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Old 03-10-2019, 05:53 PM #11
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Default Re: Do you believe emotional support animals should have official "proof" or document

I'm confused. What is the difference between a service animal, a therapy animal and an ESA?
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Old 03-10-2019, 06:56 PM #12
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Default Re: Do you believe emotional support animals should have official "proof" or document

therapy dogs
Therapy dogs need to be well-behaved in public and responsive to their handlers. They are trained to provide comfort to many people. They do not provide comfort to only their handler and they are not trained for any specific tasks to help mitigate an individual's disability. Therapy dogs who have passed a therapy dog evaluation are only allowed in locations where therapy work is approved. Therapy dogs serve in many different areas, but some of the most common are hospitals, long term care facilities, or reading programs for children (at local libraries, for example). These dogs visit with their handler to bring comfort to patients and sometimes their families. Therapy dogs sometimes are also used in locations such as at court cases for victims who are having a difficult time testifying. Or they might help provide comfort after a traumatic event such as a mass shooting or a natural disaster. Therapy dogs are not permitted in facilities such as stores that do not allow pets unless they have been called to work there.

service dogs
Service dogs are trained to help mitigate the disability of a specific person and are protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). These dogs must be well-behaved and responsive in public as well as be trained to perform specific tasks for the individual. These dogs ARE allowed access to public locations where other dogs are not allowed, as long as they are not disruptive to the environment. People are probably most familiar with guide dogs for the blind, but service dogs can also provide many other tasks such as helping deaf individuals. Service dogs can also provide diabetic alert or seizure alert services. Psychiatric service dogs can help individuals with psychiatric issues that prevent them from functioning in public places. There are many areas in which service dogs are helping individuals to lead more independent lives. However, these dogs must be trained to perform specific tasks to help mitigate the individuals' disabilities. Providing comfort is not enough to qualify as a service dog.

emotional support dogs
Emotional support animals provide comfort to a specific individual. ESA's are allowed to fly on airplanes and to live in housing that might not otherwise allow animals, but are not otherwise allowed in public places where dogs are not allowed. ESA's are not trained to perform any specific tasks and are therefore not considered service dogs nor are they provided any of the rights or protections of service dogs.


There is NO national registry of service dogs. There is no required vest. Anything you buy online does not give you any extra credentials. Buying one does not a service dog make.

Therapy dogs under go training, usually starting with obedience and then canine good citizen and then pre-therapy dog class & therapy dog class. Certifying agencies require the dog to pass a skill test (about 10 steps I believe) . A written test is required as well for the handler. This must be repeated annually. Dogs must be certified healthy by a vet yearly as well.


It is frustrating because many people bring u trained dogs into establishments as "service dogs" or ESA's and then the dog can cause issues. This hurts those who use legitimate dogs. I have a dog who is certified as a therapy dog and also is an ESA. I know the limits and adhere to them. But having worked in establishments where there are folks who bring their pets inside all the time..because their dog "needs to," really? I doubt it.
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Old 03-11-2019, 01:16 AM #13
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Default Re: Do you believe emotional support animals should have official "proof" or document

Quote:
Originally Posted by resurgam View Post
therapy dogs if they are affiliated with a licensed group with have a card with their #, name and expiration date . yearly they require recertification. they may, or may not wear a vest. also they do NOT have the same privileges as a service dog (entry into stores, etc).
I think this varies by state. As far as I know here, therapy dogs do not need training to be called therapy dogs. I was telling someone about the salon I go to. The owner breeds dogs and always has two in the shop. When they have puppies she brings them in too which is kind of a way for her to sell them. Who can resist a puppy? She happens to be great with kids that have disabilities and the dogs help with that. She calls them therapy dogs and has little vests for them. She trains them using a shock collar which seems mean to me. But they still run around and jump on your lap whether you want them there or not. Yes they are good with special needs kids but they are not specially trained and she calls them therapy dogs.
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Old 03-11-2019, 07:53 PM #14
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Default Re: Do you believe emotional support animals should have official "proof" or document

the fact they jump on laps and such is the reason that most places require therapy dogs be certified thru agencies. certifying means the dog has been trained to be comfortable around hospital equipment, crowds, noises, wheelchairs, it can be left alone while the handler does something, it is used to "leaving" items on the floor ..such as food, pills etc, it won't snatch food from patients, or react when another dog or animal approaches, etc.

so I guess you could say they don't need to be registered but most facilities want a dog that has been registered by an agency and passed their tests (skills, medical, insurance coverage, and handler skills). it just is better for everyone.

example...I go to a sr home for people with psychiatric issues...one of the residents has decided that my dog is "hers" and she gets angry when he interacts withy other residents.....to the point where she follows us and screams, and gets physical. my dog is trained to react calmly to this. same when another dog is in the home (a pet of a residents family). that dog leaps, barks and jumps at him. my guy sits calmly and just looks at it.

yea I could just buy a vest & say he's a therapy dog but I know the training & certification have made us a better team & a better asset to the places we serve. & our certification is valid nationwide.
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Old 03-12-2019, 06:24 AM #15
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Default Re: Do you believe emotional support animals should have official "proof" or document

Resurgam, thank you for the detailed answer explaining what each term means.

Sarahsweets, just because your hairdresser calls her dogs "therapy dogs" doesn't mean they are. That's at the heart of the OP's question.
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Old 03-18-2019, 07:36 PM #16
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Default Re: Do you believe emotional support animals should have official "proof" or document

Is there an online agency where I can get a certificate for an ESA? I have found many, but I can't tell which ones are fake or not. Anyone have experience with a particular agency?

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Old 03-19-2019, 07:47 PM #17
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Default Re: Do you believe emotional support animals should have official "proof" or document

no, there is not. you need certification documents from your doctor. ANYTHING YOU BUY ON LINE IS FAKE. you can go online and look up details as to what you need as far as documentation. usually there are notes from dr's etc that will state that the animal is needed for emotional support.

an emotional support animal doers not have the privileges as a service dog or even a therapy dog.
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Old 03-20-2019, 09:30 AM #18
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Default Re: Do you believe emotional support animals should have official "proof" or document

Quote:
Originally Posted by resurgam View Post
no, there is not. you need certification documents from your doctor. ANYTHING YOU BUY ON LINE IS FAKE. you can go online and look up details as to what you need as far as documentation. usually there are notes from dr's etc that will state that the animal is needed for emotional support.

an emotional support animal doers not have the privileges as a service dog or even a therapy dog.
Okay cool, I can get that.
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