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Woof, The Power of Emotional Support Animals

There are quite a few differences between an emotional support, therapy, and service dog. Each type of registration provides the animal and its owner certain rights that otherwise are not granted to pets.

Service dogs help with performing a function for a person that is limited by a disability.

Emotional support dogs help individuals with emotional problems by providing comfort and support.

Therapy dogs provide affection and comfort to individuals in hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities.

Service dogs are protected under the Americans with Disability Act, while Emotional Support Dogs are protected under the Fair Housing Amendment Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. These protections allow service and emotional support dogs to be able to fly with and provide emotional support for their own and not be charged by the airline, to be able to reside with their owner even in buildings with pet restrictions, and to be able to take their animal to public places. The only questions the owner is legally allowed to be asked, is the dog a service dog required because of a disability, and what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Outside of those two questions, all other information is considered privileged.

In order for your dog to be certified as a therapy/emotional support dog a doctor’s note is required. The doctor’s note should generally be on the doctor’s letterhead to identify the doctor and show legitimacy, and provide the doctor’s name and contact information. The note will state that you have been under the care of the doctor, that the doctor has determined that you have a disability, and that the doctor believes that an emotional support dog would assist you with your disability.

Picking the breed of your Therapy/Emotional Support dog is quite important. The choice of a Corgi as our office dog, was well thought out, as most decisions in getting a companion animal should be. Corgis are known to be extremely friendly (they literally always smile), have a wonderful temperament, and are very loyal dogs. Corgis were breed to be sheep herding dogs, so they stick close to you and may have a tendency to nip at an ankle every now and then (especially if they don’t agree with where you are walking to). Corgis are longer dogs with very short and adorable legs. They will weigh anywhere from 22-30 pounds full grown and will only be 10-12” tall. The combination of these factors make the Corgi an ideal therapy/emotional support dog. It is important to assess your needs when deciding what breed to get, as some dogs are much better suited for some needs over others.

If you feel you could benefit from having an Emotional Support/Therapy dog any of our mental health clinicians would be more than willing to do an assessment to determine if it would be appropriate and beneficial fit for you. We will gladly supply the appropriate documentation needed for living situations and/or for airlines to make sure that your Emotional Support/Therapy dog can be loyally by your side at all times.

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