Getting Emotional Support Animals in Illinois
Victoria & CharlesSan Diego, CA
Victoria discusses how having an ESA letter has changed her life
BeyonceNew York, NY
Beyonce addresses the ease of the ESA process at TheDOGtor.org
How It Works
Complete Online ExamAll individuals seeking an Emotional Support Animal prescription must complete an online medical examination consisting of 74 questions. It takes anywhere from 15 – 20 minutes to complete so please make sure that you are ready to fill it out and move forward, since you won't be able to save your exam and come back to it later. You can begin the exam by clicking on the “online medical exam”tab located in the main navigation menu or by clicking the “get started now” tab below.
Make PaymentPotential patients should keep in mind that if the evaluating medical doctor does not feel comfortable writing you a prescription for an emotional support animal, then you will receive a same-day refund. Refunds are granted only to those who are not approved by the evaluating physician. After completing your online exam you will be required to make a payment and choose a treatment plan that best applies to you. If you need an ESA letter for housing, please choose the housing plan. The entry level housing plan is called the “care plan” and is 159.00. If you need a letter only for travel, then please choose the travel plan for 149.00. If you need documentation for both, you will need to select the Compassion Plan for 199.00, which will cover both travel and housing. Regardless, you must submit payment at that time or your exam will not be processed.
The DOGtor Reviews Your ExamThe Dogtor reviews your exam & you'll receive a notification within 48 hours if approved or not. Approval is typically the same day on a normal work week. In the event that the Dogtor needs to do a further evaluation he may want to speak to you over Skype. However, it's very rare.
You've Been Approved!All individuals who have submitted an online exam will hear back from the evaluating physician within 24-48 hours. The doctor will email you from this or her personal email address to the email address that you have on file, so please make sure to check spam folders and wait patiently for the correspondence from the M.D. A doctor may ask you more questions about your exam so please be prepared to provide further details if they want more info in order for them to make an informed decision. Usually these questions are about asking for more clarity or that you have been vague in answering a specific question. As stated in Step 3, if the doctor does not approve you, you will receive a same-day refund. However, in the event that you are approved, you will receive your emailed PDF copy of the prescription letter typically on the same day. You will also receive a courtesy hard copy that will be mailed to the address that you have on file when taking the online exam. The hard copy take a few business days to arrive, depending on where you are located in the USA.
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If you’re looking for assistance in dealing with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, postpartum, or panic attacks, then you will find there are numerous treatment and support options available for you. The most important thing to do is to find the right option for you. One of the best support options available is emotional support animals. There are many benefits that come with having an emotional support animal that are proven to be of assistance to patients who suffer from mental health disorders.
If you are planning to travel in the near future and wish to bring your animal with you, then there are a few steps you must take in order to make your trip hassle and stress-free. Traveling with an emotional support animal can be really important to patients due to the fact that they are able to alleviate the symptoms that come before sudden attacks. Before traveling, you must make sure that you send the airline a copy of your doctor’s certificate at least 48 hours before departure. This is an important step that prepares the airline for your arrival and allows them to make any necessary arrangements. They will also be able to create a seating plan for you and your animal prior to your departure. You and your emotional support animal will also be able to board the plane before other passengers so that you and your animal can have a comfortable and stress-free boarding process.
Another benefit of having an emotional support animal is being able to keep them with you at all times, including wherever you may be living. If you currently reside in an animal-free living community or apartment, you will need to provide your landlord with the certificate provided by your doctor. Landlords are not allowed to refuse entry of any emotional support animals as well as charge you any additional housing fee.
You can also bring along your emotional support animal with you into public places such as grocery stores or hospitals. All you have to do is make sure your animal wears a certified vest with patches so as that it will be recognized as an emotional support animal. Some people like to keep their ESA letters on them as well.
Finding the right support system can be stressful, which is why it is highly encouraged to confer with your doctor or psychiatrist when researching the right option for you. Emotional support animals can provide you with incredible health benefits that can make your everyday tasks easy and stress-free. Talk to your doctor to find out more information about emotional support animal providers.
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What is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?
An Emotional Support Animal, or better known as an ESA, is any type of pet or animal that its owner is able to obtain emotional and/ or mental support and comfort from to help with his or her emotional and/ or mental illness. ESAs are not required to have any special training or proof of any medical records as service dogs must have. ESAs are only needed to supply its owner with the emotional and mental comfort they need that they cannot get from traditional medication.
What is The Fair Housing Amendment Act?
According the the Fair Housing Amendment Act, a landlord is not allowed to discriminate against any tenant or possible tenant who has an ESA letter on the official letterhead of a the prescribing professional. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, under both the Fair Housing Act and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974, landlords and property managers must provide a reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities, including those who suffer from an emotional and/ or mental illness.
Rental housing that does not ordinarily permit animals to live in housing, must make an acception for those who have been diagnosed with an emotional/ and or mental illness and have the proper ESA prescription. Furthermore, although the ESA owner can be charged for any damages done to the property if done by the ESA, the ESA owner and tenant cannot be charged pet rent or pet deposit.
What is the difference between an ESA and a service dog?
An ESA is for people who have been diagnosed with a severe emotional and/ or mental heath condition pertaining to severe anxiety, depression, or PTSD to name a few. An ESA is technically only supposed to be allowed in primary rental housing and/ or the cabin of an aircraft when traveling.
However, a service dog on the other hand is a highly trained animal to assist its owner perform specific tasks, such as seeing, hearing, and/ or walking. Unlike an ESA, service dogs area allowed to be taken into any public building or anywhere else for that matter; restaurants, coffee shops, banks, airplanes, grocery stores, etc.
If approved for an ESA, is my ESA allowed to be taken in the cabin of airplane when traveling?
Yes, absolutely, but we do always recommend that you check with the airline you are planning to fly with first just to make sure you have a clear understanding of what is needed so there aren’t any “surprises” at checkin.
Is my ESA allowed to be taken with me into public places?
Only if pets are allowed. It’s very important to understand that an ESA (Emotional Support Animal) is not a service animal. Your rights to have an ESA are only protected within your primary rental housing and/ or in the cabin of an aircraft when flying. ESAs are not allowed to be taken into public places where pets are not allowed such as coffee shops, hotels, restaurants, etc.
I heard with an ESA, I am cleared from having to pay pet rent and pet deposit. Is that true?
Yes. By having an ESA prescription letter from licensed medical professional, you get excused from having to pay pet rent and pet deposit. However, you will be responsible for any damages, if any, are caused to the property from your ESA.
If I use my primary care doctor to write an ESA prescription for me, will that work?
Yes, but what we have heard more often than not, is most of the time primary care doctors will not write a prescription for an ESA because they don’t believe in the merits of an ESA to help the patient cope with their illness. It’s also important to understand that a lot of medical professionals believe in writing prescriptions for medications because either they believe that such medication is the best method for their patient, or because they get paid every time a prescription gets filled. That’s a very poor way to look at it, but again, that’s what we have heard through the years.
Does The OnlineDOGtor.com work with licensed professionals?
Yes, absolutely! We only work with those who are licensed and in good standing with the medical board in the state in which their license was issued. We work with medical doctors, therapists, and clinical social workers.
If approved, will my ESA letter come from the OnlineDOGtor.com?
No. We are only a referral service so if approved, your ESA letter will come from the prescribing professional who reviewed your medical questionnaire submission and your ESA letter will come on their official letterhead with all of their contact and medical licensing information.
If approved, can I and my ESA letter be easily verified?
Yes. They can contact the professional who approved you to have an ESA directly, for all of their contact information will be included on the letter; Phone, fax and email.
Can I use my medical insurance?
We are sorry to say, but unfortunately insurance does not cover this type of service so no, we do not accept medical insurance at this time.
How much do you charge?
The nice thing about our service, is we actually have 3 different options to choose from. One of which covers only housing, another that covers only travel, and the third, which is by far the most popular plan people choose, as well as the most cost effective, covers both housing and travel! For the details on these plans, please refer to the “Pricing Plans” tab at the top of the page.
How can I make payment?
You can pay with any of the following: Discover, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.
Is the OnlineDOGtor.com on any social media?
Yes! We can actually be found, liked, shared and followed on Facebook and on Twitter! Please Like us, Share us, and Follow us!