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The Background on Emotional Support Animals
Emotional Support Animals are all the rage these days. Lately, I’ve seen articles praising them, bashing them, wondering what they are, and wondering if they work. Let me be clear up front that I am a supporter and I do have an ESA (the obvious shortening of the term). With that out of the way, I think we can dive into the subject with everyone knowing where I stand.
What is an Emotional Support Animal?
Here is the most succinct way I know to put it. An Emotional Support Animal is an animal that provides therapeutic support to a person with a mental or emotional disability. Now there is currently no legislation or guidance in the US that defines what kind of animal this could be. Still, in my professional opinion, dogs and cats are probably the best fit based on data-driven therapy studies. That’s not to say that someone might derive a benefit from a more “unusual” animal. It’s just to say that I have a hard time finding evidence to support it.
Depression and Emotional Support Animals
I suffer from depression. While it’s not something I talk about regularly, I don’t hide it either. I can muddle through the day and smile at the times I’m supposed to smile, but it’s a mask. I spent years acting very professionally and friendly, but I was hurting. EVERY DAY! Here’s where a tiny, four-legged friend comes into the picture.
Two years ago, a friend of mine (who knew I suffered from depression) came over for dinner. He acted like he just wanted to catch up and see how I was doing, but it was basically a sales pitch. My friend went on and on about how a pet would do me some good and about the research that backed up the benefits. He talked about the “pet effect” and the studies conducted by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute. Begrudgingly, and, mainly to get him to stop talking about it, I agreed to look into it.
Six weeks later I adopted what looks to be a Yorkie mix from my local adoption center. How quickly he changed my life is debatable, but it was FAST. I distinctly remember the first time someone said something. It was less than two weeks after rescuing “Rocky” that I heard it. “You’re looking chipper today.” I will never forget it. Although I tried to be upbeat, I couldn’t recall anyone ever saying something like this to me.
How is my Depression Now?
I don’t think depression is something that can be cured. I wasn’t sad or upset, I was depressed. I’m different now, and have been for nearly two years. I do get down from time to time, but so does everyone. But now I wake up happy and I’m generally in good spirits. I give complete credit to my four-legged support system. My emotional support animal.
I made it official by getting a recommendation letter from an online company that connects people looking for an emotional support animal letter with certified professionals licensed in your state. The process was pretty straightforward and I believe my life is better with Rocky than it ever could be with prescription drugs.
Do Emotional Support Animals Work?
In my case, absolutely. If you think it could help you, I’d recommend you reach out to a mental health professional. The place I used seemed as professional as anyone I’ve worked with.
Every treatment plan has different results. Talk therapy, medication and emotional support animals are all things worth thinking about. Depression is a serious problem. If you’re looking for someone to talk, ThriveTalk.com is a good solution.
I just wanted to share my thoughts, but this one is the most important. If you’re suffering, get help!
Thanks for taking the time to read.