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Emotional Support Animals

Emotional Support Animals

Pets offer more than unconditional love; from lowering blood pressures, to reducing depression, studies show owning a dog or cat offers an array of physical and mental benefits. Today, we find therapy pets in nursing homes, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and prisons, boosting dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. The Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is a pet used to provide individual therapeutic benefits lessening or mitigating symptoms of an emotional disability. Emotional Support Animals are prescribed through an ESA Prescription Letter. The letter will state that the person is “emotionally or psychiatrically disabled and the presence of the animal is necessary for the disabled person’s mental health.”

Once the ESA Letter is issued, the client’s pet must be registered with the National Service Animal Registry (NSAR) and the pet must pass the NSAR Public Access Test for Emotional Support Animals. The test ensures the pet is disciplined, easily controlled, manageable in public, and well-behaved. ESA classification is permitted under the American’s With Disability Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Air Carrier Access Act; however, ESAs do not have the same right of access to public places as Psychiatric Service Dogs. Your Improving Lives Counseling Services clinician will prescribe a qualified effective therapy pet treatment plan combined with ongoing psychological counseling that meets your specific health needs.

ESAs have been proven effective in relieving symptoms of depression, post-traumatic disorders, panic disorders, and anxiety. Studies have shown health benefits in lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, reducing feelings of loneliness, providing more opportunities for exercise, more time spent outdoors, increased socialization, and an improvement in overall mental health.

Contact Improving Lives Counseling Services for more information on Therapy Pets. Prescribing an ESA Prescription Letter for an Emotional Service Animal is only part of an ongoing psychological treatment plan. ESAs provide emotional support and comfort to individuals with mental impairments. Call us today.