The benefits of keeping pet dogs range far and wide – from companionship to security. But for people with certain emotional instabilities, the presence of an emotional support dog can well be the turning point on their road to recovery. So then, how can you get an emotional support dog?
You can get an emotional support dog once you’ve been certified only by a qualified medical professional to have a mental or emotional instability. In addition, you will have acquired the emotional support animal, or ESA, letter from this professional to support your claim.
Typically, it is not difficult to acquire an emotional purchase animal once you get an emotional support animal letter, and detailed steps on how you can get this letter are contained in this article.
However, before we go into details on how you can acquire an emotional support animal and the costs of this operation, let’s see what qualifies you to own an emotional support animal in the first place.
How Do You Qualify For An Emotional Support Animal?
You are legally qualified to get an emotional support animal if you have a mental or emotional disorder that has been certified by suitably qualified mental health specialists such as psychiatrists, therapists and psychologists, to mention a few.
Emotional support dogs are typically available for those suffering from a mental or emotional disability, and these pooches help to mitigate the effects of these disabilities on an individual’s daily activities.
That said, some of the disorders that qualify you to get an emotional support dog include:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Cognitive disorder
- Sexual disorders, and many more.
How To Get An Emotional Support Animal?
Once you have been diagnosed with a mental or emotional disorder, the process of getting an emotional support animal becomes more straightforward.
However, before you can apply to get an emotional support animal, you must get a formal letter certifying your emotional disability from an appropriate mental health specialist.
This letter must be written with a professional letterhead, be dated not later than a year, and also contain the specialist’s licensing details.
In addition, the Emotional Support Animal (ESA) letter must contain information that shows that you are:
- Receiving treatment from the mental health professional
- Required to have an ESA to treat an underlying emotional condition
- Prevented from carrying out basic day-to-day activities due to an emotional instability
Typically, the ESA letter expires after a year, therefore you will need to maintain communication with your therapist or psychiatrist to ensure you get another letter when due.
Where Can You Get An Emotional Support Dog?
With your ESA letter, you can apply to get an emotional support dog at local animal shelters or rescue organizations, such as the American Rescue Organization, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), just to mention a few.
Similarly, if you already own a dog, such a pooch is qualified to become an emotional service animal, provided that you have acquired the ESA letter. And if you’re a first-time dog owner, you can reach out to a responsible breeder with your ESA letter to acquire a pooch that’ll serve as your emotional support animal.
Is An Emotional Support Animal Free?
The cost of acquiring an emotional support dog doesn’t differ from what you would normally spend to acquire a normal pet dog. And you can get an emotional support animal for free if you adopt from a local shelter or rescue group.
Since emotional support pets are basically required to serve as comforters to their owners, without performing any other specialized tasks, there is no need to spend extra amounts to purchase specialized dogs.
And the upbringing costs for these emotional support animals typically don’t go beyond what one will normally spend on housing, food and medication.
On the other hand, it typically costs between $20,000 to $30,000 to acquire a specialized service dog for anxiety and depression. It may seem like a lot, but the amount spent to acquire service dogs stems from the enormous amount of time, dedication and skill required to train these pooches to carry out assigned tasks to perfection.
In addition, the cost for these service dogs typically includes money spent on boarding, vet bills, and feeding provided for this pooch during the course of training.
Can All Dogs Be Emotional Support Animals?
Yes, any dog can be an emotional support animal, provided that such a pooch is capable of making an emotional bond and bringing mental relief to its owner.
Although it is true that certain dog breeds are more likely to be used as service dogs than others, there is actually no limitation when it comes to dog breeds that can be used as emotional support animals. And provided you have your ESA letter, your pooch of any breed and size can serve as an emotional support dog.
In addition, emotional support dogs, unlike service dogs, don’t require any special training to carry out their functions. However, for a dog breed to perform optimally as an emotional support animal, such a pooch must possess:
- A great deal of patience and gentleness
- Impeccable behavior and a calm demeanor
- Great observation skills
- A natural ability to make its human laugh
Dog breeds that possess the aforementioned qualities, thereby making them exceptionally great emotional support dogs include Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Great Pyrenees, andYorkshire Terriers.
How Much Does It Cost To Make My Dog An Emotional Support?
There is no special fee to be paid to make your dog an emotional support animal, and the entire cost of this operation is solely dependent on how much a mental specialist charges for an ESA letter.
Typically, the cost of acquiring an ESA letter within the United States varies and is largely influenced by the mental organization you’re receiving treatment. But you should be prepared to spend between $100 to $500 for a thorough mental assessment and to procure the ESA letter.
Actually, there is no need to register or enrol your dog as an emotional support animal, and you certainly don’t need an ESA certificate to own such an animal.
With the ESA letter acquired from your psychiatrist or therapist, you can either adopt an emotional support dog from a local shelter, rescue groups or purchase a pooch from a responsible breeder – all this without paying additional fees!
It is also worth noting that dogs of any age, from puppy to senior, are qualified to serve as emotional support animals, provided you have the necessary ESA letter.
Compared to service dogs that are typically trained for between $20,000 to $30,000, training costs for emotional support dogs are considerably lower, or near zero.
The reason for this is pretty straightforward – emotional support dogs don’t require intensive training activities to carry out their tasks beyond the basic socialization and training needed to develop a dog’s personality.