• Kathleen Pacheco

    I have been a Special Ed teacher and a school counselor in my career life. Now I’m retired, and happily leading a completely different life with my husband. I’ve read your article on ESAs. About two years ago, I met a young girl on a plane ride from New Jersey to Fla. She had a little dog with her. The dog was out of his cage, but on a leash. He sat quietly with her, and she kept petting the dog. She seemed okay to me. But she told me that the dog was to keep her anxiety down. I asked if the dog had special training for the job and she told me no, but that she had a letter from her therapist about getting the dog to help keep her calm. She told me she would not have been able to get on that plane and fly to Fla. to see her grandparents without her ESA.

    This made a lot of sense to me. If this is what the girl needed to travel calmly — to feel otherwise calm — then this was a really good idea.

    However, I realized that this was a good case. You know how many crazy people there are in this world, so I think the ESAs need a thorough check by someone in authority. Rules. A physical check-up. Certification. For both the animal and the human. And if they pass the tests, then they’re good to go.

    There are people who take their pets to nursing homes so that the people living there can enjoy the pets, and it works. So can ESAs.
    Just be careful in certifying both the animal and the human.

  • Sandi

    I saddens me to think that in 2019 people can be so ignorant. I have severe Panic and Anxiety disorder when I fly. I would not have been able to see my children and grandchildren if I didn’t have my little cairn terrier with me on the plane. In the airport she is my ESA. At all other times, she is my pet and she knows the difference. Over the past 15 yrs I have been called a lier, had agents call over the loud speaker, “ will the passenger with the emotional support dog come to the counter”, an agent take my psychiatrist’s letter and call her office to make sure I wasn’t scamming to save $75.00 and most recently, an agent on my return flight on Air Canada to MD decided that my little dog’s stroller had to be checked. Only baby strollers could be gate checked. My return flight from Toronto took 3 days because two agents were stupid. I guess They missed the class on the Air Carrier’s Access Act.
    Unfortunately, there is an online Cottage Industry selling letters, vests, etc. so scammers can avoid paying the fee. I’ve seen it many times and it infuriates me.
    I follow every rule. A yearly medical letter written by my Psychiatrist that includes my diagnosis with medical codes, her medical license number on her letterhead. My Vet examines my dog and gives me a health certificate and a current immunization record.
    My dog lays on my lap covered with her blanket and has no food or water and won’t go potty until we reach our destination. Even with all that, I still take medication before I walk into the terminal with another pill before I get on the plane.
    Part of the problem lies with the Airlines. They need to enforce their own rules and train their employees that there are passengers with disabilities that aren’t in wheelchairs or blind. Diseases of the brain, like Panic disorder are not visible. We are not faking, we are not scamming and this is not a joke.
    I will end with this…close your eyes and imagine yourself tied down on a railroad track and you can’t move. In the distance you hear the faint sound of a train. You struggle to get up but you can’t. The train is getting closer and louder and you CAN’T MOVE! You are crying and yelling and can’t breath. Your chest is tight, you’re sweating and the f**ing train whistle is getting louder.
    That’s a quick idea of what a panic attack feels like. My ESA, medication and lot’s of praying on take off and landing enables me to tolerate it. Hearing my grandchildren scream, “Grammie we missed you”. That’s the only reason I put myself through the pain. It wouldn’t happen without my little Sophie!

  • Andrea Harris

    Great work. Reading your article reminded me of the time when i had this question troubling me. I was going through a very tough time and then came my terrier. He is undoubtedly the best thing in my life. I got him an ESA letter online from MyESADoctor and have since traveled on the flight with him. Most importantly i love life now.

  • Andrea Harris

    It has been scientifically proven that the companionship which a pet offers is an incredible way to reduce many forms of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, PTSD, and many more. Therefore, if you are going through any such state, having an ESA can be beneficial. To be able to be with your pet, you can apply for an ESA letter from authentic sites. My ESA Doctor is one such portal which is providing valid ESA recommendations.

    • Julie Malcomb

      If you have an ESA, that’s fine. Love it at home. If you wish to go out in public, then leave the animal at home. Life isn’t always comfortable, learn to cope or stay home.

      Unless the animal is a service animal, it is selfish & inconsiderate of you to expect everyone else to accommodate your wishes.

      Service Animals are a necessity. ESA are strictly feel good. Why should other people be inconvenienced by so called ESAs in public?

      • Chaz Stevens


        My name is Chaz Stevens and I am the founder of ESAD International. We oversee amental health clinical network offering ESA products and services. Our therapists are specially trained in human-animal counseling.

        While I am not a therapist, I have first-hand experience dealing with indivduals who are seeking our help merely to feel good. The stories we hear on a daily basis are straight from the worst horror movie ever imagined in Hollywood.

        ESAs are not allowed into the public space, they have zero rights of access (like a service animal).

        In health.

        Chaz Stevens, Founder

  • Andrea Harris

    ESAs are not simple pets or animals but much more than that. They have a complicated task to perform. They are required to do what medicines fail to do. A patient who is under continuous stress or a prolonged depression avoids the company of friends and prefers loneliness. An ESA, in its own way, enables the patient to learn why its company is important. Under such difficult situations, ESAs provide solace and help patients to recover. Their role is considered medically beneficial and prominent mental health specialists like My ESA Doctor, recommend ESAs. They also provide an ESA letter which is useful while renting an accommodation or boarding a plane.

  • Adela

    THANK YOU for bringing up a very sensitive issue which I hope will be resolved in favor of our nonhuman animals!

    I feel this is yet ANOTHER animal abuse for many reasons. Unless someone is incapacitated to do their own social and other activities, those people who want an animal to take care of their personal problems are just lazy things who have no compassion for animals. Most of them consider so called Emotional Support Animals a commodity to give them whatever they expect from the poor soul. But if they adopted some animals to give them a forever home, it would be indeed a noble act!

    I used to have a neighbor with a cat and when I saw what she did I was petrified!!! When the poor little thing put his little precious head rubbing against her feet (so much in need of love was this cat), she kicked him away from her. I felt the kick in my heart and told her “please be kind, he’s so loving, anyone would give anything to have a loving animal show it so warmly!” and she said with annoyed voice “Let him find his own love!” I broke up with this person! :-(

    Those people should take up a course, play or learn the piano or guitar, go to a gym for aerobics and swimming, sing at Karaokes, invite someone for lunch at her/his home or a thousand other things! In other words, act as a mature, intelligent individual without tormenting nonhuman animals to fill their own selfish needs!

    I rest my case . . . .

    • Barbara Sweet

      A person like your former friend should never have gotten an animal! Why the hell did she? Did you ever ask her? I’ve never known or heard of a person, but I know there are many, many people who abuse their animals, horribly and it not only enrages me, but it breaks my heart! If it were me and I had a friend that did that to this precious animal, I would have reported her to PETA. I would have made an attempt to have her cat taken away from her and given to a loving home. A home with people that not only respect their animals, but who love them dearly and treat them with kindness and love. But then some people are cruel and extremely abusive to their children. This is just terrible and upsets me so!!!

      I’m not sure I understand what you mean when you say that people who feel they need or have or want an ESA expect these innocent, beautiful souls, (I’m talking about the animal) “to take care of their emotional problems,” I think that people should be tested psychologically, as they should be before bringing children into the world) to make sure that they are emotionally stable, loving and compassionate being who will not beat their children, abuse them verbally and totally neglect them. The same think for a person getting an ESA. They should be tested psychologically, for the same reasons. I have read about people who have horses, who beat them mercilessly to get them to do what THEY WANT them to do! Their is no love there, A person like that should be beaten and abused the same way (Now my own rage at these people is irrationally expressing itself).

      I agree with you that people should take care of themselves and their own problems and not expect an animal to take care of them. So, yes, take up a hobby; find a good, kind and compassionate therapist to work with, meditate to bring peace into your own life, make friends and enjoy music, dancing, concerts, whatever, the movies, you name it there are dozens of things that one can do for themselves, but the thought, the idea of your friend abusing such a loving, innocent, soul makes me both feel rage and great pain and sadness for the animal.

      But you can’t generalize, i.e., this doesn’t mean that every person is the same, that most people who need an ESA will abuse them or expect them to take care of their personal problems.


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