Women's Health

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Emotional support animals

Emotional support animals

An “emotional support animal”, by its very presence and through its interaction with the person they are bonded to, improves the quality of life for that person. This animal-helper doesn’t need to be a dog; any domesticated pet can fill this role. (Examples given include dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, hedgehogs, rodents and mini-pigs, etc.).

Of interest is that a person can register his/her pet as an ESA, granting the right to fly with the pet in the cabin section of an airplane and gaining allowance for the pet to live with that person in a no-pet housing situation.

To have an ESA legally recognized, a medical order from a licensed mental health professional is required. However, this doesn’t mean the person needs to be disabled by a major psychological disorder. It can also mean a person with a serious physical condition, who is suffering from depression symptoms, and gains great comfort from his/her pet, for example, could be eligible. The need for such an animal would then be included in that person’s medical plan of care.