Having a dog as a companion can contribute to one’s mental and emotional well-being. Therefore, some canines are trained to officially aid people with disabilities. These dogs are known as emotional support animals (ESAs). People can qualify a dog as an ESA with a few crucial steps. With official evidence, such individuals can be exempted from strict federal housing norms and rules that restrict flight travel with an animal. If you want to know how to register a dog as a support animal or understand the process of getting an ESA, you can follow these steps.
- Register through a trusted ESA service
There are several online ESA services in the country, like the US Service Animals that register a support animal. After entering details about the owner and the dog and completing registration, the ESA service will send the owner a photo identity card of the dog and a certification of registration. This identity card will also contain legal information regarding rights. Having an ID of your dog, along with a certificate, can make it easier to establish the authenticity of the whole process.
- Locate a licensed health care provider
Only licensed practitioners can qualify an ESA officially. People usually connect with a licensed therapist via a referral from a trusted doctor. There are online search tools like the Psychologist Locator by the American Psychological Association that may be useful. Simply enter the zip code and practice area to locate an ideal licensed therapist close to the person’s residence.
- Ask for an ESA letter
After speaking to the therapist, one has to request for an ESA letter. The letter must state the diagnosis of an emotional or mental disability and that an ESA can help improve the symptoms associated with the mentioned condition. Note that the severity of one’s disability need not be revealed in the letter.
Only an official letter from a licensed practitioner can qualify an animal as an ESA. However, when you register a dog as an emotional support animal with a service, you can show additional documentation to someone who doubts the validity of your ESA.