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Discussion Board: Should I feel bad about having a legit ESA?

Reddit Speaks: Should I Feel Bad About Having a Legit ESA?

Did you know that, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the percentage of households in the US that own dogs was 38.4% in 2017-2018? Additionally, the total number of these households in the US during this time was 76,811,305?

If you’re one of the many pet owners in the US, and your pet is an emotional support animal, then you might be wondering whether you’re right to have one.

In fact, so many people aren’t sure about this that there’s a Reddit ESA thread on whether people should feel bad about having a legit ESA or not.

Are you stressed about whether it’s legitimate for you to have an ESA? Well, you don’t have to worry about that anymore.

In this article, we’ll review the benefits of having an ESA, which will demonstrate why you shouldn’t feel about it. Finally, you can feel that you have the right to have your ESA. Read on to learn more.

Table of Contents

Legal Protections Related to Having an Emotional Service Dog

Some people need service dogs for very serious conditions such as mobility issues and even blindness. For this reason, you might be tempted to feel bad about having a legitimate emotional service dog. However, you shouldn’t feel bad about having an ESA in your life.

In addition to the many benefits you’ll get (which we’ll discuss in the next section), there are conditions under which you can legally get a service dog.

This demonstrates that, according to the government, there is a legitimate reason why people should be able to have not only traditional service dogs but also emotional service dogs.

ESAs are protected by law through the Fair Housing Act. Because of this act, people who live with an ESA are allowed to do so even if the place where they live has a “no pet” policy.

This law has an impact on travel, too. When you travel with your ESA, you won’t have to pay any pet fees—and they’ll also be able to fly with you at no charge.

Keep in mind, however, that you can’t take your ESA to a public place that normally doesn’t allow pets. This is different than it is with traditional service dogs, as they can be taken into these public places.

Get Your ESA Today


Due to the new Department of Transportation (DOT) policy, Emotional Support Animals are NO longer allowed to fly in airplane cabins for free. However, Psychiatric Service Dogs are eligible.

Getting Your ESA “Prescription”

If you want to get an ESA and feel that it’s legitimate according to the law, all you need to do is go to a mental health professional and get a “prescription” for an ESA from them. This is a letter that explains the mental health condition you have and that your ESA helps you in dealing with it.

Note that some airlines and landlords will accept a medical doctor’s letter, but that most of them usually will require you to provide one from a psychiatrist or therapist.

6 Significant Benefits of an ESA

When you have an emotional support animal, also known as an ESA, there are many benefits you get out of it. These include that they alleviate stress and anxiety, they offer companionship, they help to prevent ailments that are physical, and more.

1. Alleviation of Stress and Anxiety

When you have an emotional support animal (which is a separate category from a traditional service animal), one of the benefits you experience is the alleviation of stress and anxiety. By offering you comfort, they’ll be able to help you if you have any panic attacks or feel suddenly stressed.

How does this work? All you have to do is sit with your legitimate emotional support animal and pet them even for a few minutes.

As you do this, you’ll start to feel calmer. So if you’ve been wondering, “Who needs an emotional support animal, and could I need one?” the answer could be yes if you have any problems with anxiety.

Here’s how an ESA can help you with your stress. Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress or generally having a bad, s stressful day, your ESA pet can help.

How? All you have to do is spend a little time with them, enjoying their company and getting them to do some tricks, and you’ll feel your stress levels lower.

Emotional Support Animal Relieving Owner's Stress

2. Companionship

When it comes to when to get an ESA, one of the best times to do this is when someone is feeling alone. Whether they’re actually alone, for example living in an apartment alone or feeling isolated from others around them, an ESA can offer companionship.

If you’re feeling isolated and it’s difficult for you to connect, creating a relationship with your ESA can help you learn how to build relationships again.

Additionally, many people feel when they’re with their ESA that they’re experiencing companionship that isn’t judgmental or that they’re with someone who’s going to try to give them advice.

Instead, they’ll be able to share how they’re feeling with their ESA. Even though the animal might not sympathize or be able to talk back, they’ll be present when the person is speaking, giving them someone to talk to.

This, combined with the physical affection an ESA provides, makes them a great companion.

3. Connection and Less Isolation

When you’re out with your ESA, this will make it easier to make connections with others. You’ll likely meet dog owners with whom you’ll begin to interact more in places such as dog parks. This will make you feel less isolated when you’re out.

Also, this might lead to you creating friendships that also make you feel you have more companionship in your life.

Additionally, these animals can provide companionship during times that would be difficult for us to face alone.

For example, if you have a fear of flying, you can bring your ESA when you fly. The same goes if traveling generally is difficult for you.

ESA Connection and Company

4. Help With the Prevention of Physical Ailments

When you have an ESA, they can also help with the prevention of physical ailments. How does this occur? Lowering your stress and anxiety levels, they’ll have a positive impact on your blood pressure, as they’ll reduce the risk of it being high.

Additionally, if your ESA is a dog, then chances are that you’ll be taking them out for walks recently.

This is good for your health too, as you’ll be going out for walks and getting some air. You’ll also be meeting people who you might otherwise not meet.

All of these are good for your health generally and can help prevent the diseases you could end get from an otherwise sedentary lifestyle, like high cholesterol or heart disease.

5. Purpose

If you’re asking, “What is an emotional support animal?” the answer is so much more than an animal that provides you with the emotional support you need to deal with certain issues, such as anxiety, for example.

For many people who have ESAs, these animals provide unconditional love that the owner then reciprocates.

The owner will feel like they have a renewed purpose in life with their ESA; they’ll look forward to seeing their pets every day and to being there for them when it comes to feeding, walks, and general time spent together.

6. Mental Health and Trauma Support

One of the reasons that ESA pets began to be popular was that psychiatrists and therapists started to recommend that people get ESA pets to alleviate the symptoms of trauma and other types of mental health issues.

As you can imagine, then, this is one of the biggest benefits of getting an ESA.

When you’re snuggling with your ESA, your brain will release serotonin. This in turn will make it easier for you to deal with your mental health and trauma issues.

All it takes is a few minutes with your ESA to get this support.

Considering this, it likely comes as no surprise that research has demonstrated that when they were petting or holding an animal, people felt less lonely, less anxious, and more relaxed.

Mental Health Benefits Provided by an Emotional Support Animal

Additionally, according to this same research, these people experienced reduced depression and normalized blood pressure and heart rate.

If this happens from people spending just a small amount of time with animals, imagine what a huge difference it would make in improving mental health and providing trauma support in the long term.

This goes to show just how legitimate it is to have an ESA when one is dealing with mental health or trauma issues.

What the Reddit ESA Thread Says

On Reddit, there’s a thread that reviews why it’s important to not feel bad about having a legit ESA. These comments are posted by a disabled veteran with mental health issues, someone who suffers from insomnia, and others.

The Disabled Veteran

The disabled veteran who suffered from anxiety and depression avoided registering their dog as an ESA for a long time because of how bad people made them feel about doing so. But when they finally registered their ESA, they could have their ESA with them helping them when they truly needed it.

They said that if having an ESA is a legitimate need of yours and you’re approved to have an ESA by a mental health professional, you should never feel guilty about having one.

They encourage you to hang in there and to get your pet ESA-approved. Their ESA who they finally registered saved them in many ways.

Someone Who Suffers From Insomnia

This person said that they needed this thread. Their entire life, they had insomnia that was crippling, and without any explanation for it. It was so bad that they were only sleeping around four out of every seven days out of the week before they got their ESA.

Their pet helped them deal with insomnia in two big ways.

First of all, having their pet made it possible for them to maintain a schedule that was structured.

Second, their pet was there if they ever ended up having an insomnia episode in the middle of the night.

Once they had an ESA, the quality of their life completed changed by the presence of this pet.


On the Reddit thread, someone also commented that it might not even be necessary to register their pet as an ESA. They felt that all these registries weren’t even legitimate, that they were fake, so by registering your ESA, you’re actually lending credence to the idea that ESA registration is fake.

They said that, instead, someone who wants to have an ESA should get a letter that’s legitimate from their health care provider (this includes therapists).

Then, they’ll have an ESA that is legitimate, without the need to actually register the ESA.

This person then went on to say that one should absolutely not have any guilt or feel bad about having an ESA that’s legitimate.

The original poster then replied to this person and said that this was exactly what they were saying. They think it’s best to get an ESA the right way by seeking mental health help.

An additional person thanked the original poster for posting what they had, as they couldn’t agree with them more.

ESA Registration

Need More Information?

Now that you’ve learned about why you shouldn’t feel bad about having a legit ESA and learned about what’s on the Reddit ESA thread, you might need more information regarding ESAs. Maybe you want to learn more about the process or want help finding the right ESA for you.

Whatever information you need, we at American Service Pets can help. We’re experts when it comes to ESAs.

We can also help you in getting your ESA certification. To learn more about how we can help you with this, contact American Service Pets now.

ESA or PSA Certification?

The benefits of an Emotional Support Animal certification and a Psychiatric Service Dog certification are drastically different. Fortunately for you, American Service Pets’ network of active board certified doctors can help you find the right path to certification. To find out whether you need an ESA or PSD letter, take our easy, three-step Pet Owner Survey!


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