Supporting Articles & Podcasts

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." ~ Roger Caras

How to Get an Emotional Support Animal?
by Daniel Maigler, LCSW, Sep 18, 2023

Bringing the love of animals to the people who need it the most
Sometimes there are no words. Sometimes the feelings are too big, complex, or contradictory to share with another person.
Sometimes all you want is to be with another creature who doesn’t care what you look like, how much money you make, or what anyone else thinks of you.
Sometimes the only thing that can make you feel better is the love of an animal.

The Amazing Benefits of Therapy Dogs

“Therapy animals are a great way to improve the mental health of those who interact with them. One common type of therapy animal is a dog. People who need support sometimes have therapy dogs in their homes as a pet. Other times, therapy dogs can be seen visiting places like hospitals, schools, and nursing homes. Therapy dogs undergo training to be gentle, friendly, and patient to anyone who might interact with them, including people who might give them hugs, or children who might tug on their fur. Studies have proven that therapy dogs are effective in helping individuals cope with certain symptoms, and that a long-term relationship with a therapy dog can help someone overcome anxiety and depression…”

Therapy Animals – Offering Comfort and Cheer to People in Need
by Alliance for Therapy Dogs

“Animals have been known to offer humans companionship since ages.

However, more recently, therapy animals have been recognized by medical science for the benefits they provide.

There are endless ways that animals like dogs, cats, and horses offer therapeutic benefits and help people heal from physical as well as psychological ailments. Besides assisting humans in recovering from their disabilities, animals are increasingly being used for support as well. They can help to calm anxiety and help someone regain peace, thus improving the quality of life…”

Confirming the Benefits of Emotional Support Animals
by Cynthia K. Chandler, Counseling Today

“….In my 2012 book, Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling, I reviewed several research studies on the psychophysiological and psychosocial benefits of positive social interaction with a pet, such as holding or stroking an animal. These benefits include calming and relaxing, lowering anxiety, alleviating loneliness, enhancing social engagement and interaction, normalizing heart rate and blood pressure, reducing pain, reducing stress, reducing depression and increasing pleasure. Based on the results of these studies, it is plausible that living with an emotional support animal may alleviate symptoms associated with a number of emotional and psychiatric disabilities. HUD states, ‘Emotional support animals by their very nature, and without training, may relieve depression and anxiety, and/or help reduce stress-induced pain in persons with certain medical conditions affected by stress.’…”

Ten Ways Pets Support Mental Health
by Newport Academy

“…research validates the benefits of pets for mental health. The mental health benefits of owning a dog or cat have been proven by many scientific studies. Animals help with depression, anxiety, and stress…

…The first research on pets and mental health was published 30 years ago. Psychologist Alan Beck of Purdue University and psychiatrist Aaron Katcher of the University of Pennsylvania conducted the study. Therefore, they measured what happens to the body when a person pets a friendly dog. Here’s what they found:

Blood pressure went down
Heart rate slowed
Breathing became more regular
Muscle tension relaxed.
These are all signs of reduced stress…

…The review found that pets helped the participants to manage their emotions. In addition, it distracted them from the symptoms of their mental health condition…”

Everything You Need to Know About Emotional Support Animals
by Stephanie Gibeault, MSc, CPDT

Emotional support animals (ESAs) refer to dogs and other pets that provide emotional support and comfort to their owners on a daily basis. ESAs legally must be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional like a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist.

Emotional support animals differ from service dogs in a few key ways. Service dogs have been trained to perform specific tasks for individuals, and as such, as usually granted access to anywhere their owner goes. Emotional support animals do not require any specific training, although owners should make sure they’re well-trained in public. ESAs are not granted access to establishments such as restaurants or malls like service dogs are…

The Power of Support from Companion Animals for People Living with Mental Health Problems: a Systematic Review and Narrative Synthesis of the Evidence
BMC Psychiatry

This review suggests that pets provide benefits to those with mental health conditions. Further research is required to test the nature and extent of this relationship, incorporating outcomes that cover the range of roles and types of support pets confer in relation to mental health and the means by which these can be incorporated into the mainstay of support for people experiencing a mental health problem.

Medical Monday, Emotional Support Animals
by Ryan Long, PA-C Dhsc and Dr. Oo, MD Mph

Apple podcast in support of ESAs.

Real Men Feel, #268, Not Allowed to Die, Paws for Patrick
with Guest Speaker, Daniel Maigler, LCSW

Dan is the mental health director for Paws for Patrick, a non-profit organization that connects young people with mental health issues to emotional support animals. He is also a school social worker, a therapist in private practice, and the host of the podcast Not Allowed to Die, where he explores the dilemmas he sees clients facing in his work. We discuss topics such as contracting for safety, assessing the risk of depressed clients, and being manipulative to keep people alive. Our conversation also touches on the difference between wanting to die and wanting the pain to stop. Paws For Patrick matters because no therapist can be there at 3 in the morning, but your dog or cat can be…

The Community Cats Podcast, #471, Emotional Support Animals
with Guest Speaker, Daniel Maigler, LCSW

In this episode, Stacy chats with Daniel Maigler, a licensed clinical social worker, who also serves as the Mental Health Advisor for Paws for Patrick, which is a nonprofit organization that connects young people with mental health issues to animals. Daniel provides insight into his role with Paws for Patrick, the array of services that the organization provides, and the inspiration behind this organization’s creation.

Daniel discusses the benefits of emotional support animals, and clarifies the differences between a service animal, a therapy animal, and an emotional support animal (“ESA”). He talks about the process of obtaining an ESA letter, as well as the benefits and limitations that this letter has. Daniels touches on some of the trends involving ESAs, including their presence on college campuses, and clarifies some of the misconceptions surrounding these trends.

dilemmas he sees clients facing in his work. We discuss topics such as contracting for safety, assessing the risk of depressed clients…

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