PLUS: Partner Erin Jackson interviewed by howstuffworks for recent ESA article. Read it here:
Emotional support animals (ESAs) are an increasingly utilized therapeutic tool in the field of mental health. While there are notable differences between ESAs and service animals, both play a crucial role in supporting their owner’s independence and dignity while mitigating the impact of physical or mental disabilities or challenges. Unlike service animals, which are defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as those which are “individually trained” to “perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability,” ESAs do not undergo any training. Rather, they provide their owner “therapeutic contact” by easing mental and emotional disorders, providing companionship, and relieving loneliness.
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