Therapy Dogs, Service Dogs, Emotional Support Dogs
There has been a lot of news lately about the use and misuse of Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals (ESAs). The following may be a bit word-y, but is included on our website in response to a great many inquiries we receive.
Current laws are under review and indeed changing. The below will offer a very brief overview of what Certified Therapy Dog, Inc. is doing in these areas. It is definitely not intended nor to be taken as legal guidance of any kind.
Therapy dogs blossom from the hearts of caring volunteers such as yourself who wish to bring smiles and joy into the lives of others. The rewards we get from this are invaluable…but they do NOT come with any privileges to bring our dogs where pets are generally not welcome. But that’s okay! Right?!
Service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks for an owner with physical and/or diagnosable psychological or emotional challenges. Training is highly specialized for such things as vision and hearing impairment, diabetes and seizure detection, mobility and balance impairment, Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD), etc. By law (under the Americans With Disabilities Act), Service Dogs may not be restricted from entering (or be charged to enter) virtually any place an unaccompanied human may go. HOWEVER, they must be well behaved and may be ejected otherwise. While Certified Therapy Dog, Inc. does not do the type of highly specialized training for the above noted needs, we do provide the behavioral training required for a well-behaved Service Dog, regardless of the owner’s desire to perform volunteer therapy dog work. Since absolutely no documentation is required to prove the need and prior training for a service dog, the AKC Good Citizen training certification from Certified Therapy Dog, Inc. goes a long way in appeasing skeptical store owners and the like to welcome a Service Dog.
Emotional Support Animals (ESA Dogs)
Emotional Support Dogs are useful to help calm people in anxiety producing situations. THUS FAR, these dogs have NOT required any specialized training…although THEY MUST BE WELL BEHAVED. The only requirement needed to validate an ESA is that the accompanying OWNER must have a letter from a licensed medical professional stating their recommendation that they may benefit from the accompaniment of the animal. While some airlines, many stores, housing authorities, etc. have accepted these claims, it is important to know that these laws have and continue to change every day. Here, too, Certified Therapy Dog, Inc. will only assist in the behavioral aspects of training. We do not get involved in any way in verifying the specific emotional requirements of the owner.
OF GREAT IMPORTANCE: Regardless of what you may read or hear elsewhere, there is absolutely no such thing as a legally or legitimately registered, certified, etc. emotional support animal. These are all simply scams to get your money and will bring you nothing but a useless patch, a piece of paper or a fake ID card. Don’t waste your money!