Pets can be extremely beneficial for all individuals, especially for those that suffer from mental health disorders. For me, my dog, Cash, helps me get up and moving. Even when I don’t want to do anything, I know I have to get up to feed Cash and let him outside. It also helps me because it gives me a reason to go out for a walk.

Cash also helps reduce my anxiety and paranoia. When I hear noises, such as a knock on the door or kids yelling outside, I know that it’s not real if my dog doesn’t react to the noises. I have auditory hallucinations quite often, and Cash helps me determine the difference between what is real and what is a hallucination. I also never feel lonely because Cash is always there to keep me company. I talk to him all throughout the day. He’s one of my closest friends.

I think it’s important for me to have a pet for these reasons and more. I’ve thought about getting an emotional support dog, that way I could have my dog and the support he brings to me everywhere I go. Some people have told me to just get a vest for Cash that says he’s an emotional support animal, but I won’t do that because it’s wrong and lying. Does anyone have a real support animal? How was the process of getting a support animal? Was it expensive?

10 thoughts on “The Benefits Of Pets

  1. I agree, just passing your pet off as emotional support without cause is wrong. I know people do it all the time but it infuriates me, especially because I am training my dog to be a real service dog. She comes to therapy with me. It has been a long process. It’s taken me about a year to teach her to perform tasks for me like grounding, waking me up, pulling me out of panic attacks and remembering my meds (this is the difference between an emotional support animal and service dog – service dogs perform tasks, emotional support animals don’t have to be dogs and are…well, emotional support to you). As of right now there are no ‘official’ government-sanctioned venues to obtain service animals, but there are places that train service dogs for tasks as well as private trainers that you can reach out to. Prices vary from what I’ve seen. Once I’ve done all I can do with my dog I’m going to see the private trainer I’ve been in contact with to finish things out.

    I also have an official letter from my psychologist stating I use a service dog. Having the letter is something that helps if we are questioned by anyone. The requirements aren’t really strict when it comes to emotional support animals, so I would recommend speaking with your therapist about using your dog as a form of emotional support, how it would benefit you, and I would ask for a letter with the office header. Bear in mind that emotional support animals cannot come out with you in public places of business but service dogs can. Let me know if you have any more questions, I’ve researched this extensively.

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  2. Yes I agree. My Blackie has been a lifeline at times. I agree with you 100%. But a dog is also a living animal and it’s a big responsibility as you point out. When they are puppies you have to toilet train them, they can bite and you have to gently train them to stop, and as you say when they are older you still have responsibilities. If you want to go away you have to consider what to do with your precious baby, can they go with you, will someone mind them for you? I’m only saying this because so many thousands of animals are put down every year. Not everyone wants the responsibility of a living creature. It’s a good idea to do research to find out what different breeds or different pets are like.

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  3. Check with your pdoc about getting Cash certified as an ESA– it’s not the same thing as a true service animal so there are some restrictions (there’s no legal protection to from preventing him to go into certain business establishments and offices with you) but it will be easier to be mobile with him. Also, at least in my state, pet restrictions from landlords is illegal in the case of ESAs. From my understanding, he will have to pass a Canine Good Citizen exam first. Regardless, though, animals are amazing. When I was at my worst, my only reason to keep living was my animals. When I rescued them (one off the street, two from shelters via animal hoarding and dog fighting), I promised them I would take care of them for life and give them safety and security. They’ve given me that back, and then some. I’m so glad you have your pup to take care of you!

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  4. I also suffer from depression and anxiety and have an ESA. The only place you can have your ESA that you couldn’t have a normal dog is in no-pets housing, they aren’t allowed to go everywhere with you like a service dog can. Hope that helps!

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