As a nurse, I know the importance of service dogs for those who have a disability.
As a dog lover, I know the power of a dog to warm your heart and to provide you with unconditional love.
The healing power of "Pet Therapy" in hospitals, nursing homes and other health settings is well documented.
What I was totally unaware of was the existence of something called an "Emotional Support Animal". Huh????
I learn valuable tips from my patients everyday. This one I learned from Elaine, who is also a great nurse practitioner. She also happens to be one of the most gracious, wise, beautiful and truly kind people I have ever met. She is smart as a whip and always even-keeled.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because she is the one who told me about "Emotional Support Animals"!!! Not some nut. Not some Kim Kardashian or Elle Woods from "Legally Blonde" type.
Elaine (smart as a whip and even-keeled girl) is not only beloved by her family, her friends, her ovarian cancer support group. Elaine is beloved by a pint sized whippet named Hannah.
Don't let looks deceive you. While Hannah may look tiny enough to fit into a large Zip-Lock sandwich bag, Hannah is the boss of the family. Hannah is a 10 inch tall cross between Toto from The Wizard of Oz and Tony Soprano. She rules the roost, and Elaine and her husband Stan know it!!
She also brings great joy into Elaine's life and provides Elaine and her family with hours of entertainment and laughs, snuggles and smooches.
For quite awhile Elaine had to fly to the NIH for treatment. This involved her flying to Bethesda, MD several times a month. She would bring Hannah for company, to help keep her relaxed while flying, and to have a piece of home with her when she was away from home. Flying these days is stressful. Now add a cancer diagnosis, medical procedures and frequent trips away from home into the mix. This is even more stressful. Elaine found great comfort and relaxation having her little dog with her.
Even though Hannah travels in a small carry on bag, the airline would charge extra each time she flew. Elaine found out that if Hannah was considered an "Emotional Support Animal" then she would not have to pay for her to fly each time. Also, this "title" allows Hannah to go places with Elaine where she otherwise wouldn't be allowed to go (restaurants, hotels etc).
Elaine asked her doctor to write her a note and then she applied for Hannah to be given the title of "Emotional Support Animal" (to go with her other title of PRINCESS!!!) : ) . Hannah was then able to join Elaine while traveling and this eliminated a lot of stress on Elaine's part.
The moral of the story? You don't have to be some crackpot Kardashian who can't go out to lunch without her dog to need an "Emotional Support Animal" (see nauseating Kardashian article below). If you are a cancer survivor whose stress is ameliorated by your pet and you travel frequently, you might want to ask your doctor to write you a note so you can get the proper papers for your pet. If it allows your dog access into hotels/hospitals and saves you stress and aggravation as well as some money while flying, then this is a very good thing.
Thanks for the tip and ROCK ON BEAUTIFUL ELAINE!!!
And, "way to go" to our favorite little Emotional Support Animal....HANNAH!!!
This from Wikepedia;
Emotional support animal
“An emotional support animal (ESA) is a US legal term for a pet which provides therapeutic benefit to its owner through companionship and affection. Emotional support animals are not specially trained to ameliorate disability as psychiatric service dogs are. They require only as much training as an ordinary pet requires in order to live peacefully among humans without being a nuisance or a danger to others.
In the U.S., two federal laws grant special rights to some owners of emotional support animals.
Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (42 USC 3601, et seq.) establishes a procedure for modifying "no pets" policies in most types of housing to permit a person with a disability to keep an animal for emotional support. In housing that allows pets but charges supplemental rent or deposits for them, these fees must be waived. The ESA's owner can be charged for actual damage done by the animal, but they may not require the applicant to pay a fee or a security deposit in order to keep the animal.
Air Carrier Access Act
The Air Carrier Access Act establishes a procedure for modifying pet policies on aircraft to permit a person with a disability to travel with a prescribed emotional support animal so long as they have appropriate documentation and the animal is not a danger to others and does not interfere with others (through unwanted attention, barking, inappropriate toileting, etc.)."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_support_animal
Hollywood has to ruin things!!!
Kristin Chenoweth has one.
The flip side of things. Freakin Kardashians!!