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What is A Emotional Support Dog?

An emotional support dog is not a pet and is a companion that provides therapeutic benefit to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability. A person seeking a emotional support dog must have a verifiable disorder or disability. The assistance dog is viewed as a “reasonable accommodation” under the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHA or FHAct) to those housing communities that have a “no pets” rule. In other words, just as a wheelchair provides a person with a physical limitation the equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling, an emotional support dog provides a person with a mental or psychiatric disorder the same opportunity to live independently. Most times, an emotional support dog will be seen as a reasonable accommodation for a person with such a disability. Failure to make reasonable accommodations by changing rules or policies can be a violation of the FHA unless the accommodation would be an undue financial burden on the landlord or cause a fundamental alteration to the premises. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) uses the term “assistance animal” to cover any animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability.  (FHEO Notice: FHEO-2013-01 at page 2). An emotional support dog is one type of assistance animal allowed as a reasonable accommodation to a residence with a “no pets” rule. They cannot accompany their owners into restaurants, for example.

Common types of Disorders

Attention Deficit Disorder- (ADD)
Learning Disorders
Panic Attacks
Autism

General Anxiety-Dysfunctions 
Gender Identity
Simple Phobias
Social Phobia

Agoraphobia
Bipolar Disorder
Cognitive Disorders
Suicidal Thoughts or Tendencies

Mood Disorder
Depression
Severe Anxiety
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

identify your Emotional Support Dog

The need for Emotional Support Dogs has increased dramatically over the last few years. These dogs provide people with an increased quality of life through their companionship in ones day-to-day activities. By properly identifying your Emotional Support Dog, you will be assured that your canine companion can accompany you whenever and wherever you may wish to go with a few exceptions. A handler is protected under Federal law and cannot be charge any fee for an accompanying Emotional Support Dog, at any time and in all circumstances under Federal Law ie. pet rent at apartments, airfare, hotel fees etc. Our goal is to provide you with the all of the necessary tools to properly identify your companion as a Emotional Support Dog in all circumstances without any issues, along with 24hr. verification and Emotional Support Dog Law expertise.

Qualification Requirements

Most Emotional Support dogs have no specialized training, although some have minor behavioral and obedience.  These dogs are usually chosen for their gentle, calming temperament, and may be of any size, age or breed.

Emotional Support vs. Service Dog Certification

The difference between an Emotional Support Dog and a Service Dog is training. Has the dog been trained to perform a specific task or job directly related to the person’s disability? For example, alerting a hearing-impaired person to an alarm or guiding a visually impaired person around an obstacle are jobs performed by service dogs. Some dogs perform naturally, and one can learn to recognize it and modify it through training if needed. Per Federal Law no one can ask you to make your Service Dog perform on call and depending on your State Law a Service Dog in training receives all the privileges as one that is fully trained Service Dog.

Traveling with your Emotional Support Dog (US Department of Transportation)

How do airlines determine whether an dog is for Emotional Support?

Airlines can determine whether an dog is for Emotional Support or pet by:

  • The credible verbal assurances of an individual with a disability using the animal;
  • Looking for physical indicators such as the presence of a harness or tags;
  • Requiring documentation for psychiatric support animals and emotional support animals; and
  • Observing the behavior of animals.
  • Emotional Support and Psychiatric Service Animals –  Airlines can request specific documentation and/or 48-hours advanced notice for service animals that are emotional support animals and psychiatric service animals. Find Out More…
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