For people with a mental or emotional disability, every day can be a challenge. Depression, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety can be huge obstacles on a regular basis. Some days are good, and some days are bad. They do their best every day, but they definitely can’t do it alone. Everyone needs a little support now and then.
A growing trend nowadays is the use of emotional support animals for people who are dealing with a disability. Animals often fill the void left by the loss of loved ones and generally fill the need for companionship for those who live alone or live far away from family and friends.
Emotional support animals have been prescribed by licensed mental health care professionals to their patients. Most of them are cats and dogs, but other animals have been prescribed as well. There are no clear-cut rules as to which animals do and do not qualify to become an emotional support animal.
There are lots of informational websites including CertaPet’s Emotional Support Animal Letters and others that provide tips, data, and information about the required pre-screening and consultation with a licensed mental health care professional. You can even search some sites by state or region to see the services that are available in your area. Unfortunately, however, for every legitimate site, there are a more than a few scams, so make sure the sites you research are reputable.
While most pets provide comfort and love to anyone, here are a few strong reasons why emotional support animals are so important to anyone who is going through life with a disability:
1. Emotional support animals help give a sense of purpose.
The animal’s job is to offer you support, but having a pet also teaches compassion, consideration, and responsibility. You are responsible for its care and well-being, and it will soon be a focal point in your life. You’ll spend part of your day feeding it, walking it, and keeping it company. Companion dogs and cats are often conversation starters in public or at social gatherings, so they can also help you meet new people and establish deeper connections with people that you already know.
2. They keep you from being lonely.
Many people rely on emotional support animals because they are dealing with the physical, mental and/or emotional issues from their disability all by themselves. Having that support animal helps you feel less isolated and alone. You have a constant companion always by your side that knows when you are feeling good and when you are feeling down. They are great coping mechanisms for everything that you are going through.
3. They are a great stress reliever.
If you’ve ever had a stressful day at the office or dealing with some difficult personal situations, you know how relaxing and soothing spending time with a pet can be. Their love and kindness are unconditional and are great at helping ease that tension and stress. Emotional support animals are allowed in most workplaces and restaurants as long as you have an official ESA letter, so they can be with you almost anywhere you go. Whenever you need a quick stress break, just giving them a smile or petting them can make you feel better instantly.
4. They help reduce anxiety.
Anxiety is no fun, especially when you’re dealing with a physical or mental health issue. Sometimes it can seem like the issue that’s bothering you is either unending or spiraling out of control. With a good support animal at your side, you can concentrate on their attention and watch the nervousness and anxiety slowly fade away. Their love and admiration help you forget about the things that worried you in the first place.
5. They are something positive to focus on.
Sure, we all have to focus on negative things or things that we just don’t like doing from time to time, but having an emotional support animal helps make those items a lot more bearable. Taking care of them and spending time with them helps balance out negative activities and negative emotions. Focusing on their attention and their care helps reduce negative feelings and self-doubt or worry. In a lot of cases, people with such animals in their lives are a lot less stressed and feel happier and much more confident about themselves.
6. They remind you that you are important.
People dealing with mental and physical ailments and diseases frequently have a lot of pain, on the outside and the inside. They are often dealing with challenges such as chronic pain, anxiety and stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts, and depression. Having an emotional support pet in your life teaches you that there’s someone there who cares about you, someone whose life would change dramatically without you. Their life revolves around you. They seek love and give love equally. They are always glad you are here for them, and that’s an important lesson for anyone to learn. No matter how difficult things can be, just having someone like a pet who cares when you feel all alone can make a world of difference.
7. They frequently bring a smile to your face.
Whether you choose a dog, cat, rabbit, hamster or another animal as your emotional support pet, you have to admit: they are adorable! Their smile, their demeanor, the way they play or interact with you and other people can be very heartwarming to watch. They don’t judge, they don’t criticize, they just do what they do and show you love and affection every day. They’re a great reason to wake up with a big smile every morning. Each day is full of new adventures and new excitement with them!
Talk to your doctor to see if you have any pet allergies before considering adopting an emotional support animal. When you are ready, do your research, and make sure you have all the required questionnaires and evaluations completed before selecting your pet. Whatever you decide, having a loving, caring pet in your home is sure to enhance the quality of both you and your pet’s lives for many years to come.