The ESA Request
The following story is a culmination of the various requests I’ve had over the years, not one specific person, or animal, and the details are changed to protect the identity of the clients.
… He matches the soft breaths of the animal and slows down his …
He comes to me, obviously nervous. A referral from his trauma-informed therapist. His voice is shaking, and he sweats. He clutches a letter he’s prepared. I try to make him as comfortable as I can, but this poor young man looks terrified. I ask why he’s here, and he begins to tell me of the most horrific trauma he endured. He sweats more, and he can barely look me in the eye, afraid to cry. He can hardly get the words out, “I don’t want medications” he says almost apologetically, “I am doing so good with therapy, I can get through this, but the panic attacks happen almost every day.” He opens the letter, his hands trembling as he reads how having his cat has saved his life. And it is no exaggeration.
He says that when he is reminded of the trauma, the re-living starts to happen, and then the subsequent panic comes on. His heart is racing, he cannot think, feels like he’s not in his body, and that he will faint. There are times he even thinks, “I can’t live like this anymore.” So, he lays down, he practices ‘grounding’- feeling the floor beneath him, and his sweet kitty comes and lays on his stomach. He matches the soft breaths of the animal and slows down his. He feels the light weight of kitty on his stomach, which also stops it from spinning. He comes back to the room and spends a moment in cuddles and is then able to continue his day. His cat keeps him working, keeps him sleeping, and helps with grounding.
When doing a letter for an emotional support animal (ESA), we make sure they are for people with a mental health diagnosis. We ensure the owner understands they are responsible for picking a safe animal. We make assess that the person knows and can clean, train, and care for their ESA, and most importantly, keep the animal safe around others.
Animals are an essential part of many people’s mental health recovery.
We include all paperwork you should need with your visit. If your therapist is not comfortable filling out ESA paperwork, or you need additional supporting documentation, we can get that for you. Paperwork is filled out and sent within 24 hours of your visit.
Author Allison Sikorsky