Tuesday, December 15, 2015
What are emotional support animals? Blogger:Being Sane Takes Too Much Work
An emotional support animal, or therapy animal as it is often called, is a companion which provides therapeutic benefit. It can alleviate some symptoms of the disability to an individual with a mental or psychiatric illness. Although these animals are not trained to do work or tasks, emotional support animals can be greatly beneficial to their owners by their comforting presence, company, companionship and love. In order to be prescribed an emotional support animal, the person must have a verifiable disability. To be protected under United States federal law, a person must meet the federal definition of disability. They must also have a note from a physician or medical professional stating that the person has that disability and that the animal will provide a benefit. Emotional support animals are usually dogs and cats, other animals have been selected. Pet Partners is a national nonprofit organizations that trains and registers therapy animals. Their spokesman, Glen Miller, has stated "While we know that a variety of animals can be wonderful companions or pets, not all are suited for therapy work". Dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, miniature pigs, llamas, alpacas, horses, donkeys and mini-horses can be used. The organization registers birds, but not ducks or exotic or wild animals. The animals must be at least a year old and have lived with the owner for six months. Therapy dogs do not go through the specialized training that service dogs receive. Also, service animals do not work or perform tasks for the benefit of individuals with psychiatric, cognitive and mental disabilities. Although emotional support animals are excluded from the Americans with Disabilities Act, that does not mean people with these particular disabilities cannot use a service animal.