Self Help Documentation

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Comfort / Emotional Support Animal

An emotional support animal is an animal (typically a dog or cat though this can include other species) that provides a therapeutic benefit to its owner through companionship. The animal provides emotional support and comfort to individuals with psychiatric disabilities and other mental impairments.

While Emotional Support Animals or Comfort Animals are often used as part of a medical treatment plan as therapy animals, they are not considered service animals under the ADA. 

These support animals provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias, but do not have special training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities.

Even though some states have laws defining therapy animals, these animals are not limited to working with people with disabilities and therefore are not covered by federal laws protecting the use of service animals. 

Therapy animals provide people with therapeutic contact, usually in a clinical setting, to improve their physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning.

It does not matter if a person has a note from a doctor that states that the person has a disability and needs to have the animal for emotional support.

A doctor’s letter does not turn an animal into a service animal.

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