People love pets of all kinds and with good reason. Animals offer emotional support, affection and even physical help for the disabled. This sort of human-animal lovefest goes back centuries. Today, however, animals have taken on new responsibilities from service animals, like seeing-eye dogs to emotional support animals (ESAs), which help people deal with a variety of personal issues. In fact, the number of emotional support animals has literally exploded over the last 10 to 15 years as people have turned to dogs, cats, pigs, goats, birds and other animals for support.
The National Service Animal Registry, in fact, reports that the number of service and emotional support animals has risen from 2,400 in 2012 to well over 200,000 today. This surge has also brought about increased calls for ESA regulations and controls. There is little doubt these animals provide great support for those in need, but it is important for individuals to understand what constitutes an ESA and where these animals are allowed. WellWell recommends those who need more information visit The ESA Registration of America to learn more. In the meantime, WellWell has put together a list of possible ESAs for those in need.
Okay, llamas and alpacas may not seem like the ideal ESA, but they have a lot to offer. If raised around people, they are generally gentle, friendly and empathetic. Their cozy soft coat is an added plus. Obviously, these are not apartment or house pets. They need outdoor space. But there are a growing number of llama therapy farms now in place that can offer visitors an emotional boost.
Polly can do more than munch a cracker. Parrots can also make excellent ESAs thanks to their ability to mimic human speech and a seeming tendency for empathy. They reportedly are also able to sense rising tension and anger in their human companions and can proactively help to lessen their anxiety by repeating phrases that have a calming effect.
These small, cuddle, quiet animals pack a big therapeutic punch for those in need. Better still, they are easy to transport, don’t make noise and may be perfect for those individuals who aren’t fond of dogs or cats.
Cats can be a great emotional support option. For one thing, they require less attention than dogs, but they are still quirky, which can add an amusing wrinkle for those looking for an ESA.
Goats have always been known for keeping your grass tidy. But they are increasingly popular as ESAs. In fact, they became so common that some airlines sought to prevent them from accompanying their human companions on flights.
No, we weren’t going to overlook dogs. They are not only man’s best friend, but dogs are also probably the most popular ESA. Face it, They are affectionate, funny, hard-working and can be silly too. Not surprisingly, the use of dogs as emotional support animals has grown dramatically in recent years with the rise in anxiety and depression. Psychologists are also increasingly prescribing emotional support dogs as a way to treat those suffering from emotional trauma.
Do you have a favorite ESA? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WellWell editors independently identify services and products of interest. If readers purchase anything through the associated links, WellWell may earn a commission, which goes to support our work. Learn More.