Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs – What’s the Difference?
If you are in WA, you may have heard of emotional support animal or ESA. An emotional support animal works like a companion animal for people and patients, for offering therapeutic benefits.
Usually such animals are either cats or dogs, although a patient can choose other pets. The whole purpose of an ESA is to offer relief and support for disability, psychological symptoms or emotional stress. Check some of the basic facts you need to know before getting an ESA certificate.
To get an emotional support animal in WA , you have to check with your physician to consider the option of proving verifiable disability, as stated by law. Your doctor or medical professional will give a note or a certificate, which will mention the concerned disability and the need for emotional support animal that will offer therapeutic care and healing.
However, the animal isn’t treated a service animal and therefore, there is no need for any formal training. In fact, all domesticated animals, including rodents, birds, reptiles, cats and dogs, can become an ESA.
Emotional Support Animal Laws in WA
This is the story of Jeff, an Iraq war veteran who received his emotional support animal letter. Sgt. Jeff Sanders, an ex-navy SEAL who served in harsh conditions in the Gulf and suffered from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). When he flew back to his hometown, Baldwin Park, California, he was suffering from post war stress. Seeing cruelties and deaths of his close friends left him depressed and mentally traumatized. It was difficult for him to return to normalcy and fit back in his civilian life.
Initially, his family members thought a job in the community services would do some good and help him to fight PTSD. He even joined the job of Public Safety Supervisor. His experience as a veteran helped him to land the job easily. However, after few months of his job it did not alleviate his condition in terms of his mental illness. He started doing LSD and other recreational drugs. His son, Greg was worried about his father's condition. One day while browsing through the internet he came across the website of US Department of Veteran Affairs.
Animal Companions helps you to acquire your emotional support animal letter after verifying the nature of your disability.
Jeff's journey towards his recovery from PTSD
Once it was established by the psychologist that Jeff's mental disability conditions can be treated with an emotional support dog. It was a matter of seconds for Animal Companions. The organization ensured that Jeff gets his ESA letter hassle free and can accompany his emotional support dog to places that were out of bound before.
Another benefit of having a dog is that PTSD conditions are treated without the use of anti-depressant drugs that might have side effects on the person consuming it.
Thus his doggy helped Jeff alleviate his long history of suffering from PTSD. He is thankful to Animal Companions that helped him to set his world right.
What's the Difference Between Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs, and Emotional Support Animals?
Basically, a service dog or animal is the same as an assistance dog that undergoes a lot of training to assist people suffering from disabilities - mental and physical. They can also be a best friend for people with severe depression. Service dogs can be specifically trained by service dog organization to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. However, the owner can also train the animal. Some dogs are donated from different breeders and some are abandoned dogs donated from local shelters. However, not all dogs can be a service dogs. Things like temperament, the ability to learn complex tasks, etc. Come into play within the dogs training. But any breed or mixture of breeds of dog might produce a representative capable of service work. In short, depending on breeds, your dog can have all of the qualities in terms of health, temperament, trainability and physical ability. These characteristics can lead them to be more than just your pet but a service dog/pet instead.
So, what's to expect after your dog has been certified? Honestly, for most, owners expect service dogs to be treated as animal on shift or working animal in public. Why? Simply because every owner's safety purely depends on dogs ability to handle distractions. During the training, your dog is prepared to avoid distraction as much as they can especially when wearing their gear and at the same time they are trained to be relax and friendly when the gear is removed. An owner's permission is a must before other people interacts with the dog while in public places.
What you might not know is that you can actually train your own service dogs. Nowadays, more people are choosing to train their own dog because there are times that training programs just aren't able to train the dog to the owner's individual needs. However, not all countries allow that type of training. Luckily, this is permitted to some countries including US but there are certain criteria to be considered. Trainers have to have skills which allows them to understand that their experience in training advanced service dogs are different from training the average dog simple obedience skills. Owners may need to hire a professional trainer or organization that is willing to train owner's dog. Owner-trainers usually start training their dog when they are still a puppy until they reach the right age to be evaluated. The only downfall is that some find it difficult to deal with emotional conflict in rare cases when a dog failed the evaluations and decide whether to re-home the dog and start again or to just keep it as a pet.
On the other hand, professionally trained puppies were raised accordingly via very careful research and also had to undergo a regime that has a lot of strict guidelines and mostly given a success rate of 85 % and above after evaluation which is way higher than owner-trained puppies/dogs. Why is that so? This is because program trainers are expert in manipulating the genetics or say early stimulation of puppies until the event that they become service dogs.
If you are planning to get a service dog, you don't have to worry about bringing them to where you are. In fact, as soon as your dog got registered, they are allowed to go anywhere you go. You can feel free to bring them to any restaurants, buses, schools, ride taxis, take airplanes, stores, movie theatres, sporting events, watch concerts with you, visit doctor's offices, and any other public place. Legally speaking, it is a requirement of federal and state laws to always have your dog with you. What makes it more exciting is that they do not have to wear any identifying gear, no need to wear their vest as well. So everything could actually be owner's discretion. The truth is that a lot of service dog owners choose to dress their dogs in vest and identifying apparels to avoid questions and confrontations in public. So by doing so, it makes their life easier and at the same time it helps keep the dogs away from distractions as much as possible. If you bring your dog elsewhere, keep in mind that it is illegal to ask for specific identification from service dogs partners. If somebody did, tell them it is not allowed by law. You can bring ID cards with you, but take note that it should be done voluntarily, again, this is NOT required and should never be expected.
If you don't have disability, it's recommended for you to learn how to act the right way in cases that you see service animals in public. Keep in mind that you should never distract the dog on shift by calling, clapping, and even by offering food. You should never attempt to touch the service dog. You can speak to the dog owner but not to the service dog. Since we're avoiding distractions here, you should not get offended if your request to pet the assistance dog is not granted. You need to understand that if the owner lets the dog to greet you, you are distracting the dog's ability to stay alert on their owners. Don't be rude by telling the person that dogs are not allowed but instead ask if the dog is assistant dog. If the answer is yes, then stop questioning. If the person doesn't look disabled, never assume that the dog is not a service dog. Remember, it's wiser to observe first. If the dog pays too much attention and conduct close interaction to owner, chances are you are looking to a service dog.
On the other hand, if you are a service dog owner, you still need to pay attention on your dog's behavior and standards in public. People without disability will expect appropriate behavior from your dog. When going out, make sure your service animal is clean and doesn't have bad odor and most importantly, the service dog should not defecate or urinate in inappropriate places. Registered service animals should never make unsolicited contact with members of the general public and the animal's conduct should not disrupt the normal businesses no matter what. As an owner, it's a must for you to have the animal trained not to show aggression towards other people and animals at all. Service dog should obey all the commands of their owner. It is always important to have the animal work quietly and calmly as possible especially when wearing gears, and as a service animal, they are specifically trained to work out in public. Lastly, assistant animals should stay at least within 24 inches of its owner unless required to work in a greater distance. People with allergies are not protected under the law unless the allergy is really disabling. The person with a disability who is using a service animal is protected. One good place on the internet to get a proper registration for the dog and or animal is at http://www.registeredservicedogs.com.
by Jasmin Espinoza
Registered Service Dogs / Staff
Is That Support Animal Really Necessary?
If you are in the US, you may have heard of emotional support animal or ESA. An emotional support animal works like a companion animal for people and patients, for offering therapeutic benefits. Usually such animals are either cats or dogs, although a patient can choose other pets. The whole purpose of an ESA is to offer relief and support for disability, psychological symptoms or emotional stress. Check some of the basic facts you need to know before getting an ESA certificate.
To get an emotional support animal, you have to check with your physician to consider the option of proving verifiable disability, as stated by law. Your doctor or medical professional will give a note or a certificate, which will mention the concerned disability and the need for emotional support animal that will offer therapeutic care and healing. However, the animal isn't treated a service animal and therefore, there is no need for any formal training. In fact, all domesticated animals, including rodents, birds, reptiles, cats and dogs, can become an ESA.
There are professional companies, which can assist you in evaluating if you qualify for ESA evaluation letters, but these services are just meant for assistance. Ultimately, only licensed medical health professionals can offer you the certificate on their professional paper. Check online and you can find simple forms that will help finding your qualification. Don't miss on asking the rules and regulations with your doctor in detail. As a pet owner, you have to find the benefits of having an ESA, so that you can exercise your rights.
Fake Online Vests Kits And Certificates Are Not Legit
Service dogs are amazing. They have been extensively trained, live strict but loved lives, and take care of their owners like truly no one else can. The dogs' abilities to detect seizures, pick up dropped items, and even warn owners of impending stroke or heart attack make these dogs literally life savers.
With all the amazing things these animals can do, it's no wonder we have learned to accept them in places we usually wouldn't, like a restaurant or the office. But there is a growing cynicism towards service and support animals in general, and mostly because of misunderstanding, and I'll admit that I used to be one of these people.
I was not raised in a house with pets, and I never could understand the "emotional support animal". I could understand a seeing eye dog or a dog that assists with the hearing impaired, but these are obvious needs that a dog could help with. When I would see articles about an emotional support pig or bunny, I would roll my eyes.
Every day, people suffer from invisible illnesses that these amazing animals help with. They aren't always trained, but are a loving companion that can bring relief to their owners' suffering and these people and animals often are treated with prejudice. It does seem silly that a turkey can bring comfort to a guy on a plane, but we just don't know and should refrain from thinking we do.