Category: People and their pets

The critical value of a dog.

I am republishing an item from the American Kennel Club on the subject.

Oliver has a very special relationship with me. Plus Jean loves him just as much. That is not to say that he isn’t very friendly with other humans that he knows but there’s something that I have trouble putting into words when it comes to the bond between me and Oliver.

It is very, very special and truly magical.

I am reminded of this bond between Oliver and me because of a post that I want to republish.

It is about emotional support animals and was published by the American Kennel Club. Here is that article.

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Everything You Need to Know About Emotional Support Animals

By Stephanie Gibeault, MSc, CPDT

February 24th, 2021

Key Points

  • Emotional support dogs (ESAs) are pets and not service dogs.
  • Mental health professionals prescribe emotional support animals under the law.
  • Airlines are no longer required to accommodate emotional support animals.

Every dog owner knows there are many benefits to having a dog, from getting themselves out for exercise to receiving loyal companionship. However, for some people with mental or emotional conditions, the presence of a dog is critical to their ability to function normally on a daily basis. The pet provides emotional support and comfort that helps them deal with challenges that might otherwise compromise their quality of life. These pets are known as emotional support animals (ESAs).

What Is an Emotional Support Dog?

Although all dogs offer an emotional connection with their owner, to legally be considered an emotional support dog, also called an emotional support animal (ESA), the pet needs to be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional to a person with a disabling mental illness. A therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist must determine that the presence of the animal is needed for the mental health of the patient. For example, owning a pet might ease a person’s anxiety or give them a focus in life. The dogs can be of any age and any breed.

Emotional Support Dog vs. Service Dogs

ESAs provide support through companionship and can help ease anxiety, depression, and certain phobias. However, they are not service dogs, and ESA users do not receive the same accommodations as service dog users.

A service dog, such as a guide dog or psychiatric service dog, is generally allowed anywhere the public is allowed; ESAs are not. For example, ESAs generally cannot accompany their owners into restaurants or shopping malls.

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service animals as “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” The act clearly states that animals that simply provide emotional comfort do not qualify as service animals. Some state and local laws have a broader definition, so be sure to check with local government agencies to learn if ESAs qualify for public access in your area.

The key difference between a service dog and an emotional support dog is whether the animal has been trained to perform a specific task or job directly related to the person’s disability. For example, service dogs are trained to alert a hearing-impaired person to an alarm or guide a visually impaired person around an obstacle or provide pressure on someone with PTSD who is suffering from a panic attack.

Behaviors such as cuddling on cue, although comforting, do not qualify. The tasks need to be specifically trained to mitigate a particular disability, not something instinctive the dog would do anyway.

Emotional Support Dogs Are Not Psychiatric Service Dogs

There are service dogs, known as psychiatric service dogs that require extensive training to work specifically with people whose disability is due to mental illness. These dogs detect the beginning of psychiatric episodes and help ease their effects. Although this sounds similar to the role of an ESA, the difference between a psychiatric service dog and an ESA is again in the tasks performed by the dog and the training received to perform these tasks.

Psychiatric service dogs (recognized by the ADA as service dogs) have been trained to do certain jobs that help the handler cope with a mental illness. For example, the dog might remind a person to take prescribed medications, keep a disoriented person in a dissociative episode from wandering into a hazardous situation such as traffic or perform room searches for a person with post-traumatic stress disorder. If it is simply the dog’s presence that helps the person cope, then the dog does not qualify as a psychiatric service dog.

Housing Accommodations for Individuals Who Use Emotional Support Dogs

Individuals who use ESAs are provided certain accommodations under federal law in the areas of housing and air travel. The Fair Housing Act includes ESAs in its definition of assistance animals. Under the act, people cannot be discriminated against due to a disability when obtaining housing. Rules such as pet bans or restrictions are waived for people who have a prescription for an ESA, and they cannot be charged a pet deposit for having their ESA live with them.

Are Emotional Support Dogs Allowed on Flights?

In December 2020, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) announced final revisions to its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). The final rule, effective in January 2021, defines a service animal as a dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.  This change in the DOT’s definition of “service animal”  aligns closely with the definition that the Department of Justice uses under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

The changes also clarify that emotional support animals (ESAs), comfort animals, companionship animals, animals being trained to be service animals, and species other than dogs are not considered to be “service animals” under the new DOT definition. Instead, airlines may recognize and accommodate emotional support animals as pets. For most airlines, the new no-fly policy for ESAs started on January 11. Some airlines now require passengers with service dogs to complete a DOT-authorized form prior to travel that confirms their training, health, and certification.

In the past, the AKC has expressed concern for safety with the previous recognition of ESAs as service animals, including the growing number of people misrepresenting their pets as service animals.

Emotional support dogs can perform an important role in the life of a person with mental or emotional conditions. When people who do not have a disability abuse the system by misrepresenting a pet as an ESA to obtain special accommodation, they undermine important accommodations for individuals with a legitimate need for this assistance.

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This is a valuable article in my opinion and, I am sure, in the opinion of many others. It clarifies the legal position of dogs that are not, however loving the animal is to you, legally-defined as service dogs.

It may seem trivial for those not in the category of requiring a dog that is a service dog but I am certain that for those who definitely do require such an animal this clarification was necessary.

Meantime I will stick with our Oliver, our Brandy, our Sheena, our Cleo, and our Pedi.

And we still miss Pharaoh.

Just being a dog!

Downsizing one’s life with a pet.

Another very useful post from Penny Martin.

So today is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere; here we are halfway through 2022! But somethings are constant and, hopefully, will never change.

That’s what I feel towards the group of people that write posts for me. Included in that special set is Penny Martin. Here is her latest about how to go to a smaller home when you have a pet. (We listened to the BBC’s You and Yours yesterday morning about rental housing. This article from Penny could be highly relevant.)

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How to Downsize the Stress-Free Way With a Pet

By Penny Martin

June 15th, 2022

If you’re tired of your current home and you need to move for work or personal reasons, or you just want a change of scenery, downsizing might be a good choice. Downsizing can be a great way to save money, especially if you don’t need all of the space you’re using. However, downsizing when you have a pet can become complicated because your pet needs ample space to live comfortably. Keep reading for some tips, courtesy of Learning from Dogs.

Finding a New Home

Wherever you move, you’ll need to make sure that it offers a suitable amount of space for your pet. If you own a dog or a cat, it can be a big adjustment for them to have less room to move around and live. Downsizing will also affect larger pets more than smaller ones since they’ll feel the effects of having less room more noticeably. If you can place your pet with a friend, family member, or boarding service during the move, that might be a good choice to reduce the stress involved and make the process simpler. 

If your pets live in a cage or a tank, you’ll have to make sure you have a secure place to put their home. Also, consider how the lighting and noise in their immediate environment will affect their sleep patterns and anxiety.

When you purchase a new home, you’ll likely need a mortgage. Inquire with more than one mortgage broker to compare the rates they offer you and choose the best deal. Visit a lender’s website to get an idea about the current rates available. If you’re a veteran, consider applying for a VA loan, which can save you significant amounts of money on the downpayment and the interest rate. If not, an FHA or conventional loan might be the way to go. 

Before moving your pet into your new home, it’s crucial that you pet-proof both indoors and outdoors. Check your yard for any poisonous plants and consider installing a fence to prevent your pup from escaping. 

Preparing Your Home for Sale

If you own your home, you’ll have to prepare it for sale. How well you do this will be a big factor in how fast it sells. You’ll need to clean and organize the home and look into storage for your belongings if there’s going to be a gap between residences, plus you’ll have to make any repairs or upgrades so prospective buyers are more likely to find the property appealing.

Give special attention to curb appeal as well. A neat and well-kept yard will make a great impression on buyers. If your outdoor area could use some beautification, a lawn care company offers mowing, trimming, and debris removal services. Only hire experienced and insured contractors.

Consider hiring a real estate agent to help you prepare the home for sale and guide you through any difficulties or processes you might not understand. Having an agent to show the house and represent you in negotiations can also make the process easier and protect you from losing money.

Do What’s Best for You and Your Pet

Moving into a smaller home is a big decision, and you’ll need to make sure that you’re fully prepared and able to make your pet amply comfortable both during and after the move. Selling a home can be a complicated and financially stressful process, and buying a new one may require a mortgage, so do thorough research to avoid wasting time or losing money. When selling your home, clean and declutter, make repairs, and hire lawn care professionals to boost your curb appeal. Most importantly, be empathetic to what your pet is experiencing during a change in their environment.

Image via Unsplash

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Reading this great advice from Penny reminds me that moving home with a pet or two can be a major upheaval and her tips are valuable. However, when it comes to Jean and me we just have too many pets and we are too old to think of moving, plus we really love where we live (but I don’t want to think about what happens if I can no longer drive!)

Good article!

Picture Parade Four Hundred and Thirty-Nine

Another set of photographs from Gary.

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Always gorgeous!

Thank you, Gary.

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A footnote.

Last Friday, Jean and I were musing about the mice that had appeared in the house and the idea came up that we might return to having a cat. Our online research found a place in Medford, Committed Alliance to Strays or C.A.T.S., a place devoted to rescuing cats. We made an appointment for 2pm.

We came home with two Siamese. They are twins, both male, born on 15th March, 2017. Their names are Hogan and Skippy but we are thinking of renaming them.

Friday afternoon when we came home. Jean put them in a spare room and closed the door.

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Saturday morning and they are in the main living room for a while.

One is more confident than the other but all the dogs, save Sheena, have had cats in their lives when we had our cats before.

The previous owner left a note on their cage at C.A.T.S. It read:

This is Skippy and Hogan! They were my cats and unfortunately my living situation changed drastically and I couldn’t keep them. 😦 They are very sweet, just a bit shy and timid. If you consider adopting them just know that they deserve the world. All I can hope is that they go to a good home!! They need to stay together; they are very attached.

It is early days but we have a hunch that this was a good move!

Dogs and cell phones!

This may be so!

We have people with us so forgive me for being brief. I saw this article the other day and wondered if that was the case.

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Too Much Time On Your Phone Might Be Making Your Dog Depressed 

He might be sad about all your screen time.

By Ellen Schmidt

Published on the 18th May, 2022.

It’s fair to say that our relationships in life require mental presence and a willingness to connect in order to thrive. Well, the same goes for your relationship with your dog.

In a busy world of daily distractions (social media being a prime example), what happens when we spend too much time on our phones — do our pets notice? Is your phone making your dog depressed?

Dr. Iain Booth, a veterinary surgeon in the United Kingdom, made this assertion more than four years ago. We’ve decided to revisit the topic because during the pandemic, many people became pet parents while simultaneously spending more time on their phones.

We spoke with Colleen Safford, a dog trainer, behavior expert and owner of Far Fetched Acres, for more insight on our relationship with our pets and what dogs might be thinking when we’re on our phones.

Is your phone making your dog depressed?

While no two relationships are the same, each benefits from communication and attention. When it comes to the friendship between humans and dogs, we should try and understand their wants and needs so every pet can live their best life. While we rely on our dogs for love and companionship, they rely on us for, well, everything.

“While I hesitate to ever say that humans can fully understand exactly what is going on in the brain of man’s best friend, dogs by their very nature are deeply dependent on humans,” Safford told The Dodo. “We control every resource in their life, including food, exercise, affection, guidance and support. By their very nature, dogs are codependents in the world of domestic living! Simply put, we are their everything.”

While the larger issue of our dependence on phones is worth countless studies, a few things are clear: Too much screen time can lead to depression and anxiety in humans, among other issues. And it can isolate us from anyone in our presence — including our dogs.

“In relationship to dog depression, if an owner has thumbs too busy to provide petting, eyes too distracted to see that their dog is trying to play fetch, and a brain too busy to provide all those verbal ‘good boys,’ it is easy to understand why phone use can impact a dog’s overall health,” Safford said. “By not supplying our dogs with exercise, verbal attention or physical contact, we are ignoring their needs and increasing the chances of behavior issues and anxiety.”

As Booth said in his interview (in reference to ignoring your dog in favor of your phone), “You do that consistently for weeks, months and years on end, and you’re going to get some real behavioral issues.” So some dogs may even start misbehaving to get your attention.

While wholly dependent on the individual dog, this is something that every dog parent should be aware of, especially considering current events — as mentioned above, during the pandemic, dog adoptions went up as did smartphone usage.

Putting the phone down is step one

“Humans and dogs both release oxytocin from petting and affection, and release endorphins during exercises,” Safford said. “No petting or affection — no love hormone. No movement — no feel-good hormones. It’s as simple as that.”

Physical activity is necessary to maintain a bond with your dog. “Grab a ball and leash, and nurture and deepen that bond. Give your dog all those words of affirmation,” Safford said.

He definitely deserves it.

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I guess the question is how much is too much. But I have my doubts that the majority of dog owners are that disconnected from their precious animals

Second go for Indiana’s guest post.

Yours truly missed a section out.

Indiana sends me a ‘doc’ file with his guest post and I convert it to ‘Mac OS’ by using the software Pages. This time I missed the last section as it was on another page.

So here we go again!

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Image Source: Unsplash

Three Simple Ways to Prioritize Your Dog’s Mental Health

Dogs provide unconditional love, companionship, and so much more. They can even improve your physical and mental well-being with their presence alone. For many people, dogs are more than just pets – they’re members of the family. 

There’s actually more truth to that thought than you may realize. According to contemporary science, dogs go through similar chemical and hormonal changes as humans when they’re experiencing emotions. Simply put, dogs have feelings just like we do.


Dogs can experience stress, anxiety, depression, grief, and more. Because they depend on us for care, it’s important to make sure you’re prioritizing their mental well-being as well as their physical health. Your dog can’t ask you for help when they’re feeling stressed or depressed. It’s up to you to recognize some of the common signs and understand what you can do to help. 

So, how can you prioritize your dog’s mental well-being? Let’s cover a few tips that can make a difference for your four-legged friend.

1. Recognize Signs of Distress

If someone in your family is feeling anxious or depressed, they can talk to you about it. They can reach out for help when it’s needed. You might even have an easier time picking up on some of the common signs, including a sense of hopelessness or social isolation. 

While your dog can’t ask for help when they’re feeling stressed or depressed, there are still signs you should look out for. According to the American Kennel Club, some of the most common symptoms of depression in dogs include

  • Clingy behavior
  • Loss of interest in things they typically love
  • Withdrawing from people

You know your dog better than anyone. If it seems like their demeanor has changed and they look sadder or seem lethargic, don’t ignore it. Depression can be brought on by everything from grief to chronic pain. Rule out any medical issues that could be causing those changes by working with your dog’s vet. If they’re otherwise healthy, it’s fairly safe to assume their mental health is suffering and they need help. 

2. Keep Them Active

Like humans, dogs need regular exercise. It benefits their physical health, but it also promotes mental wellness. Different breeds need different amounts of physical activity. However, a good rule of thumb is anywhere from 30-45 minutes each day

A sedentary lifestyle isn’t just harmful to your dog’s physical health. It can fuel symptoms of depression. How would you feel if you had to lay around all day with no mental or physical stimulation? It might be fine for a while, but it would be easy to fall into a “funk” without something to look forward to. 

Taking your dog for a walk each day, going to the local park to let them run around, or even hiking with your four-legged friend can improve their mental health as well as yours. Exercising together will also strengthen your bond and provide your dog with the mental stimulation they need to reduce stress and feel calmer. 

You’ve probably heard the saying that a tired dog is a well-behaved dog. However, a dog that’s tired from an hour or so of exercise is also likely to be a happier dog!

3. Learn What They Love

Dogs often get stereotyped as being happy or excited all the time. While there’s no better feeling than seeing your furry friend wag their tail when you get home each day, it’s important to understand that they can have interests and hobbies they enjoy more than others. 

Finding out what your dog loves to do can make it easier to improve their mental well-being. 

When you live in a pet-friendly city, it’s easy to cater to your dog’s likes. These locations offer things like

  • Pet-friendly parks
  • Opportunities for socialization
  • Restaurants that allow you to bring your dog

You’ll boost your own social connections (and mental health) in pet-friendly environments by meeting like-minded people and getting more support. You can also quickly learn more about your dog’s interests, simply through exploration. Maybe they prefer long nature hikes as opposed to walking in the city. Maybe they get really excited when they’re around other dogs, so you can spend more time at local parks or pet-friendly restaurants. 

Don’t be afraid to try new things with your canine companion. Even bringing them to work with you can help to improve your bond and keep them from feeling lonely all day. 

The most important thing you can do for your dog’s mental health is to pay attention. Look for any changes in their behavior, and get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. Your dog depends on you for everything, and it’s not fair to assume that their mental health can’t change and fluctuate as much as anyone else’s. 

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(That’s better this time)

Right on! Dogs sleep a great deal more than we humans but they still need their exercise. Just as we humans need it, exercise is key. Key to their physical fitness but also key to their mental fitness as well. This is a great post from Indiana and I shall conclude with this video:

Dogs suffer mentally just as we humans do.

But not all dogs do just as not all humans do!

The list of ways in which dogs exhibit the same qualities as we humans continues to grow.

Indiana Lee presents another guest post that explores the mental issues with dogs.

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Image Source: Unsplash

Three Simple Ways to Prioritize Your Dog’s Mental Health

Dogs provide unconditional love, companionship, and so much more. They can even improve your physical and mental well-being with their presence alone. For many people, dogs are more than just pets – they’re members of the family. 

There’s actually more truth to that thought than you may realize. According to contemporary science, dogs go through similar chemical and hormonal changes as humans when they’re experiencing emotions. Simply put, dogs have feelings just like we do.


Dogs can experience stress, anxiety, depression, grief, and more. Because they depend on us for care, it’s important to make sure you’re prioritizing their mental well-being as well as their physical health. Your dog can’t ask you for help when they’re feeling stressed or depressed. It’s up to you to recognize some of the common signs and understand what you can do to help. 

So, how can you prioritize your dog’s mental well-being? Let’s cover a few tips that can make a difference for your four-legged friend.

1. Recognize Signs of Distress

If someone in your family is feeling anxious or depressed, they can talk to you about it. They can reach out for help when it’s needed. You might even have an easier time picking up on some of the common signs, including a sense of hopelessness or social isolation. 

While your dog can’t ask for help when they’re feeling stressed or depressed, there are still signs you should look out for. According to the American Kennel Club, some of the most common symptoms of depression in dogs include

  • Clingy behavior
  • Loss of interest in things they typically love
  • Withdrawing from people

You know your dog better than anyone. If it seems like their demeanor has changed and they look sadder or seem lethargic, don’t ignore it. Depression can be brought on by everything from grief to chronic pain. Rule out any medical issues that could be causing those changes by working with your dog’s vet. If they’re otherwise healthy, it’s fairly safe to assume their mental health is suffering and they need help. 

2. Keep Them Active

Like humans, dogs need regular exercise. It benefits their physical health, but it also promotes mental wellness. Different breeds need different amounts of physical activity. However, a good rule of thumb is anywhere from 30-45 minutes each day

A sedentary lifestyle isn’t just harmful to your dog’s physical health. It can fuel symptoms of depression. How would you feel if you had to lay around all day with no mental or physical stimulation? It might be fine for a while, but it would be easy to fall into a “funk” without something to look forward to. 

Taking your dog for a walk each day, going to the local park to let them run around, or even hiking with your four-legged friend can improve their mental health as well as yours. Exercising together will also strengthen your bond and provide your dog with the mental stimulation they need to reduce stress and feel calmer. 

You’ve probably heard the saying that a tired dog is a well-behaved dog. However, a dog that’s tired from an hour or so of exercise is also likely to be a happier dog!

ooOOoo

Right on! Dogs sleep a great deal more than we humans but they still need their exercise. Just as we humans need it, exercise is key. Key to their physical fitness but also key to their mental fitness as well. This is a great post from Indiana and I shall conclude with this video:

Picture Parade Four Hundred and Thirty-Seven

We wanted to recognise the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

So I thought that I would find some photos of the Queen’s corgis that I could share with you. Unfortunately all the photographs were copyrighted.

It is a well-known fact that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is a dog lover and has been all her long life. There is a delightful story about the Queen and her corgis on the BBC at this moment and you may like to read it. Meanwhile today’s picture parade is all Corgis!

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That’s it folks for another week.

I will close by thanking Her Majesty for all that she done over the years. Her Majesty gave her promise when she was 21 to devote her life to the Crown and all that flows from that commitment. Whatever her private thoughts have been over the years she has remained loyal to the Nation and the Commonwealth and it is an unparalleled record that will never be surpassed!

A final photograph of Queen Elizabeth II that is attributed to the author, see below, and I hope it is alright to show it.

By Original: Joel Rouse/ Ministry of Defence

The emotional support given by dogs.

Dogs and cats, but especially dogs, are the perfect animals for giving us emotional support.

The topic of dogs came up in Jean’s regular review yesterday at the Department of Neurology, Asante. But more on that next Tuesday, which is my next non-doggie day.

Today I want to republish an article presented by the American Kennel Club from February, 2021. The article was a very good one on the emotional support given to us by our dogs.

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Everything You Need to Know About Emotional Support Animals

By Stephanie Gibeault, MSc, CPDT

Key Points

  • Emotional support dogs (ESAs) are pets and not service dogs.
  • Mental health professionals prescribe emotional support animals under the law.
  • Airlines are no longer required to accommodate emotional support animals.
A chihuahua puppy in the hands of a girl.

Every dog owner knows there are many benefits to having a dog, from getting themselves out for exercise to receiving loyal companionship. However, for some people with mental or emotional conditions, the presence of a dog is critical to their ability to function normally on a daily basis. The pet provides emotional support and comfort that helps them deal with challenges that might otherwise compromise their quality of life. These pets are known as emotional support animals (ESAs).

What Is an Emotional Support Dog?

Although all dogs offer an emotional connection with their owner, to legally be considered an emotional support dog, also called an emotional support animal (ESA), the pet needs to be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional to a person with a disabling mental illness. A therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist must determine that the presence of the animal is needed for the mental health of the patient. For example, owning a pet might ease a person’s anxiety or give them a focus in life. The dogs can be of any age and any breed.

Emotional Support Dog vs. Service Dogs

ESAs provide support through companionship and can help ease anxiety, depression, and certain phobias. However, they are not service dogs, and ESA users do not receive the same accommodations as service dog users.

A service dog, such as a guide dog or psychiatric service dog, is generally allowed anywhere the public is allowed; ESAs are not. For example, ESAs generally cannot accompany their owners into restaurants or shopping malls.

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service animals as “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” The act clearly states that animals that simply provide emotional comfort do not qualify as service animals. Some state and local laws have a broader definition, so be sure to check with local government agencies to learn if ESAs qualify for public access in your area.

The key difference between a service dog and an emotional support dog is whether the animal has been trained to perform a specific task or job directly related to the person’s disability. For example, service dogs are trained to alert a hearing-impaired person to an alarm or guide a visually impaired person around an obstacle or provide pressure on someone with PTSD who is suffering from a panic attack.

Behaviors such as cuddling on cue, although comforting, do not qualify. The tasks need to be specifically trained to mitigate a particular disability, not something instinctive the dog would do anyway.

Emotional Support Dogs Are Not Psychiatric Service Dogs

There are service dogs, known as psychiatric service dogs that require extensive training to work specifically with people whose disability is due to mental illness. These dogs detect the beginning of psychiatric episodes and help ease their effects. Although this sounds similar to the role of an ESA, the difference between a psychiatric service dog and an ESA is again in the tasks performed by the dog and the training received to perform these tasks.

Psychiatric service dogs (recognized by the ADA as service dogs) have been trained to do certain jobs that help the handler cope with a mental illness. For example, the dog might remind a person to take prescribed medications, keep a disoriented person in a dissociative episode from wandering into a hazardous situation such as traffic or perform room searches for a person with post-traumatic stress disorder. If it is simply the dog’s presence that helps the person cope, then the dog does not qualify as a psychiatric service dog.

Housing Accommodations for Individuals Who Use Emotional Support Dogs

Individuals who use ESAs are provided certain accommodations under federal law in the areas of housing and air travel. The Fair Housing Act includes ESAs in its definition of assistance animals. Under the act, people cannot be discriminated against due to a disability when obtaining housing. Rules such as pet bans or restrictions are waived for people who have a prescription for an ESA, and they cannot be charged a pet deposit for having their ESA live with them.

Are Emotional Support Dogs Allowed on Flights?

In December 2020, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) announced final revisions to its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). The final rule, effective in January 2021, defines a service animal as a dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.  This change in the DOT’s definition of “service animal”  aligns closely with the definition that the Department of Justice uses under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

The changes also clarify that emotional support animals (ESAs), comfort animals, companionship animals, animals being trained to be service animals, and species other than dogs are not considered to be “service animals” under the new DOT definition. Instead, airlines may recognize and accommodate emotional support animals as pets. For most airlines, the new no-fly policy for ESAs started on January 11. Some airlines now require passengers with service dogs to complete a DOT-authorized form prior to travel that confirms their training, health, and certification.

In the past, the AKC has expressed concern for safety with the previous recognition of ESAs as service animals, including the growing number of people misrepresenting their pets as service animals.

Emotional support dogs can perform an important role in the life of a person with mental or emotional conditions. When people who do not have a disability abuse the system by misrepresenting a pet as an ESA to obtain special accommodation, they undermine important accommodations for individuals with a legitimate need for this assistance.

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We continued to be overwhelmed by the capacity of the gorgeous dog to undertake specialist tasks for us humans that they wouldn’t normally do.

I notice the AKC have a free booklet on the subject and one hopes it is still available. Go to the original document and just after the end of the article that I republished one will find the link.

See you all on Sunday!