Humans and animals have been able to coexist peacefully for a very long time. Not only are our dogs and cats our pets, they are our family members. We treat our furry friends like we would any other family member or friend and we do everything we can to protect them and keep them safe, but can they do the same for us?
We all know about the wonders seeing eye dogs can make for their blind owners as well as any other service dogs that assists an individual with a disability or health issue, but some people try to debate whether people really need to have their pet with them in a public place for emotional support.
Sometimes there is confusion because service animals and emotional support animals are very different. Service animals are specifically trained to do a job and keep their owner safe by guiding them or alerting someone if something is wrong, however emotional support animals do their job by just being by their owners side. Studies have shown that stress and depression can be decreased just by simply having a pet, so individuals suffering from a mental illness may need to have an emotional support animal just to remain calm. People suffering from anxiety, depression, or PTSD may have a difficult time doing small tasks and having an animal with them can help them feel safe and relaxed.
One of the biggest differences between service dogs and emotional support animals is the kind of animal you can have. Service animals are limited to dogs, which are very common, and miniature horses, which are more rare. Emotional support animals can be any animal that helps their owner emotionally. Whether it’s a dog, cat, fish, bird, hamster, or hedgehog, it can be an emotional support animal if it helps their owner live a healthier and more productive life.
Mental health and physical health are just as important, which means that emotional support animals should be allowed and encouraged just as much as service dogs. They can protect their owners and save lives just by being there for their owner when they need them. Anybody who has a pet knows the difference their furry family member has made in their life and understands that we need them just as much as they need us.