Emotional Support Animals (ESAs)

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September 30, 2012 by hookershorde

3 Emotional Support Animals and a Foster Dog

Protect Your Pet with ESA Status

Years ago, when I traveled frequently and had just one dog, Booker T. Washington, an all-black Cockapoo, I researched Emotional Support Animals.  Booker was just a few pounds to heavy to fit in an airline cabin-friendly carrier.  Therefore, for him to travel with me, he needed to be an Emotional Support Animal (ESA).

In 2006, some airlines stopped transporting animals as cargo.  With proper documentation, a letter from a medical provider and/or documents obtained on the Internet, any animal could fly in the cabin as an ESA.

However, prior to establishing Booker as my ESA, I stopped traveling as much.  My understanding of ESAs helped several of my friends, though.  When my neighbor moved to Cabo San Lucas from Park City, her 120-pound yellow Lab and black cat flew in the cabin with her as her ESAs.

Emotional support animals are meant for homes and, per the US Department of Transportation, flights.  ESAs do not require specialized training.  Instinctively, animals calm people down, reduce stress, anxiety and depression.  Petting an animal companion, watching animals play, and snuggling with an animal is therapeutic.

Recognizing that pet companions instinctively nurture human beings, shouldn’t all animal companions be considered ESAs?

In 2005, I had my first panic attack.  My Samoyed, Gorbachev, and Golden Retriever, Midas, stayed on the slate bathroom floor with me that night.  My anxiety attacks make me feel like I’m having a heart attack.  It’s scary.

Visits to the gastroenterologist and cardiologist revealed, “You’re a very healthy young woman with anxiety.”

Currently, my animal family includes Faith, a four-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog; Booker T. Washington, a six-year-old Cockapoo; and, Gus, a former-puppy mill rescue who is approximately six-years-old.

Traditionally, ESAs serve as companions for human beings.  But, Faith is actually an ESA for Gus.  He takes his cues from her.  Emotional support comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

While I own my home and the County only requires a kennel license for five or more dogs, my Homeowners’ Association (HOA) guidelines state that owners can only have two pets.  In addition, the covenants and by-laws state that tenants cannot have pets.

I live in Park City.  Some call my town, Bark City.  We value animal companions.  In fact, when I sat on the Planning Commission, we insisted that workforce housing allow pets.

But, because it’s difficult and requires a vote, the covenants and by-laws of my HOA have not been changed.

For my animal family to support each other and me, all three dogs have been prescribed as emotional support animals.  That letter is on file with my property management company.

My friend recently adopted a Golden Retriever puppy.  After, she received a letter from her HOA in north Salt Lake explaining there was 30-pound limit on animals.  Now, her HOA has a letter explaining that her puppy is an ESA.

To ensure your quality of life and the comfort of your animal companions, please consider registering them as Emotional Support Animals.  You can find more information at emotionalsupportanimals.org.


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