry she misunderstood a memo that all employees of the store got” Hum, I stated the ADA back, he said that they we deciding if they would allow dogs in the basket, we not sure yet. I told them about the barrier I use and that medically she must be able to reach my face. They were going to discuss if they would allow it and let me know. I have not been back to the store at all, because the thought causes anxiety and panic, anger, fear. That girl was lucky that Little Girl was there, before treatment and her I would be very aggressive to the point of physical. I have PTSD also but I have been in treatment for over 1 year and am doing better, but this was so wrong on so many levels. I told them that OSHA has nothing to do this me or my conditions or my EMS dog, which the legal department knew, FYI I am over 55 too. Stores and other places really need to educate themselves and there employees, this could have ended badly! On a good note the asst manager of the same store called me and was very nice and so sorry, she has seen me many times in her store. She promised to let me know if they decided to not allow the dog in the basket, but I still have not returned. Sorry about the length of my blog, just be ready for anything out there, P.S. I talked with police and I could press charges, they even had people call in about her threats to me and my dog, but they arrived after I left. Thanks for reading. Also parents should educate they children not to run up and grab, even dogs get scared!

9 Kelly 08.16.11 at 12:50 am

I have severe depression, PTSD, and anxiety. I love my dog, but she is large and dog aggressive. I don’t take her out in public much, but she does protect me at home. 4 months ago I adopted a toy fox terrier as an ESA. He has been so good for me. I go out more now and he is definitely a source of stress relief for me. I take him everywhere with me and no one has given me a hard time. He is so mellow and well behaved that most of the time, people dont even know he’s there. When I take him in stores, I put him in a small soft carrier and I haven’t had any issues. Everyone I see regularly has started to call him by name. :) If It became an issue and someone asked me to leave with him, I would just leave. I have never misrepresented him as a service dog. When people have asked, I tell them he’s an ESA.

10 valeena 11.23.11 at 10:51 am

Hello, I’m new here but I was wondering if anyone could give me advice on how to get my dog qualified as an ESA. My lease didn’t allow pets, and when my landlord found out he made me send her away. Since she’s been gone, I’ve been depressed and anxious, my grades fell so much that I’m worried about passing classes, I’m afraid to be home alone, basically my life is mess. I’ve had a history of these symptoms, but have been so much better since I had Lucy. Now I realize that she is so much more than a pet, and necessary for my well being. I want her to be my ESA but I don’t know how to go about this. I have seen doctors in the past, but currently am not seeing any professional therapists on a regular basis, so I don’t know who to ask for a doctor letter. Who can I ask to write me a letter??

11 sussie 11.23.11 at 11:05 am

Since ESA’s are not regulated by the ADA, there is no regulation of them. However you do have rights through the Fair Housing Board to have an ESA. Any one licensed in the mental health field can write you a letter providing you are a patient of theirs.

Sussie, Gunny, Rainy and Lucy.

12 Dell 01.06.12 at 12:19 am

I’m currently pregnant and living 3,000 miles away from home.since our move I’ve been more depressed than usual.I’ve always battled with depression and anxiety,but it had gotten out of control.I just recently got a ragamuffin cat named Bruce lee and words cannot describe how much he has brightened my days.I have yet to confront my “no pets allowed” landlord,but I have an appt with my psychiatrist to get all of the proper paperwork in order to do so.wish me luck.

13 Ashley 01.29.12 at 8:23 pm

I have depression and anxiety which causes panic attacks if in large groups of people or under too much stress. I have a 5 month old puppy who reacts to my attacks when I have them as well as helps me not have them. I would like to be able to take him to school is there anything special I have to do in order for this to be okay?

14 Rebecca Sayers 02.20.12 at 12:47 pm

Hello, I’ve had dealt with depression since I was little after my Dad passed away and others life events. I’ve been put on meds for depression, anxiety, and minor bi polar disorder and had a therapist who’d I talked to every week. The meds never worked out for me and had really bad effects. I want to be able to be independent of these drugs and be happy and not to rely on them. It has been awhile since I stopped taking the meds and talking with the therapist due to moving to college and being 4 hours away from home. I found this website and wondered if I would be able to have an ESA. And how do I go about asking my doctor and confronting my apartment complex to make reasonable accommodations for me. They do not allow pets at my apartment complex, but I see people with animals all the time but you can be either evicted or largely fined. I feel that having an animal would make life easier, I have a dog back where I’m from but she’s older and has cancer reason why I don’t want take her from my hometown. Her name is Bunchee and I love her to pieces. Whenever I sleep I have nightmares but when I’m home see snuggles next to me and I feel like nothing can hurt me and I don’t have the nightmares. I also have severe migraines that continue for weeks, but they seem to disappear when I have her around. So what I’m asking is I qualified to have An ESA and how to I go about talking to someone about it? And are there classes I can take my puppy to be a therapeutic service dog? Thankyou

15 Shay 03.22.12 at 11:27 pm

Hi. On october 7th 2008 I was in a car accident that caused one of the discs in my lumbar to crack and another is herniated. I’ve been under the care of a pain clinic since then but on most days I just couldn’t find the motivation to get out of bed despite knowing I have two beautiful children that need me. I was even prescribed cymbalta for depression/anxiety for about a year.
A few months ago I started to fall back into that pattern again and sleeping all the time and all around just not really caring about anything… nothing seemed to help until a couple of weeks ago when my husband brought over a dog. She and I bonded instentaniously, she seems to know when I’m feeling down and cheers me up. She just has a way of making me want to get up and has even given/showed me new ways to enjoy my family.

Anyway, I wanted to know how I would go about talking to my doctors about the possibility of recomending i keep her as an emotional support animal? My lease is going to be up in about two months anyway, so i’m not really concerned about where I live now but I would rather not bother with pet predjudice if it isn’t needed.

16 Elizabeth 09.04.12 at 7:52 pm

My dad has severe depression and anxiety. He can barely leave the house to get the mail. For a few days we watched a friends dog and my dad just lit up! He took the dog for long walks and he was out talking to the neighbors. Our landlord saw him with the dog and told him about the no pet policy. His doctor suggested that we get him an ESA. He wrote us a letter and we gave it to our landlord. It has been over a month and she still doesn’t have an answer for us. I start school this week and will be gone 6 days a week. I’m worried that he will get worse being alone. I don’t want to cause any stress between us and the landlord but my dad really needs the dog. Is there anything we can do? Also not to complain but there are many people in our complex that have dogs including my landlord. She has a 90 pound pitbull that she uses to intimidate people when they’re late on the rent.

17 sussie 09.05.12 at 1:55 pm

I’m sorry but we are not allowed to give out legal advice.

18 Alice 11.29.12 at 9:22 am

I was just recently diagnosed with anxiety disoder and have problems talking to people I don’t know, almost any male, including those that I know, and being in public situations. I can’t hold a conversation with someone for more then a minute to an hour depending on how well I know the person. my closest friend I can only talk to for and hour, then we just sit and watch movies. I find the being aroun my parents dogs help emencly, so much so that if Im having a bad day I drive an hour to see them for 30mins or so. When I say recently I mean I have been diagnosed for a month but have privious history of stress related seziors.

19 q.cmama 12.07.12 at 11:17 pm

Hello, My son has had his dog for 5 years now. We have never had a problem keeping him and always found places that accept pets. We are having to move and the only place affordable is no pets. My sons dog is very much his comfort. He doesn’t see his dad or his brother. The week leading up to the move I have had to pick my son up from school 3 times because he is making himself sick with worry over losing his dog. He is so very depressed for a 12year old. His dog helps him stay calm and happy. I am terrified of what will happen if he has to get rid of his dog.

20 Jena 12.10.12 at 4:57 pm

I have only seen my doctor a few times, and have not been in for the past, probably nearing two years. I was prescribed meds for anxiety, and have completely stopped using anything due to my condition greatly improving everyday because of my sweet dog. I will be flying out of state to stay with my mom next month for TWO WEEKS. I can’t bear to imagine how stressed and anxious I will feel without my baby. If I can have my doc write me a letter, would my dog be able to fly with me without all the under-the-seat height/weight requirements? Is the doc’s note alone good enough?

21 sussie 12.18.12 at 3:54 pm

Yes. The Airlines will require a note from a Doctor to fly.

22 sussie 12.18.12 at 3:55 pm

All you need is a letter form his doctor stating that he needs the dog for emotional support. They will have to allow you to keep the dog.

23 Alie Salas 03.19.13 at 2:07 pm

We have been renting a house for almost 14 yrs now. Last year around July my sister’s dogs were left abandoned due to her severe illness. I took the dogs home knowing we have “No Pets” on our rental agreement. For 5 months we kept the dogs (2 ShihTzu). They’re now 10 months old, very quiet lap dogs. The property mgmt’s maintenance guys have seen the dogs, the neighbors in the back house also tenants of theirs have seen. Last January we were served with a “Notice to Cure Violation” after being at home for more than 5 months. I called the property manager and told her that we will remove the dogs. It broke my heart. These dogs brought joy to our home. My husband having cancer, was given emotional support. Made him not worry about what’s going on with him, but played with the dogs and cared for them like our own kids – these two dogs brightened up our days. But because I was afraid of being evicted, we bought them to a friend’s place – unfortunately the dogs were not treated right. In one of my visits I wept seeing my baby boy with a big wound in his head – the skin reaped off. The other one so thin and sad, being bitten by the other dogs (he has 4) He was the quickest to agree to care for them but instead they were left without water and food. The food I brought were fed to his dogs. I don’t want to give them away. I have e-mailed the property manager (who said she’s an animal lover) about the dogs condition.
Since January my blood sugar (A1c) raised from 6.0 to almost 9.0 (I’m Diabetic) and my blood pressure (Im hypertensive too) soared. I’m surprise because I didn’t realize how hard you could fall for these animals. I couldn’t sleep at night worrying , and I couldn’t work properly I’ve been making mistakes at work which I never did in the past, all of a sudden I would be crying at work and they would ask me why . The emotional stress thinking about them. I have been worried sick and became unpredictable, my patience runs me out, I became irritable.
Last month, I called the property manager to allow me to have them for Neutering and Spaying. She allowed us to have them for 30 days. But must get them out of the house before the end of April. I’d like to keep them at home what should I do? My primary Care Doctor wrote a note about the dogs – not having them has caused excessive stress to me in keeping the dogs will help improve my medical conditions. But I haven’t given the note to them yet.

24 Allice 03.26.13 at 9:18 am

Thank you for having all of the chatting listed, I have enjoyed this now for 4 yrs. My service dog is in the last stages of her life,she has enlarged heart and congestive heart failure. Every day you loose a tiny bit more of her, but she still wants to go out with me and work, I will miss her so much I have had her 15 of the 16 yrs. I don’t know right now if I will get another for a while. What do you think about waiting? Thanks Littlegirl

25 Millie 03.30.13 at 4:03 am

I have been battling my schizo-affective bipolar disorder, coupled with the loss of my ESA puppy, which was stolen from me during a kidnapping (of self), and the man is now in prison and I never got my baby back.
I was gifted a kitten which has become my reason for smiling. She comforts me when I am sad, and brings me out of myself in ways I never dreamed a cat could do.
I want to make her my ESA but have not found a place where I can do this. My doctors and therapists will provide any documentation necessary. Any help?

26 Shannon 04.17.13 at 7:46 am

We recently moved into an apartment that does not allow dogs, my doctor wrote the letter to the management company stating that I need my dog for emotional support. They were fine with this at first and now they sent me a letter stating that they need proper certification of the dog being a service animal. Anyone know why they would need this? ESA’s are covered under the ADA and Fair Housing Act

27 sussie 04.19.13 at 8:41 am

ESA’s are not recognized by the ADA however they ARE recognized by the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. There is no such thing as a certified service dog or ESA. I would contact the Fair House Board in your area and register a formal complaint.

28 ashley 05.10.13 at 5:09 pm

I’ve had my dog for about 2 years now. since I’ve had him i feel less lonely, happier. I’ve never had a problem because i live with my mom. due to conflict with her i have to move. i found a perfect place but they dnt allow animals. i do not have a doctor to write me a note stating he betters me nor can i afford to see a doctor. i was wondering if theres anything i can do to keep him with me where ever i move? please help! ❗ ❗ ❗ ❗

29 Lidia 07.13.13 at 12:27 pm

I have bipolar II and recently moved to another town into an apartment that has a no pet policy. I plan to get a letter from my therapist and my PCP so I can legitimately have my hamster. Animals are essential for depression and anxiety. They pull us out of ourselves and our misery and allow us to be in the present moment and enjoy the small wonders of life.

30 Lisa 08.07.13 at 8:28 am

I have a tenant who has an ESA she leaves for days at a time alone, locked in the bathroom. Does this abuse truly count as an ESA or is she just trying to keep the animal because we are a No Pet complex?

31 sussie 08.07.13 at 9:11 am

That is NOT an ESA. An ESA must be near the owner at all times when they are at home. Does she have a Doctors note stating she needs the ESA?

32 Vikky 08.10.13 at 2:00 pm

I have had a history of borderline personality disorder which causes me to have similar symptoms of bi polar except they are more emotionally unstable and keep me from being reasonable in normal situations.I also suffer from acute anxiety and severe depression. when I moved out to the country from the city to live with my fiance my symptoms started to decrease in their amount and severity I thought it was an environmental change.I was around animals 24/7 horses mules and my fiances American Staffordshire terrier but
recently my fiance was sentenced to three years in prison I have found out I am pregnant and had to move suddenly back to the city where I had the most flare ups of my conditions amd had to get rid.of my fiances dog who stayed by my side and kept me from killing.myself after he was taken from us she is the only reason I amalive right now. I live in low income housing in a townhouse style home I want to bring Gabby back to live with me again as my ESA she is mellow, animal and chold friendly she only barks when there is something dangerous around or threatening me or our kids and sometimes if you dont say hi to her when you come home. I want to know if I will have a problem registering her as an ESA since she is a “bully breed”. I believe other than being food aggresive towards other animals eating from “her” food bowl she is a perfect ESA she meets all the other requirements I found online but again im afraid that her breed will keep her from coming back home with me again to help me get through my episodes alive.

33 sussie 08.12.13 at 9:14 am

If you have those disorders, why are you not using her in Service Dog capacity?

34 Vikky 08.14.13 at 8:10 am

I didnt know if I qualified under the ada regulations

35 Vikky 08.14.13 at 9:10 am

and she is not trained in a task other than being intuitive and dropping her food bowl on the floor repeatedly or licking me until I acknowledge her

36 Clydene andrade 08.30.13 at 3:46 pm

I have a Pom that goes every where with my son since his left eye detached in November and fri the right side detached. from november somehow she knows he can’t be on his back and so she sleeps with him and now she has to go where he goes she makes it so I can actually sleep and not need to worrie about him turning over if he does she licks his face till he wakes and he only 8! So I wandering what steps do I need to take to make her a service dog that way she can go everywhere with him. Because when he has to go somewhere without her he don’t want to go and end up staying home. Please help thank you

37 sussie 09.05.13 at 9:22 am

A letter from your son’s doctor stating that he needs the dog to assist him is all that is required by law.

38 sussie 02.25.14 at 10:46 am

Get a letter from your Doctor stating that you need a service dog for your PTSD and then get the dog some Service Dog ID.

39 Sandra 05.20.14 at 5:02 am

My son was diagnosed with autism a
When he was three years old. He is now 42. Over the past 20 years he has got into all sorts of trouble. Ie exposing himself etc. the Christmas before last I bought him a black Labrador. He immediately took to the dog and since then they are inseparable and so far no trouble with the police. He also looks on her as his best friend he talks to her all the time. Unfortunately there are a lot of places here in the uk he can’t take her. How do I go about getting her registered

40 sussie 05.20.14 at 9:40 am

Unfortunately I know nothing about the SD rules in the UK. I wish I could help you. Here in the USA, dogs used for Autism are classified as Service Dogs.

41 Hali 05.26.14 at 9:42 am

I have suffered from anxiety, both common and seperation and I get overly stressed about things. I really hate going to the doctors as they want to use medication. I don’t like to take medication due to side effects they may cause. I recently had to take in my brothers dogs, but he has to stay at my boss’s house due to my no pet policy at my town home. I noticed at work that when he is with me I can calm down from panicking or my anxiety. When I sit down when I get anxious he sits on my lap and it feels like a compression hug that my husband uses when I get anxious. Would he be a good candidate for a service dog? He is very well trained and I believe that he gets anxiety when he’s not with me as well. How would I talk to a doctor about this?

42 sussie 05.28.14 at 9:42 am

If you are using the dog for anxiety, the dog is not an emotional support animal, it is a service dog. All you need is a letter from a doctor stating that you need the dog and then some form of ID on the dog stating it is a service dog. That will allow you to have the dog in your residence.

43 alexis 08.28.14 at 12:36 am

I used to have major anxiety and depression problems. I have had my dog Ricky for 3 and a half years. Since having him I have gotten off all medications and been overall more happy and well balanced. In my new apartment he has been getting anxiety when I have to go to work and barking incessently. I offered to bring him to a friends house everytime I had to leave in order to keep him from bothering my neighbors but my landlord insists I remove him permanently. I let him stay at a friends house tonight and am feeling more lonely and lost than I have in years. I have already called my therapist and left a voicemail about helping me getting him registered as an emotional support dog. I am wondering if there are any laws against them barking when I’m not home or any reason why this wouldn’t work for me to solve my situation? I really need this dog in order to function properly in my life right now! please help!

44 Sue 09.02.14 at 10:19 am

Actually yes there is. The law reads as follows…

A person with a cannot be asked to remove his Emotional Support Animal from the premises unless: (1) the animal is out of control and the animal’s owner does not take effective action to control it (for example, a dog that barks repeatedly) or (2) the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

45 Marina 10.02.14 at 8:57 am

I’ve had my two dogs, one for almost 6 another one for 4 years. I recently purchased a condo, and was provided two contradicting rules about pets. One said no more than one dog- not more than 15 lbs allowed, the other one said two dogs are allowed, no weight restrictions. Long story short, after a meeting with board, they decided to enforce the no more than one dog rule, since the other one wasn’t supposed to be given to me, and pertains to the “community” not the “condominium” association, and told me to get rid of my bigger dog, which is 22 lbs, one I’ve had for nearly 6 years.. Ever since this problem with the condo assosiation started, I’ve become more depressed, my grades started sliding, I’ve gained a bunch of weight, I’m a nervous wreck because I can’t imagine my life without both of my dogs in it. They have been the only constant in my life for the past 6 years, any thoughts of hurting myself have discipated only because of thoughts of “who’s gonna take care of my babies if I’m gone?” My lawyer seems to think that we will win if the board sues me for having more than one dog, because I’m obviously being “singled out” (Many people in condos have more than one dogs or dogs that weigh a lot more than 15 lbs). I don’t want to go through a lawsuit, I just want to be left in peace. This has been a nightmare. My dogs are my life, that’s what I told them at the board hearing but they don’t seem to care… Would I be able to get a note/prescription from a therapist saying that I need both of my dogs my emotional support, and separation from either one of them could be detrimental to my emotional health? I’ve never been to a psychiatrist, whenever I’ve felt especially depressed, I’ve always been able to pull myself together because of the love of my dogs. Would a psychiatrist be able to help with my issue?

46 Sue 10.03.14 at 10:15 am

According to law you can only be allowed one ESA. Sorry.

47 lani 03.11.15 at 7:46 pm

Hi everyone , New to this bare with me please. I’ve suffered from depression anxiety panic attacks due to a lot of loss starting from grade school all who raised me parents grandparents aunts etc meds never work multiple attempts on life got better when I married 11years later he to has moved on haven’t seen a pro all those years symptoms are coming back slowly (depression anxiety so on) a friend recently had puppies( 3) I took a boy(Rollie(pollie) I find so much peace and comfort being with this little sweetie. Anyhow can no longer afford mortgage n probably gonna rent in Honolulu so much no pets allowed I can’t give him up just can’t where do I begin to make him my ESA my heart is breaking into a panic as I try to figure this out I need him he goes everywhere in my arms keeps me calm and sane . Help????

48 Sue 03.17.15 at 2:06 pm

Your dog would not be an ESA it would be a service dog

Partial List of Qualified Disabilities for use of a service dog:

Physical Problem:

Asthma (or other breathing problems)
Blindness (& partial blindness)
Deafness (& partial deafness)
Dizziness/Balance problems
General Hearing Difficulty
Mobility Problems
Neurological Problems
Physical Weakness
Speech Problems

Emotional/Mental Problem:

Age-Related Cognitive Decline
Any Psychiatric Condition (see exclusions below)
Bipolar Disorder
Emotionally Overwhelmed
Panic Attacks
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Separation Anxiety
Social Phobia
Stress Problems

ADA Definitions of Qualified Disability

Under the ADA, an individual with a disability is a person who:

Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;

Has a record of such an impairment; or

Is regarded as having such an impairment.

A physical impairment is defined by the ADA as:

Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine.

A mental impairment is defined by the ADA as:
Any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.

NOTE: The ADA does not list all conditions or diseases that make up physical, mental, and emotional impairments, because it would be impossible to provide a comprehensive list given the variety of possible impairments.

Exclusions to the Qualified Disability Definition
Neither deviant behavior (e.g., political, religious, or sexual) nor conflicts that are primarily between the individual and society are mental disorders unless the deviance or conflict is a symptom of a dysfunction in the individual. According to Title II of the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, current or future interpretation of psychological disabilities excludes common personality traits such as poor judgment or a quick temper.

49 chris 03.25.15 at 9:11 am

Hi, I have been diagnosed with both anxiety and depression repeatedly over the years. I was seeing a therapist for many years, but stopped seeing him about 6 months ago — just a couple months after getting my little pup. I thought if I wanted my dog listed as a service dog I would need to have him tested in some way. Is that not the case if I have depression and anxiety? Please advise. Do I just need a dr. note?

50 Sue 03.26.15 at 3:01 pm

The ADA states the following…

ADA will not impose any type of formal training requirements, registration or certification process. While some groups have urged the Department to modify this position, the Department has determined that such a modification would not serve the full array of individuals with disabilities who use service animals, since individuals with disabilities may be capable of training, and some have trained, their service animal to perform tasks or do work to accommodate their disability. A training, registration or certification requirement would increase the expense of acquiring a service animal and might limit access to service animals. Especially for individuals with limited financial resources.

51 Carol Trezza 09.14.15 at 6:02 am

I have severe COPD and severe emphysema I also get panic attacks which I am on medication for I got a puppy a year ago and if it wasn’t for him I would be in bed most of the time I have to take him out to go to the bathroom and if I go shopping he comes with me I don’t go to a psychiatrist but I do go to a primary doctor and a lung specialist Is my dog a service dog or an emotional support dog I didn’t rescue him he rescued me He is a 13 lb Havanese dog that puts a smile on my face everyday and makes me forget how sick I really am Sincetely Carol Trezza

52 sami hall 02.25.16 at 8:10 am

im 17 i have really bad depression but my puppy we dont really know what breed her mother is but her father is a dachshound and she is a 1 year old puppy she is good around people and other animals but she is not very well behaved she isnt really trained even though she is fixed she is still very hyper but i cant stand when i cant have her with me at school or other places like doctors offices or at camp for church and i get depressed when im not with her she makes me happy when nothing else does and i really need her with me everywhere she has been hit by a car but i helped her with physical theropy and i want to get her certified as my emotional support dog can i get her certified although she isnt well trained and isnt completely potty trained???

53 sami hall 02.25.16 at 8:14 am

i have been put on antidepressants but they dont work so when my puppy was born i was happy and i didnt get depressed very much afterwards

54 sami hall 02.25.16 at 8:19 am

my mom also has disabilities that are hereditary which is bipolar but she also has really bad depression anxiety ptsd and other mental disabilaties

55 Sue 02.29.16 at 4:11 pm

If you are using your dog to control those, that is not an Emotional Support Animal. That is a Service Animal according to ADA laws.

56 Sue 02.29.16 at 4:11 pm

If you are using your dog to control those, that is not an Emotional Support Animal. That is a Service Animal according to ADA laws.

57 Sue 02.29.16 at 4:12 pm

If you are using your dog to control those, that is not an Emotional Support Animal. That is a Service Animal according to ADA laws.

58 Bonnie speck 03.14.16 at 6:34 pm

I have suffered from clinical depression and panic attacks for all life (now 62), several times a year I’m hospitalized for it. We have three cats but only one that rarely leaves my side. I rarely leave the house, my husband does it all. I’ve never heard of a ESA animal before today. I want to take her with me on vacation since I’ll be gone 4-6 weeks visiting family in Idaho/Montana. I have no family east of the rock mountains.
I’ve been seeing this therapist for 10+ years once a month. I love my husband but Cookie Kitty is the reason I live. She will even licks my tears away when I cry and sleeps on me or right next to me. She is extremely gental and well behaved.

Getting a letter from my doctor will be no problem, she knows I have put this vacation off for a year because I could afford to take Cookie too.
I even have a stroller to go walking together. The last time I flew with her, she broke her carrier and crawled onto my lap. I just covered her up and she slept the entire five hours.
How do I get her qualified as a service animal over an ESA?

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