Animal companions make life easier for many adults. However, when traveling with your emotional support animal (ESA), you might run into complications. Depending on the business, it’s not unusual for them to question your ESA’s legitimacy. The best way to respond to a situation like this is to have your emotional support dog letter ready to show them.
Here are some tips for obtaining this letter.
Request a Letter from a Therapist
Emotional support animal letters must come from a licensed therapist or medical professional. Some therapists will require you to meet with them for a session, while others might have you fill out a questionnaire and use your answers to determine if an ESA is vital to helping you navigate daily life.
Let the therapist know why you need the letter. Is it for travel? Do you need it for your landlord? Be specific so that your therapist writes the letter correctly.
All emotional support animal letters must be written on the counselor’s or medical professional’s letterhead. If it’s not written on letterhead, it could be denied.
Will you be flying with your pet? Some airlines have specific requirements and additional forms they need travelers to fill out before traveling. These forms may require more than the ESA letter from your therapist. Make sure you know all the rules before showing up at the gate with your ESA. The better prepared you are, the smoother your travels will go.
Does an ESA Letter Mean My Dog Is Registered?
There isn’t a national registry for emotional support dogs. There are registry programs, but they are voluntary, and you’re not required to register your dog.
That being said, there are benefits to registering your dog with a voluntary online registry. The first reason is that it‘s more official, and businesses are less likely to question your need for your dog to accompany you. Second, it gives you peace of mind and can make your day less stressful. If you’re hassled about your dog, you can refer the business to the website.
Keep in mind that ESAs are not given the same protection under federal law as service dogs. However, it’s still a good idea to reach out to a therapist and request an emotional dog support letter for added protection and to give your claim legitimacy if questions by business owners.