In The News /

Emotional Support Dogs

DATE 1 / 30 / 2020

All dogs, whether they’re registered or not, serve some sort of emotional support role in our lives. Something about coming home from a long day at work to your pup ecstatically wagging its tail, eager as ever to see you, really eases the mind. Having such unconditional love in your life is as uplifting as anything else in this world, but while all dogs around the globe are playing the emotional support role in their homes, many more are trained specifically for this role. 

Training

Registered emotional support dogs don’t require the same rigorous training that many service animals do, but because they are given special privileges such as being allowed in airplane cabins, they are still held to strict behavioral standards. In order to enjoy the benefits of their positions, emotional support animals must be calm and complacent and remain by their supportee’s side despite any temptation or excitement in the world around them. These rules come with good reason. Improperly trained dogs on an airplane or in an apartment can cause serious problems. This may come as a shocker to many of us, but some people are very anxious around dogs. Whether they’ve had a previously bad experience or are just afraid of animals, we need to respect their opinion on the matter. If your dog tries to wander on an airplane and make friends, they could get themselves into trouble. Some people are severely allergic to dogs, making even the friendliest dogs a threat to their well being. If your dog isn’t properly trained and well behaved, don’t register them as an emotional support dog. Adding this convenience in your life can cause a major issue in somebody else’s. 

Benefits

Registered emotional support dogs do have a few luxuries that not all dogs have. As we mentioned above, you can bring these animals on airplanes or live in a “pet free” apartment complex. These rights for emotional support animals are protected by the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, and The Air Carriers Access Act. Emotional support dogs may soon lose airplane privileges, although this is not official quite yet. Multiple airlines have reported hosting over 100,000 emotional support animals each year, with many incidents littered throughout these cases. Dozens of instances of untrained pets posing as emotional support animals has caused an uproar in both the service dog, and airline communities. Those who truly need the help of a well trained pet are losing credibility due to people using “emotional support” as a loophole in order to travel with their pets. Contrarily, airline employees are fed up with cleaning up after untrained pets that leave a mess on their flights. Emotional support dogs do not have all of the benefits and freedom that service animals do, as they don’t have the same extensive training. Service animals are allowed into restaurants, theaters, and even hospitals. 

How to Register your dog 

If you would like more information on how to register your pet as an emotional support dog for yourself or a loved one, read more here. Current regulations stipulate that you must have a Mental Health Professional confirm your condition before you can officially register your dog. Conditions that warrant Emotional Support Pets include, but are not limited to, anxiety, depression, bipolar/mood disorders, PTSD, panic attacks, personality disorders, and phobias. Registering your pet as an emotional support animal is not a one day process; it takes time to ensure the legitimacy of the situation. We urge you not to register your pet as an emotional support animal if you don’t feel that you truly need one. Many people will register their pets with the intention of making their travel plans easier, or to get a “no-pets” apartment that they want. While this may seem harmless, if a registered dog acts out, it reflects poorly on the entire community of working dogs. People will then begin to delegitimize these working animals, and those who truly need their support will suffer the most. 

Sincerely,

The Lilly Brush Team