Emotional Support Animals: Woman's Best Friend
Emotional support animals are appealing for a number of reasons. They can help relax you, keep you company, and protect you. A few of the Venus gals wanted to share some stories and information about their pets to help shed some light for others that may be considering adopting an ESA.
2 year old Siamese Tabby
Loves: laying on laptops while you're working, people
Hates: other animals
5 year old Pitbull
Loves: rolling in the grass, sleeping under the covers, face massages
Hates: people knocking on the door, bikes, strangers
8 year old Red Heeler mix
Loves: people, babies, looking in strollers, salmon
Hates: bikes, men who come too close to Isabella on walks
What made you want to get an emotional support animal?
Alyssa: Last year was my first year at UT. I lived alone and did pretty much everything alone. I was really depressed for a long time. My doctor tried putting me on anti-depressants and I really wasn’t feeling that. So instead, I got an emotional support animal. I’ve always had animals growing up, so I figured it would be a good move.
Isabella: Four years ago due to certain circumstances I had to move out of my house and into an apartment alone; so getting my own pet was a form of coping and a way of ensuring my safety. I always had pets since the day I was born all the way from fishes to horses. Pets are absolutely lovely.
Did you go to a Doctor to get a note? What was the process like?
Kassidy: I got a letter from the psychiatrist I saw in Minneapolis and she was really helpful and supportive about it. I already knew that Venus was a dog that was uncomfortable with going out in public because of her Austin Pets Alive profile, but I wanted to have the letter for housing purposes. Venus is a Pitbull and I wanted to have protection in case I got into a situation where someone didn’t want to rent to me because of that.
Alyssa: Yes I did. A note is necessary if you want to get a legitimate emotional support animal. That way you present the note wherever you want your furry friend with you and no one can deny it. The process is very easy. Just talk to your doctor about how you’re feeling, express that you want to try the emotional support pet, and they will write you a note.
How does your animal help you?
Isabella: Honestly I was a terrible person before Link. I tell people this all the time (they disagree but I know Link changed me). He is mentally handicapped, deaf, and is really needy-- so growing with him these past four years has taught me to be more patient and loving to everyone. He also senses my emotional state and forces me away from my computer during deep study sessions with random hugs.
Kassidy: Venus is a dog that builds a strong bond with the person (or persons) she’s closest with. Even though it’s only been a few months, I feel like we have a really good connection and just having her around makes me feel calmer. She also gets me out of the house everyday because if I don’t give her a long enough walk she just stares at me for a long time and makes me feel bad.
Do you have any cute stories/memories about you and your pet?
Alyssa: I will never forget the day I went to the humane society to pick her up. I was looking for a cat, so I had not yet decided. I took her out of her cage and played with her. Usually cats take a while to warm up to you. I’ve had multiple cats throughout my life and none of them acted the way Luna did. She immediately crawled into my lap and laid down on me. It was like she picked me. She’s done plenty of cute things since then, but my favorite is how she acts whenever I’m sad. I still have my rough days, and there are times where I just break down and cry. Whenever this happens, Luna comes up to me, climbs in my lap, and rubs her face all over mine. IT IS SO ADORABLE. Just holding her and feeling her purr helps me to calm down. I don’t know what I’d do without this little bundle of love.
Isabella: Hmmm every story about Link makes me so happy. It is hard to pinpoint a specific one. When I went to adopt him, his paperwork informed me he is deaf and he looked like he had 3 paws in the grave (honestly didn’t think he would live this long despite him being 4 years old at the time). I was looking for a guard animal but his condition seemed not in favor. Still-- for some reason I couldn’t stop thinking about him and went back and adopted him on the third visit. I love running with him. I love hugging him. I love having the privilege of calling him mine--I love how he loves. Honestly, never met a dog as perfect for me as Link. My golden, who passed away five years ago, was more like a mother-- Link is more like my son. He senses absolutely everything and knows so much about me despite being deaf.
Kassidy: This isn’t really a memory, BUT I’ve come to the realization that Venus is the dog version of me. I am a big believer that people’s dogs mimic their own personalities, and I think that’s maybe why I was so attracted to her in the first place (other than how pretty she is). Venus loves to stay in, loves to nap and is scared of loud noises. ME TOO! She has some anxiety (though hers is more social and mine is not), takes a little longer than others to warm up to people, and she’s happiest when hanging out with her favorite people. ME TOO! The weirdest thing is that her and I both bite our nails. I talked to her previous owner about this and she said that she’s done it for a while so I guess it’s okay? Anyways, I probably spend way too much time thinking about this, but I’m convinced that her and I are the same dog/person.
Editor's Note: If you think an emotional support animal may help you we strongly encourage you to talk to your doctor and work with them to find a good fit that will help you. We are not doctors and are not saying that an emotional support animal can replace medication or therapy, but it is an option that you should talk to a professional about if you are curious.