An Emotional Support Animal is More Than Just a Pet

by K Marie Alto May 26, 2019 2 min read

An Emotional Support Animal is More Than Just a Pet

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.

What is an ESA?

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.

Benefits of an ESA

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?

K Marie Alto
K Marie Alto

K. Marie is an animal lover, wife, kitty mom, dog auntie, writer and co-founder of Toe Beans, a proud American family-owned online boutique pet supplies store focused on the improvement of the life of furry family members via pet parent education, better products, and advocacy. She has over 20 years of experience as a pet momma. She loves sharing her personal journey and experience as a pet parent via her blog and Facebook page where she currently has more than 19K followers (@furrytoebeans) and counting :-).


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