Do you know that other than cats and dogs rodents also make great ESAs? Yeah you heard it! People can keep squirrels and other rodents as their emotional support animals.
One statistic states that 6% of the entire world population has become victims of depression. America alone carries almost 20% of the population that suffers from depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.
Doctors have come up with numerous ways to deal with and treat mental disabilities. A very effective way to deal with such disabilities is to get the support of animals. These animals are known as emotional support animals.
What is an Emotional Support Animal?
An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is a special animal that provides companionship to people who are emotionally and mentally disturbed or disabled. Unlike service animals, these animals are not specifically trained to do any task but they just need to be disciplined and properly housebroken. They provide support through their presence and companionship.
Depression, stress and anxiety are becoming widespread since more and more people are suffering from it. Other than the traditional treatment, people are moving towards a more unconventional mode of treatment i.e. getting animals for emotional and mental support.
Emotional support animals are known for helping people with several kinds of mental and emotional disabilities. Witnessing this, doctors and therapists are also acknowledging the benefits and role of these animals in managing these symptoms and bettering them.
Who can be Your ESA - List of Emotional Support Animals
Any animal can be your emotional support, but not every animal enjoys all the rights given to emotional support animals.
Here are the ‘acceptable’ types of animals that can be your emotional support animals:
- Miniature Horses
Can a Squirrel be an Emotional Support?
Like other animals, you can also have a squirrel as an emotional support animal. Squirrels are little furry animals that are playful, lively and a great ESA that can show you how to stay happy and cheerful in all situations.
Are Emotional Support Squirrels Really Helpful?
Just like other ESAs, squirrels can provide many mental as well as physical health benefits.
- Loneliness – Squirrels are very friendly creatures. Though it may not sit on your lap like a cat or a dog, they will eat out of your palm and their chirpy nature will cheer you up.
- Help Keep your Garden or Backyard Clean – Squirrels are omnivores but they also munch on small insects and worms that could spoil your plants and flowers. Having these in your backyard will help with the pest control.
- Physical Health – Squirrels love running around and to get them, if you could, you will need to run after them. This will be beneficial for your overall physical health.
Any animal can be your emotional support but the only problem is that not every animal can be controlled. It is very important to have control over your ESA. Especially when you are in a public place or even at a house, your ESA should know how to behave.
Having a squirrel can have some drawbacks as well.
- Squirrels are a threat to you and your neighbors. These buddies cannot be blindly trusted. They are unpredictable and can be harmful if not in the right mood.
- Squirrels are rodents. They cannot behave and are not disciplined.
- You cannot take them along with you anywhere like you do with an emotional support dog and cat.
Squirrels are animals that cannot survive in confined and closed places. Unlike cats and dogs, who can be restricted to houses, squirrels cannot be kept in the house.
Emotional Support Squirrels are a No-Go on Flights
American with Disabilities Act protects the rights of many emotional support animals. The federal law states that no mentally and emotionally disabled person should be discriminated against and has all the rights; residence, travel, and work.
People who own ESAs enjoy several rights given by the law. According to the Americans Disabilities Act, people with disabilities can live like other normal people. They have a right to have an ESA for their emotional and mental support and can live and travel with them for free.
The Air Carrier Access Act protects the rights of emotional support animal owners to air traveling with their emotional support animal without paying any extra charges.. But the law only allows a few pets to fly with you. Conditions applied, only dogs, cats, and some other animals are allowed.
Squirrels and other animals that are a threat to other passengers are not allowed on the plane.
On 10th October 2018, a woman from Orlando took a flight to Cleveland and carried her emotional support animal with her. The woman brought a squirrel on board and the flight attendants could not regret less.
The woman took a Frontier Airlines flight 1621 from Orlando to Cleveland and attempted to fly with her squirrel.
The Frontier flights when asked the women to get off, who took a squirrel on the plane, resisted. According to the airlines, the woman did mention bringing her emotional support animal but she did not specify what animal it is.
The flight was disturbed because the woman refused to leave the plane and hand over her emotional support squirrel to the authorities. On her refusal, police were called and the woman was eventually escorted out of the airport.
The incident created a hype amongst all media platforms and a video on twitter got viral with the post that said: “I just want everyone to know that all passengers had to deplane my flight to Cleveland because a woman brought a squirrel on the plane”
Bringing an emotional support animal with you to places is your right but this right comes with some responsibilities and conditions. The animal MUST be safe to have around and not some flying squirrel that may cause havoc.
If acted according to law, there are a lot of perks and privileges for you and your ESA. Well behaved animals like cats, dogs, miniature horses, rabbits, and hamsters are allowed to fly with you but rodents including squirrels and ‘emotional support peacocks’ are a big NO.
Choose your animal sensibility and get an ESA letter to travel and live with it freely.