Are you thinking about getting an emotional support animal to make your world a little brighter? First of all, it is important to note that emotional support animals are classified differently than service animals. This means that they can go a few places with you, but they can’t go into all of the places that a service dog can go. This is because emotional support animals solely help their caregiver emotionally, as opposed to providing a physical service to them. Let’s take a moment to define exactly what an emotional support animal is, how they can be of help to you, and where exactly they can go with you.
Defining an Emotional Support Dog
As defined by the American Disability Act, emotional support animals give emotional stability and support to people who are living with a diagnosed emotional or medical disorder. In order to get an emotional support dog, an appropriate diagnosis will need to be made by your doctor. You can use your existing dog as your emotional support dog, or you may choose to find a new one of your own choosing.
It is important to understand the difference between an emotional support dog and a service dog. A service dog has been trained to carry out specific tasks for their owner who has been diagnosed with a disability such as blindness. An emotional support dog is there to give comfort to someone who has depression or anxiety for example.
Where Can You Bring Your Emotional Support Dog?
Thankfully, there are places that you can bring your emotional support dog where you wouldn’t normally be able to bring regular pets to. Here are two places that you are allowed to bring your emotional support animals.
· APARTMENTS: According to the fair housing act, even if the building has been deemed a “no pets” zone, you are allowed to live there with your emotional support animal. Even college dorms are included in this scenario. Taking this a step further, if you have an emotional support animal, they are usually allowed to live in an apartment without a pet deposit being required.
· AIRPLANES: Due to the Air Carrier Access Act, emotional support animals are allowed to fly with their owners on airplanes, providing that all instructions are followed. In fact, most airlines will not charge you extra for your emotional support dog accompanying you. It doesn’t matter how big or small your dog is, they may ride with you on the plane. They may sit at your feet or underneath the seat in front of you. Your dog is not required to stay caged when you are flying. If your dog is small, you can even sit them in your lap.
Where Can You NOT Bring Your Emotional Support Dog?
Unfortunately, an emotional support dog does not carry the same rights as a service dog. The best thing you can do is to call ahead of time to ask if your dog is going to be allowed to enter. Here are some places that you may have difficulty getting your emotional support animal into.
· Hotels: There aren’t any laws requiring hotels to let your emotional support animal stay with you. With that being said, you might try asking a special request to see if they will accommodate.
· Restaurants: There are no laws that require restaurants to let you bring your emotional support animal with you.
· Jobs: Your workplace is not required to let you bring your emotional support animal with you. However, some workplaces have begun letting employees bring their pets to work, as they have found it makes the workplace a more positive environment.
Emotional support dogs can be of great benefit to those who are suffering from bipolar disorder, PTSD, depression or anxiety. They help bring a sense of normalcy to situations that may have otherwise been difficult. They grant happiness not only to their owners, but to the lives of those who they come into contact with as well.