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The difference between service dogs and emotional support dogs.

There is a significant difference between service dogs and emotional support dogs, they are NOT one and the same. An ESD provides comfort and companionship to their owner just by virtue of being there. They give a person a reason to get up and face their day. Having a dog to care for gives people a purpose and enjoyment. The dogs can help them deal with stress and keep them calm. All of this is done without "doing " anything, just being there to cuddle with and talk to can be a wonderful help to people. While all of this is valuable to the individual, they are not in the same class as a service dog. Per ADA regulations, ESD are NOT allowed everywhere a service dog is. The protections offered by the ADA consist of housing and plane travel. ESD must provide a landlord or HOA with a letter from a medical professional stating the person needs an ESD. They are then allowed in complexes that ordinarily don't allow dogs, and can fly in the cabin with the owner. The service dog, particularly a psychiatric one, also deals with emotional issues, but they are trained to perform a task in certain situations. For some people with PTSD the dog is trained to walk around the owner in a small circle in order to maintain space between the owner and other people, they can sit directly behind the owner so no one can get too close from behind, they are taught to jump up on or lay on a person during a panic attack to provide deep pressure therapy. They can be taught to interrupt OCD/repetitive behavior, or self harming. They are trained to fetch a bottle of anti anxiety meds, or literally pull the owner out of a building during a panic attack. So while similar, they are NOT the same. The difference comes down to how much help the owner needs. While some people benefit from just having their dog near them, others need the dog to actively help them in certain situations. Please respect the more severely affected individuals, don't make your ESD out to be a service dog.

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