September 9, 2020

What’s the difference Between Service Dog or Emotional Support Service Animal (ESA) Part 1

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Podcast (Audio Only)

In this episode Joanne Williams,LCSW: Explains how Emotional Support Animals or ESAs are one of the simplest ways to lower anxiety, I have seen in my 30 years as a therapist and will explain why.  In part 2 Podcast #12 an ESA client, will explain how her ESA helps her AND 10 Benefits of having an ESA.

Summary of today’s podcast. This Podcast clarifies the difference between Emotional Support Animal, Therapy Animals, Psychiatric Service Dogs and Service Dogs.  She confronts some of the misunderstandings about ESA’s head on, including Misinformation in the media, Misinformation from the airlines, Online certificate scams and if you should get an ESA letter from a therapist or from your doctor.

  • We will answer most frequently asked question about ESAs.
  • Included is a resource page on low cost Veterinary care, since in this global pandemic economic issues are increasing. I wanted to research and share some ways to help with costs around our furry family members.

I had been a Mental Health professional for 20 years and didn’t know about these 2 federal laws around ESAs that has been around for almost 50 years. I did my research and found it to be true.

Now, For the last 7 years I have specialized in ESA certification. This is the main reason we are sharing this information in a podcast, so you will understand the laws and how to qualify.

  • The ESA does need to provide help with a daily functioning like sleep, concentration, or motivate the client to socialize easier, because they have the animal.
  • There is a psychological evaluation to see how their animal helps them with a daily functioning AND to find a psychological diagnosis
  • The ESA evaluation needs to be with a Licensed MH professional to find these 3 qualifiers before a letter is issued certifying a True ESA.
  • Once they qualify, a letter is sent certifying that they have meet the 2 laws that govern ESA to travel by plane and to give to their property manager to live in no pet housing, without pet rents or deposits.
  • Just having a vest on or a certificate that is made to put on the wall or “registering as an ESA” online does not make a true certified ESA.
  • The most frequently asked question, on the internet or on FB or when a person calls us is: How do I qualify for any ESA? There are 3 things that the 2 laws require.
  • The 2 laws that govern ESA are the Fair Housing Act FHA
  • The Air Carriers Access Act, for airlines to allow service and ESA animals to fly without discrimination. They can’t charge fees or restrictions on weight breeds of animals, except for reptiles, spiders or exotic animals were never allowed to be on board.
  • The airlines instituted forms to be completed before bringing an ESA, that has made obstacles to bring your ESA. In August 2019, the DOT clarified what the airlines could and could not do

“Research say people who own dogs have a 24% lower risk of death than people who don’t own dogs.  This is in general population, not for the most vulnerable populations with traumas of family history of mental illness. 

There are 3 things you can do today to help.

  1. Be more thoughtful or less judgmental of someone with an animal on the plane.
  2. Suggest to a Veterans group or Police department that they may be interested in hearing more about how an animal in their precinct might help the overall calmness in the environment.
  3. Smile at one person today and think a nice thought towards them.

If you want more information on how to get a certified Emotional Support Animal you can visit our sister website or our podcast website Anxiety for more information.

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