Dogs are human’s best friends in many ways. One particular way is when they function not only as companions and members of the family but in addition, as a personal assistant in healthcare situations. If you suffer from a disease or disability, you may benefit greatly from the support of a trustworthy and loyal animal. Our canine friends are well able to serve us when we need their help.
Dogs that help us with physical or emotional conditions can be divided into two main categories: Service dogs and Emotional Support Animals (ESAs):
ESAs Vs Service Dogs: What’s the Difference?
There is a Difference Between the Two
ESAs and service dogs are often mistaken for one another. They do indeed perform similar functions. There are clear distinctions, however, between the two. It is important for you to learn about these differences so that you will be able to obtain the help you may need from these specialized animals. The main differentiating factor regards their functions.
How do They function?
Service and ESA dogs provide different types of care for their human companions. They are trained for separate tasks. A service dog is specially taught how to perform specific jobs and key tasks for a person who suffers from a physical, emotional, or cognitive disability and cannot do these actions for themselves. A few examples of the tasks that service dogs perform include visual functions for those without sight and hearing for those who are deaf. By contrast, an ESA functions as a highly specialized and trustworthy companion for someone needing emotional or cognitive therapeutic support. ESAs help people heal.
Are They Certified?
Because these two types of caring animals perform different service functions, they are certified differently as well. Only specially trained dogs qualify to be service dogs. These dogs are generally acquired through a service dog agency. On the other hand, an ESA can be almost any dog or even another animal such as a cat or horse. In the case of a person who needs an ESA, a mental health professional or a doctor will provide a diagnosis of the condition being helped by the animal. Additionally, they will provide a letter certifying how the ESA will benefit the individual.
Do They Receive Special Protections?
As a general rule, service dogs are offered legal protections while ESAs are generally not. The legal protection for service dogs is provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act. ESA’s do not receive this type of federal protection.
Examples of Therapy Provided by ESAs
ESAs in particular can be extremely useful for those with emotional issues. In addition to providing unconditional love and affection, animals perceive human moods by people’s body language, actions, and tone of voice. ESAs can be helpful for those suffering from depression, PTSD, anxiety, agoraphobia (fear of being away from home), aerophobia (fear of flying), and social shyness, to name but a few. Many doctors have noted vast improvements in their patients after developing a relationship with an ESA. Patients report increased confidence and comfort, a boost in self-esteem, decreased shyness, and higher degrees of motivation.
The majority of ESAs are dogs. In a typical example, a young lady presented that her biggest fear was flying. She complained that her anxiety started from the time she obtained her tickets until the time of the flight itself. Since she found out about emotional support digs and teamed up with one, her anxiety about flying has been greatly reduced. The dog accompanies her on every flight.
ESAs are not restricted to our canine friends. Horses can be excellent ESAs. Horses used in therapeutic work demonstrate exceptional patience, perception, and gentleness. Therapeutic horses may be large animals or smaller ponies. They are particularly selected to be able to put people at ease in their presence.
Let Your Helper Dog Be Visible to Others
Whether you have a certified service dog or an ESA, it is often useful to help other people understand that your dog is performing special functions for you. You’d like it to be distinguished from other types of dogs.
If you are using a service dog, let them stand out by giving them a special-colored vest to wear. This makes the dog easily identifiable, and will likely enable you to enter places of business and other venues free of hassles.
If you have an ESA, consider carrying a medical ESA letter regarding the utility of your dog. By doing so you will clearly be able to communicate that your dog is a personal assistant if the need should arise.
About Mango Clinic
At Mango Clinic, your health, and wellbeing are extremely important to us. We offer low-cost options, reliable care, and flexible solutions for your treatment plans. We can help you obtain an ESA letter as needed. You will find us to be very flexible in the ways we can work with you. Please contact us today.