Are You A Defence Community Member Who Has A Service Dog
If your answer is yes, the following information will interest you if you travel with your service dog and you are:
- a current or former member of the Canadian Armed Forces , the Cadets, or the Junior Canadian Rangers
- a current or former employee of the Department of National Defence or the Staff of the Non-Public Funds
- a person applying to become a CAF member
- a member of the immediate family of any of the above-mentioned or
- an individual on exchange or secondment with the CAF.
Whats Involved With Providing Service Dogs For Veterans
Finding or breeding, training, testing, and pairing an appropriate dog with a veteran is a costly and time-consuming process. According to Sheila OBrien, Chair of Assistance Dogs International North America and Special Advisor to Americas VetDogs, training and care for potential service dogs can range from $30,000 to $50,000. Initial training can take close to two years and then the veteran will need to continue training together with the dog, usually one to two times per week for up to another year or more.
Training includes work on general manners, scent training with samples of stress hormones collected from the veteran to alert them when the client becomes anxious, public access training, and specific tasks that are tailored to the veteran, says Michelle Nelson, CPDT-KA, Ph.D. of Paws Assisting Veterans . After pairing a dog with a veteran, PAVE offers lifelong follow-up with unlimited training and advice. We also do yearly home visits and re-accreditation testing for all working teams, she says.
Where To Start The Search For Your Ideal Esa
If you are planning on getting an emotional support animal in Ontario, Canada, then there are a few places you can go to start your search.
Ontario is a large province that makes an immense effort to care for animals in shelters. For those looking for an emotional support animal in Ontario, we highly recommend visiting the following places:
- Toronto Humane Society
- The Doberman Rescue Group, Ontario
- Mississauga Humane Society
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What About Comfort Animals
Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, a comfort animal is not given the same status as a service dog.
The ADA official site states, Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. However, some State or local governments have laws that allow people to take emotional support animals into public places.
The Americans With Disabilities Act does make a difference between a psychiatric service animal and an emotional support animal:
If the dog has been trained to sense that an anxiety attack is about to happen and take a specific action to help avoid the attack or lessen its impact, that would qualify as a service animal.
The ADA adds that in cases where the animals presence provides just comfort without the training, that would not be considered a service animal under the ADA.
What Documents Can A Landlord Require For An Esa
Whether youre an ESA owner searching for housing or are interested in bringing an ESA into the property where you currently live, you will need to secure the required documentation in order to properly submit an ESA request. Your landlord can require you to provide a doctor-issued ESA letter, which is a professional statement that includes specific information outlining your need for an ESA.
An ESA letter serves as your main form of proof and is an extremely important document to have on hand before beginning an ESA-related conversation with your housing provider.
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What Are The Best Esa Products
ESA’s, like most companion animals, have a wide variety of products for their owners. Leashes, vests, and IDs are not legal requirements for emotional support animals, but provide the public with easy to identify tools to help owners and pets. Some of the most popular products are harnesses that can be used in apartment rental units or on campus.
How Do Service Dogs Help Veterans
Service dogs are trained to perform tasks that directly mitigate a persons disabilities, says OBrien. This is in accordance with the Americans With Disabilities Act . And these disabilities include any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity.
Veterans with PTSD suffer from a number of conditions including hypervigilance, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and night terrors. Turning on a light switch when entering a dark room, pulling the covers off of a bed or nudging the bed to wake them during night terrors, standing in front or back of them to give them space in busy settings, and shaking hands with strangers to help them socialize are all tasks that service dogs can perform, says OBrien. These tasks help them feel better and get them back out into the world.
Additionally, those with TBI can suffer from physical disabilities that service dogs can assist with including balance issues, mobility issues, and everyday tasks like opening doors, retrieving items, and pressing an emergency button to call for help. Service dogs can also alert veterans to increased anxiety before the handler is aware and place their chin on a veterans leg, lap, or chest to ground them, says Carolyn Barney CNWI, CPDT-KA Training Director at Operation Delta Dog.
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Where Is My Esd Allowed To Go
ESDs are not allowed in public places unless they are given special permission. This includes shops, restaurants, entertainment venues, places of employment, etc. Health regulations are of the utmost importance when it comes to with ESDs therefore, even if employees want to allow an ESD onto the premises, they can turn the animal away to avoid breaking health laws.
This is in contrast with service dogs, which are legally allowed in most public spaces, including places of employment. Remember that, in the eyes of the law, a service dog and an emotional support dog are not the same.
Housing Landlords And Managers Cant Do The Following:
- They cant require that the ESA animal performs a certain task like a service animal
- They cant require a pet deposit or fee for accommodating the emotional support animal, even when the landlord or manager requires other tenants to pay a pet deposit.
- Inquire about the extent of the persons disability, or ask for detailed medical record.
- The landlord or manager cannot refuse to accommodate your animal because their insurance policy wont allow a species, breed or weight limit of the ESA.
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How To Get An Esa Letter
If you have one of the above conditions or something similar, speak to a mental health professional. You can ask them for a letter to certify your pet as an emotional support dog. This letter must have the following:
- Be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional
- Include details like therapists contact info, signature, and license number
This letter can serve as proof of your emotional support dogs presence in a few key situations:
- Flying. Airlines typically wont let your pet travel in the cabin with you if theyre large unless you have this letter.
- Renting a home. Landlords and homeowners associations must allow ESAs to live with their owners, regardless of their rules on pets. If you run into an issue with this, you have the right to file a discrimination complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Avoiding fees. The Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Act state that ESA owners can be exempt from certain fees charged for pets when renting a living space or flying. But, if pets do cause any damage, extra fees may incur.
Its important to note that the ESA letter wont help when entering establishments like hotels or restaurants. These businesses can deny entry to your pet regardless of ESA certification.
Keep an eye out for fake registrations or certifications. ESA letters must always come from a licensed therapist. Be especially careful when obtaining an ESA letter online, which is where a majority of fake letters or scams can occur.
Other Important Allegiant Air Pet Rules To Remember
When traveling with an emotional support animal or in fact any pet, youll need to keep these Allegiant Air pet policy rules in mind.
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Apply For Va Veterinary Health Benefits
Upon approval for a service dog, veterans can now have their service dog enrolled in Veterinary Health Benefits. These benefits includes comprehensive treatment and wellness checks, emergency care, immunizations, and illness treatment for the dog that will be serving the veteran. This is to ensure that the service dog remains in good health to best serve the veteran. They will also provide the proper equipment needed for the dog, such as a harness or vest. VA Health Benefits do not cover medications, food, or grooming assistance that is unrelated to the health of the dog.
Service dogs have proven to increase independence and provide feelings of comfort and safety for veterans that are suffering from debilitating disabilities. Service dogs arent pets to these individuals, but are working animals that have a strong desire to please their owners.
While not all dogs have the ability to become qualified as service dogs, those who do can make life-altering differences for their owners.
To register your Service Dog and order your Service Dog Certification, click on the link below.
What Is An Emotional Support Dog
An Emotional Support Dog is a pet or animal prescribed by a licensed therapist to provide a health benefit for those that suffer from an emotional or mental disability.
Emotional Support Dogs have rights that normal pets do not:
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Emotional Support Dog Laws
As mentioned above, there is no official accreditation for ESAs, therefore the law doesn’t protect them or the individual owners the same way it does official service animals. However, according to the Fair Housing Amendments Act , any individual who meets the criteria is entitled to an emotional support dog. As long as you have the recommendation from your doctor, you are eligible for an emotional support animal.
Because there is no official emotional support dog certification, training or accreditation, any dog can be made an ESA. If you have an emotional support animal, by law your landlord has to allow you to live with your animal, regardless of any pet policies set in the residence.
Moreover, no additional pet deposits can be required for an emotional support animal. Your landlord may ask to see the recommendation from your doctor, but after that, there is nothing they can legally do to prevent you from having the animal. And because any animal can be an emotional support dog, as long as you have the doctor’s note, you’re in the clear.
Unlike official service dogs recognized by ADA, emotional support animals will not be allowed everywhere and can often be refused into businesses that do not allow pets. The only place emotional support dogs can be where regular dogs may not be welcome is in housing with a no-pet policy, and on the cabin of an airplane.
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How To Hire A Dog Trainer For Your Emotional Support Dog
If you dont want to or cant train your emotional support dog, you can always hire someone.
Emotional support dogs arent required by law to have specific training, unlike service dogs. But if you want your dog to best be able to help you, but are worried you cant train them, you can find someone to do it for you.
The best way to go about it would be to see if the American Kennel Club has a certified instructor or trainer in your area.
Puppy classes are also excellent ways to socialize your dog. A brief Google search can help you find different obedience classes, dog behaviorists, or trainers close to your home.
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What Does Reasonable Accommodation Mean Under The Fha
The Fair Housing Act states that a housing provider must make all efforts to accommodate an emotional support animal, but the law also acknowledges that in some cases, it may not be possible. This means that in certain situations, a landlord can deny your emotional support animal.
A housing provider can legitimately refuse your ESA request in any of the following scenarios:
- The property owner can prove that allowing the ESA would subject them to undue financial or administrative stress.
- Your ESA may be rejected if it is too large for the property. One example might be an ESA request for a horse to be accommodated in a small apartment.
- If your ESA has caused damage to the property or presented a threat to another tenant, your landlord can rescind ESA accommodation.
- If the property is owner-occupied and has four or fewer units, an ESA may be denied.
- If the housing is managed by a religious organization or is a members-only club, the FHA regulations do not apply and an ESA can be refused access.
- If the property is for rent or sale by owner only, it does not qualify for FHA protections.
Its important to understand that while a housing provider must attempt to make reasonable accommodation according to the FHA, ESA owners also have certain responsibilities including obtaining the proper documentation, clearly communicating the ESA request in a timely manner, and ensuring appropriate conduct by their animal.
Preparing Yourself: Paperwork Gear And Expectations
You should always check with your airline to understand regulations and rules that may affect both you and your pup during air travel. Some airlines require more documentation, like a vet letter or additional health forms. Youll need to have those prepared before flying.
If the airline requires your dog to be in a carrier or wear a muzzle, thats something youll want to work on beforehand so your pup is used to it. An emotional support vest or harness is not required for your dog when flying. But, wearing one may help employees and passengers understand your ESA is there for a reason.
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Emotional Support Dogs Work
Now that weve answered these common questions about emotional support dogs, you may be eligible for your own ESD. If you believe you or a loved one may benefit from an ESD, dont hesitate to make an appointment with your mental health professional to get the process started. If you do not have access to a therapist or may be intimidated by seeking support, read more about how to get an ESA letter online. Emotional Support Dogs work!
How Do I Get One
In order to get the benefits of an ESA, you will need a prescription from a mental health professional. This is basically just a signed letter stating that you have a mental health condition and that your pet helps you deal with it. Some landlords and airlines will accept a letter from a medical doctor, but usually it needs to be a therapist or a psychiatrist.
Of course, you also need to have a pet. Again, theres no special training required. That means that if you already have a pet, you can probably get it certified as an ESA. Otherwise, getting an ESA is pretty much the same as getting any other pet! Youll need to and look up local places to adopt. Just be sure to speak with a mental health professional and your landlord about it before you go through with the adoption.
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What Do I Need To Qualify For An Emotional Support Dog
Southeastern Guide Dogs is committed to providing you with exceptional customer service as you navigate our application process. The information below will provide you with a clear understanding of our application process and provide you with a checklist of the items that we will need to expedite your acceptance into our program.
In order to qualify for our Emotional Support Dog program, an applicant must:
- Be active, retired or inactive military
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Reside in one of the 48 contiguous United States
- Have an official, written/typed letter from your current physician, specifically stating your need for an Emotional Support Animal
- Have no felony convictions, history of violence, or protection orders
- Have no more than two dogs at the residence
The applicant must complete the Emotional Support Dog Application. This application includes:
- Personal information about the applicant
- Three personal references
- Physicians name and contact information
- Consent form
- HireRight consent form
- Documentation of Military Service
In addition to the completion of the application, additional applicant screening will include a pre-admission phone interview and in-home evaluation with a Southeastern Guide Dogs staff member.
If you have any questions or concerns, send an email to our Admissions and Graduate Service department at