I will preface this by saying that everyone, be it someone who needs an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) or Service Dog (SD) has different needs. This is not a catch-all post for every person who struggles with a physical or mental disability and relies on support systems such as those listed above.
I don’t need my dog with me on every trip I take, and when I do, sometimes I need him for different things on different days or different trips. International trips can get tricky. Some trips just can’t accommodate the situation. However, he makes my experiences and quality of life so much more enjoyable than without.
Without My ESA
I recently took a girls’ trip to Florida with some family and some not family. In truth, I wasn’t looking forward to it from the start. I’m not a beach person. As it drew nearer I was having anxiety about the people I didn’t know who would be there.
But it was free and I figured why not.
I wish I hadn’t gone, in full transparency. I had asked in advance if I could bring my ESA, as a courtesy. I wasn’t the one handling rentals, but legally, I was well within my rights to bring him. When I was told no, I wasn’t happy, but, free trip.
My depression has been particularly awful these past few weeks, and sitting here, typing upstairs while everyone else has fun downstairs, I regret ever saying yes to coming. I don’t want to go out and have dinner with people I generally enjoy because right now everything sounds like hell. I don’t want to go down and socialize because what’s the point?
That’s depression speak, and honestly, no one can hear it. No one has even checked on me despite the fact that I’m in near tears.
With My ESA
If I had Ghost with me right now, he’d be noticing the tears if they were even forming. I’d very likely be downstairs because he helps me be social. He helps me want to get up and out. My mood isn’t as dour with him because he’s a distraction. I’d be up and out taking pictures or bragging about how well behaved he is.
He is not my cure for depression, but he sure as heck makes navigating day-to-day so much easier. I don’t really have words for how much he improves my quality of life because there aren’t any or maybe it’s just that there aren’t many. It’s simple. If he were here right now, I’d be socializing. I’d be in lighter spirits. I’d be enjoying myself
I don’t travel with him because I want to take my dog everywhere I go. I travel with him because I legitimately need him in a mental capacity.
To those of you who fake ESAs, who sign up online for a quick letter so you can travel with your pet, ask yourself where you’d be in your hotel room or airBnB without your pet? And being sad that they aren’t with you does not count. Please stop ruining this for those of us who actually need the support. It’s people like you who are the reason uninformed renters are telling people they can’t bring ESAs that they actually really, desperately need.
Strictly speaking in regard to this post, my dog isn’t a pet. He’s my prescription. You wouldn’t deny me the right to take Klonopin or the myriad of other medications I’m on because I can’t function without them. The day people start seeing him the same way people see prescriptions, maybe I’ll be able to head to the beach with a dog and a smile.