For some, an emotional support animal may be a creature that only gives comfort to a person. Our emotional support dog is an important member of our family. He is a friend, confidant, companion and best friend. He is caring. His spirit reduces stress and anxiety. Our dog calms and aids social interaction.
Our family had an unhappy situation last month. Our furry friend needed to be away from us for over a week. It made us realize that without him, many struggles were harder, and regression kicked in. My daughter has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and with the dog out of the house, she lost a major support system. It was much more difficult for her to cope with daily life.
My child with autism started wandering off again. He had more sensory overload. It affected our whole family. When the dog returned, there were tears of joy. We knew everything would calm down again.
This life experience made me realize that an emotional support dog may be something everyone needs. I believe emotional support dogs could make a big impact in many homes, communities and even workplaces. Dogs are blind to a disability, color, religion and politics.
They create the perfect safe place between their work and the people they serve. They are like a counselor or therapist that never leaves your side. They are there when you most need support, uplifting you and getting you through tough times.
Emotional support animals give support after painful events. Many emotions get in the way of everyday life. The calming presence of animals can help people regulate their own emotions so they can process a difficult event.
Our dog has created a bond with our son that helps him in many ways, including calming his sensory overload, helping him ease into transitions, and improving his communication. Our son has learned to be more caring to his furry pal. He also has learned some valuable life skills like feeding, walking, and grooming our dog.
I strongly encourage you to explore an emotional support dog or even a service dog.
To learn more, the ADA National Network offers guidance around the difference between a service dog and an emotional support animal. A person with a disability has more rights under the ADA with a trained service dog compared to an emotional support animal. The emotional support animal may not be allowed to go to some places that a trained service dog can.
Read more about support dogs on our blog.
As the parent of a child with mild Cerebral Palsy, I learned that the word “hurry” doesn’t apply to my son, Jason. With motor planning difficulties, hurrying just wasn’t something he could do. I learned to adapt and accommodate our schedule to allow extra time. However, when I found myself in the situation of caring for elderly parents & parents-in-law, and our son, I struggled to find the patience I once had with Jason.
Categories: Family Support