Dogs and cats may be the two most popular types of emotional support animals, but they are far from the only types. Almost any animal can be authorized as an emotional support animal, as long as it meets the primary qualification of providing the emotional support a person with a mental or emotional disability needs to perform certain tasks for him or herself that he or she would otherwise be incapable of completing on his or her own without that support. That means if you have a domesticated squirrel that helps you reduce some of the symptoms of your mental or emotional disability, you can have that squirrel be your emotional support squirrel. That said, an emotional support squirrel might not possess all the right qualities in full measure that make a great ESA.
Types of Emotional Support Animals (Besides Dogs and Cats)
Many animal species make excellent emotional support animals. In general, you want an animal that is:
Thus, some animals might not make such great emotional support animals. For example, as lovely as they are to look at, an emotional support peacock is not likely to be either obedient, loyal, well-behaved or non-aggressive, and therefore you would probably not want an emotional support peacock. (Other species of emotional support birds, however, could be perfectly suitable, as you’ll see below.) Here, then, are some emotional support animals (besides dogs and cats, of course) that you might just want for your own
Emotional Support Pig
There’s a reason many farm families take in pigs as pets. Despite their reputation for being messy, they’re actually quite clean animals. Their affinity for mud has to do with their scarcity of sweat glands for remaining cool in hot temperature, not some proclivity for dirt. Pigs are also quite intelligent and can be trained to obey commands and behave calmly and quietly in various situations. They are likewise friendly, loving and engaging, liking to socialize and cuddle often. Less known about pigs is that they are loyal too as well as silly and free-spirited, both of which help to keep spirits lifted.
Emotional Support Chicken
While we’re on the farm theme, it’s not unheard of for a person to have an emotional support chicken. Chickens are quite sociable and affectionate. They can also be quite motherly, sensitive to the emotions of those they care about and eager to soothe upset and discomfort. They are excellent cuddlers and well-behaved in confined quarters for long periods of time. They are also easy to care for and give you eggs to boot.
Emotional Support Horse or Miniature Horse
Horses are extremely family-oriented creatures that easily incorporate human family into their conception of their own family. They bond quickly, easily and enduringly with humans and are loyal, dependable and playful companions. Horses are also highly intelligent and trainable, as evidenced by their use on many a police force. For people suffering from trauma or anxiety and panic-related disabilities, horses provide a strong, sturdy, stalwart companion in whose presence it can be easier to feel protected and safe. In spite of their large size, horses are relatively easy to care for, if requiring a bit more space and resources than most other pets and ESAs. You can also minimize some of the drawbacks of a horse’s size to being a practical emotional support animal for travel and housing by opting for a miniature horse instead.
Emotional Support Parrot
According to scientists, the brains of parrots develop more like human children’s brains than other birds’ brains. That means parrots can be seen as more like people than they are like other birds, and to spend just a short bit of time with a parrot is to know this. They are intelligent, playful and loving to no end. Their capacity to speak is fun and engaging, but it’s also the least of what makes them such great emotional support animals and general companions. Parrots bond quickly and strongly with the person or people they live with. They are endlessly affectionate and playful as well as loyal and eager to please. They are easier to train than most other animals and easy to transport in a cage or harness.
Emotional Support Rabbit
If you’re looking for a quiet ESA, rabbits are among the most quiet you can get. This makes them particularly suitable emotional support animals for people suffering from PTSD or who struggle with loud sounds and unexpected noises. Rabbits are soft and cuddly, which makes them appropriate ESAs for people who need that feeling of intimacy and closeness to feel safe venturing out into the world. Rabbits are also tremendously gentle, non-aggressive creatures, which not only suits those facing fears, phobias and traumatic responses to stimuli but also suits air travel and housing situations very well. Rabbits are compact and unobtrusive, unlikely to cause any disturbance in an airport, on a plane or in shared housing.
Register Other Types of Emotional Support Animals Besides Cats and Dogs
Registering emotional support animals is the same no matter the type of animal. To register your “non-traditional” ESA, then, you follow the same steps as you would to register an emotional support dog or cat. That is:
Consult via video-conference with the doctor who contacts you to follow-up on your application.
Receive your ESA credentials and tools and entry in the Certifymypet registry of valid ESA owners and their ESAs.
You do not need to identify your ESA by name, or even species, in order to get your ESA letter. You will need to provide that information, however, in order to register your ESA. Since ESA registration is entirely optional, whether or not you do so is entirely up to you. If you provide your ESA’s name, however, Certifymypet can more effectively provide you with ESA verification if you’re ever in the midst of traveling or trying to rent a home and the airline or housing personnel wants you to answer questions you don’t know the answers to or prove your claims of authority to have an ESA.
Since airline and housing personnel are much more accustomed to seeing emotional support dogs and cats and the other types of ESAs, this ESA verification service can be particularly beneficial for those with more non-traditional ESAs.
By providing your ESA’s species and name, Certifymypet can also provide you with official certificates and ID tags for your ESA’s collar and travel gear.
ESA registration with Certifymypet also gives you access to a complete guide to traveling and obtaining housing with your ESA, including your rights as an approved ESA owner. Perhaps most significantly for owners of “non-traditional” ESA’s other than dogs or cats, this guide also provides exact airline and housing policies about ESAs, highlighting any extra requirements or restrictions a particular airline or type of residential housing might have.
In some cases, an airline might prohibit certain types of animals, like spiders or snakes, from being brought on its planes, even if it does have ESA status.
Likewise, certain housing facilities may deny certain types of animals residence. It’s important to know before you try to fly or take residence in a particular housing complex whether your species or breed of emotional support animal is even allowed to fly on that carrier or take residence in that facility. The last thing you want is to show up on the day of travel or a housing interview with all the proper paperwork for your ESA and still be turned away because the airline or housing facility has a policy prohibiting that species or breed. Certifymypet keeps this information current with any changes in law or policy, so you’re always prepared before you head to the airport or housing interview.