A Service Dog must be able to perform an important life-task for its handler that the person has great difficulty performing (these physical/psychiatric impairments are usually referred to as disabilities). Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to:
- Assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks.
- Alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work.
- Pulling a wheelchair.
- Assisting an individual during a seizure.
- Alerting individuals to the presence of allergens.
- Retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone
- Providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities.
- Helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.
An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) requires NO training and can be any normal domestic pet (dog, cat, rabbit, bird, lizard, fish, etc.). The presence of the ESA is what minimizes the negative effects of a person's emotional or mental impairment.
To qualify for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), you'll need a properly written letter from a licensed therapist or medical doctor that prescribes an ESA due to an emotional or psychological disability found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).