From the category archives:

Emotional Support Animal

Pot-bellied pigs WILL fly (along with miniature horses and monkeys): Passengers to be allowed to take exotic pets on flights for ’emotional support’

by Sue on January 30, 2013

By Daily Mail Reporter

Maybe pigs can fly after all.

Pot-bellied pigs, as well as miniature horses and monkeys, could be permitted to travel on planes under new Department of Transportation rules.

The guidelines are part of a draft manual on equality for disabled people traveling on commercial passenger planes.

Animals should be allowed on flights if they are used for ’emotional support’ by their owners, the manual states.

Transportation officers would have to determine whether the animal is permitted on the plane by running through a list of guidelines.

‘A passenger arrives at the gate accompanied by a pot-bellied pig,’ the manual states. ‘She claims that the pot-bellied pig is her service animal. What should you do?’

According to CNSNews, it continues: ‘Generally, you must permit a passenger with a disability to be accompanied by a service animal.

‘However, if you have a reasonable basis for questioning whether the animal is a service animal, you may ask for some verification.’

Airline employees should enquire about how the animal aids the passenger and what training it has had.

If the employee has doubts that the animal is a service animal, they can ask for further verification or call a Complaints Resolution Official.


Service animals help perform some of the tasks that people with a disability have difficulty with or cannot perform for themselves.

Pot-bellied pigs, which can weigh upto 300 lbs, are favoured service animals for people allergic to dogs. They are intelligent companions and attuned to dangerous situations.

Miniature horses work as guide animals for the blind and visually-impaired. They are more cost-effective than guide dogs as their life spans are longer, around 30-40 years. They are also chosen for their calm natures, excellent eyesight and stamina, according to the Guide Horse Foundation.

‘Finally, if you determine that the pot-bellied pig is a service animal, you must permit the service animal to accompany the passenger to her seat provided the animal does not obstruct the aisle or present any safety issues and the animal is behaving appropriately in a public setting,’ the manual adds.

Pot-bellied pigs can grow as large as 300 pounds. They can be trained to open and close doors and use a litter box.

‘They seem to have a sense if the owner is not feeling well to stay by them,’ said Wendy Ponzo, from the North American Potbellied Pig Association.

Ponzo, who has multiple sclerosis, added: ‘They help me a great deal when I feel at my worst.’

Not all animals that could help humans are allowed in the cabin, including ferrets, rodents, spiders and snakes.

But miniature horses and monkeys are also ‘commonly used service animals’ and are allowed inside, the manual states.

It adds that cases will be dealt with individually and animals can be turned away if they are too large or heavy, or will cause disruption.

The owner must also provide a ‘relief area’ for his or her animal.

The rules come despite the TSA banning less potentially troubling items, such as sporting goods and snow globes.

They are outlined in the DoT’s Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel: Draft Technical Assistance Manual.

The manual, which is open for public comments until October, is designed to ‘help carriers … provide services or facilities to passengers with disabilities’.


Emotional Support Animals on Campus

by Sue on January 23, 2013

Monday, November 12, 2012

Who knew that pets could be so controversial? Here at Wes, the emotional support animal policy has been generating a fair amount of stir over the past couple of months.

From a post on the Parents Talk forum:

“Does anyone have experience with the University’s ‘support animal’ policy? Apparently students go through an application process to bring an animal for emotional support. We are baffled by this.”

From one Wes administrator to another (overheard) (maybe they should make office doors a little thicker?): students should not be allowed to have a new pet as an emotional support animal because “how would that create routine?” and “where is the bond?”

Yeah, I know. Those are things I should have never seen nor heard. But I did. More importantly, if you ask me, those are some things that should never have been said. Based on the amount of skepticism that the policy seems to generate, I thought I would give a brief explanation of what it means and why it exists.

Emotional support animals, as you might have guessed from the name, are animals that live with students who have documented disabilities. Before you, the healthy college reader, exclaim, “Wait, that’s just a pet!” with some indignation, let me break this down a little further.

You are probably aware by this point in your Wesleyan career that you are required to live on campus all four years unless you have a really awesome reason not to. You are also probably aware that you are not allowed to have a pet in campus residences, which means that the University has effectively banned you from having animals in your life for four whole years. Other than the basic stupidity of this (like, I don’t know, we are all adults and should be allowed to own cats), this can have negative impacts on our health.

Research shows that the presence of a pet can improve many conditions and even change people’s prognoses. That’s why there are services that bring dogs and cats into hospitals to visit patients. It doesn’t just “cheer them up” on a surface level, it actually improves their condition. This is especially true for depression. Having a pet helps to create routine, and can give people who are severely depressed a reason to get out of bed and a steady schedule that can help them succeed.

And in case you were wondering what conditions might affect our seemingly healthy population of college students, here’s a quick list: fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder, ADHD, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, eating disorders, epilepsy, autism spectrum disorder, multiple sclerosis, depression, migraines, diabetes, asthma, and severe allergies. That’s a list that I created from conditions that my friends and I have. That probably doesn’t even come close to covering the range of medical conditions that can be found here on campus.

This, as you may have guessed, is why emotional support animals are allowed. But getting an emotional support animal is not an easy process. If I were to make it a step-by-step type of thing, it would go like this: 1) students must have a documented disability and be registered with disability services, then 2) they must get a note from their doctor which states that having an emotional support animal is the best course of treatment for their condition (this is often combined with another treatment such as medication), and finally, 3) CAPS and the health center must agree that this is a reasonable accommodation to have. If the request gets approved, ResLife is then supposed to make sure that a student with an emotional support animal is housed with people who are not allergic to animals and would feel comfortable having an animal in their residence.

In the same way that there are students here with conditions bad enough to get medical weed (jealous?), there are students here who require other accommodations and who, even though you might not be able to tell, are disabled. That’s why it’s called an invisible disability. And as “baffling” as it may be to some people, an emotional support animal can be a valid and valuable course of treatment for these invisible (and visible) disabilities. Were I blind and requesting a seeing eye dog, nobody would question it. We as a society already understand on that level that animals can provide help for those in need, so it’s time to take the next step and realize that they can provide emotional support as well. It’s especially disappointing to see criticism coming from parents and the administration, those who are supposed to be a little more grown-up than we are.


Fair Housing Act covers emotional support animal

by Sue on January 16, 2013

AVENTURA, Fla. – Sept. 28, 2012 – The Fair Housing Act does more than protect homeowners or renters who use a support-services animal – it also protects residents who need an animal for emotional support. While the definition of an emotional support animal goes beyond “I love him,” the Fair Housing Act covers residents or potential residents who rely on an emotional support animal.

The issue raises questions from landlords and homeowner associations. An existing rule on pets, for example – such as an additional pet deposit – doesn’t apply to support animals under The Fair Housing Act.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced yesterday they reached a Conciliation Agreement with Point Three East Condominium Association in Aventura, Fla., over the issue. The condo association allegedly refused to allow a resident to keep an emotional support animal, even though the resident provided medical documentation attesting to her need for the accommodation. HUD also found that some of the board members who denied the resident’s request had, or previously had, animals in their units.

Under the agreement, Point East Three Condominium Association will allow the resident to keep her emotional support animal and pay her $18,000. In addition, the condominium association will enact a reasonable accommodation policy and obtain fair housing training for all its board members.

“Condo associations are not exempt from adherence to the Fair Housing Act,” said Carlos Osegueda, HUD’s Region IV director for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Their policies and practices cannot discriminate against persons with disabilities, and HUD will continue to take action anytime we find that they do.”

For more information on emotional support animals protected by The Fair Housing Act, visit the American Bar Association website.

People who believe they are victims of housing discrimination can contact HUD at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or 1 (800) 927-9275 (TTY).


Emotinal Support Animals

by Sue on December 27, 2012

Senator George Graham Vest, of Missouri, won a court battle over the shooting of a dog with a speech that included the line, “The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog.” Read more of this moving eulogy at: .

Dogs have shared their lives with humans for at least 14,000 years and possibly much longer. During those millennia dogs have been man’s helper, protector, and companion. According to the Humane Society of the United States, 39% of U.S. households include one or more dogs and 34% include one or more cats.

An Emotional Support Animal is a dog or other common domestic animal that provides theraputic support to a disabled or elderly owner through companionship, non-judgmental positive regard, affection, and a focus in life. If a doctor determines that a patient with a disabling mental illness would benefit from the companionship of an emotional support animal, the doctor write letters supporting a request by the patient to keep the ESA in “no pets” housing or to travel with the ESA in the cabin of an aircraft.

ESAs are not task trained like service dogs are. In fact little training at all is required so long as the animal is reasonably well behaved by pet standards. This means the animal is fully toilet trained and has no bad habits that would disturb neighbors such is frequent or lengthy episodes of barking. The animal should not pose a danger to other tenants or to workmen. But there is no requirement for fancy heeling or mitigating tasks since emotional support animals are not generally taken anywhere pets would not ordinarily go without permission (the exception being to fly in the cabin of an aircraft, even if the airline does not ordinarily accept pets).


Note from Service Dog Tags about the upcoming holidays

by Sue on October 10, 2012

Our holiday hours will be as follows…

November 22nd…Closed

December 24th…Open from 8am to Noon (Pacific Time)

December 25th…Closed

December 31th..Open from 8am to Noon (Pacific Time)

January 1st, 2013…Closed

If you plan to order tags for the holidays, it would be wise to order them early. Granted we do have a FedEx overnight option. But right around the holidays FedEx raises their prices to an insane amount. Trust me on this one. It almost doubles.

We decided to give everyone to a special treat around the holidays. We have lowered the price of our tags for the holiday season. They are now on sale for $27.95 (normal price being $29.95) These tags make great gifts. And we do have gift certificates available if you would love to buy a set for someone but not quite sure want they want for tags or what they want the tag to say.

Gunny, Rainy, Lucy, Squeaky and T.


Validate Your Emotional Support Animal With a Letter From Your Doctor

by Sue on October 4, 2012

Occasionally I get phone calls from people asking me how they can “certify” or “register” their Emotional Support Animal. I tell them that there is no such process, however there is a validation.

The most effective method to officially validate your emotional or mental disability and legally qualify for an emotional support animal is to have a letter from your physician or mental health professional that prescribes or endorses your use of a “support animal.” For best results be direct with your physician, swallow your pride, and accept the fact that you are emotionally disabled – with or without your physician’s blessing. If your physician balks you must convincingly plead your case with your physician, finally asking your physician for a letter on their letterhead to facilitate traveling with your dog (or other animal) or for a specific housing-related need. It’s important to credibly describe the severity of your symptoms to your physician, and, for example, you might express how surprised and relieved you have been to discover that having your dog with wherever you go you has made successful functioning in public and private possible. And that, without the animal, you’ve been a wreck. Here are some examples of the symptoms you may be experiencing:

Examples of the symptoms of an emotional disability include, but are not limited to

An inability or difficulty to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships.

Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.

A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.

A tendency to develop physical symptoms or irrational fears associated with otherwise normal life problems or situations.

An inability or intense discomfort interacting with others in a public or private setting.

If your physician is unsure what to write, please contact me. I have sample letters that work in various situations.

Gunny, Rainy, Lucy, Squeaky and T.


Good video on the rules and regs of ESA’s

by Sue on September 5, 2012

This is a very good informative video. however he needs to be corrected. Emotional Support Animals are not used exclusively by people with mental illnesses. There are some mental illnesses that require the use of a Service Dog.

Sussie, Gunny, Rainy, Lucy and Squeaky


A little fun…

by Sue on May 9, 2012

Do not feel obligated to participate in this if you do not feel comfortable about doing so.

I am trying to keep this blog active but am running out of articles about Emotional Support Animals. So I decided today to make it a little more interactive…

What type of Emotional Support Animal do you have?

What made you decide on that particular type of animal?

How does the animal help you?

If you live in housing with a no pets policy, was it difficult to obtain permission to allow you to have your ESA?

Have you ever flown with your ESA?

What airlines did you use and were they accommodating to you?


Sussie, Gunny, Rainy and Lucy


Condo May Be Liable for Mishandling ESA

by Sue on March 20, 2012

Only in this case, she needs to change that to service dog. Her disorder meets the criteria of a service dog.

Sussie, Gunny, Rainy and Lucy.


Spring break is just around the corner!

by Sue on March 1, 2012


Happy March 1st everyone. Spring break will happen this month for many students. Please make sure you order your ESA tags before the rush.

Sussie. Gunny, Rainy and Lucy