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  • Writer's pictureVariant Magazine

How Getting My Emotional Support Animal Changed My Life

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

By Olivia Addis, Blogger

One of the hardest things I had to do when I left for college was say goodbye to my family and my family dog. That pup was always there for me when I needed him, and I really missed having the furry presence in my life while I was living in the dorms the first two years. I never really even considered getting another pet because they are expensive and most rental companies don’t allow pets.

When I moved into an apartment the summer before my freshman year, I grew very lonely without having many of my friends or family around. That’s when the thought of having an emotional support animal (ESA) came to mind. However, my impulsive mentality made me do things a bit backward.

When registering for an ESA, the proper procedure is to talk to your family doctor and/or registered doctor that knows and trusts you. I recommend actually taking the matter seriously on wanting an ESA—giving a bullshit excuse won’t fly with most doctors. You simply just talk to your doctor about what has been going on and how you’ve been feeling recently. Once you finish that session and express genuine concern, most doctors will grant you a letter proving the medical right to own a pet under ESA laws.

However, the single most important thing to do is talk to your landlord about how you’re planning on getting an ESA and give them the letter from your doctor. After that, you can get your ESA of your choice.

I did that all backward and just hoped that my landlords wouldn’t find out about my cat. That ultimately backfired, and they found out. Once I gave them my paperwork, everything worked out, but I feel lucky for how understanding my landlord was. Not all landlords may be as understanding and lenient, so I highly recommended following the proper guidelines provided by the ESA.

Now that I have my cat, I’m so ecstatic that I went through with it. My cat, Peaches, is truly my emotional support animal. He is the craziest little thing, but I wouldn’t change that for the world. The best advice I can give to someone thinking about getting an ESA is to do research and actually commit to it. If you don’t think you can’t take care of a pet in the long run, don’t go with it because that’s not fair to you or the pet.

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