BRAVER Together’s BRAVER Buddies program can aid in obtaining a furry friend to help you through the day. Research has shown that pets, emotional support animals, and service dogs can help to alleviate stress, depression, anxiety, loneliness, and can be trained in tasks specific to a person’s needs or disability.
DO YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE?
A pet is an animal that is kept as a companion. They are easily obtainable and can be any variety of species.
EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS
An emotional support animal is a pet that has been prescribed by a qualified mental health professional. The prescribing therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, physician, or social worker must determine and certify that the presence of the animal is needed for the mental health of the patient. ESAs are NOT protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act and do not have to be permitted into businesses or while traveling. Allowing them is solely at the discretion of the business. They are often allowed into housing that does not typically permit pets.
A service dog is a dog that has been specifically trained to perform a task or job related to the person’s disability. The task is not something that is performed instinctively, but something that is taught to the dog to perform in specific situations.
Like an ESA, a service dog must be prescribed by a qualified individual. These dogs, however, are protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act, and are allowed to accompany their owners everywhere, without discrimination. “Disability” is defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The ADA also limits the species specifically to dogs, though does not limit breed.