Dogs, cats, and even miniature horses have emotional support animal (ESA) status. It’s common to see them wearing vests or tags that indicate their owner has a disability that benefits from the animal’s companionship. It’s normal to need them! After all, emotional support animals provide invaluable comfort to those struggling with mental illness, anxiety, and other conditions. But when we say “emotional support animal,” does it include birds?
An emotional support animal is a pet that offers companionship and comfort to an individual with a mental or emotional disability. These animals are not trained to perform specific tasks like service dogs, but their mere presence can provide emotional benefits. Emotional support birds have been gaining popularity recently as people have begun to realize the advantages of avian companionship. Let us answer questions about ESAs and birds!
Can Birds Be ESAs?
Let’s start by affirming that, yes, birds can be ESAs. As the only animal that can replicate human speech, birds have a remarkable ability to connect with us on an emotional level. Birds are known for their intelligence and problem-solving skills. Their intelligence is their emotional support secret weapon!
Another reason that people choose birds as ESAs is that they are easy to care for. While some ESAs require a lot of time, attention, and training, birds generally do not. They are content to perch on their owner’s shoulder or sit in their cage, and they don’t need to be taken on walks (although some enjoy them).
An emotional support bird only needs a well-maintained cage, a healthy diet, and regular vet check-ups. Owners also don’t need to worry about overproduction. Plus, birds are easy to travel with, so they can go wherever their owner goes!
Are Birds Good for People With Anxiety?
Birds are empathetic, meaning they can sense our emotional states and respond accordingly. They help navigate mental and emotional situations, including anxiety. Birds can use their intelligence to assist humans during an episode.
Training birds to produce human speech is also an excellent way to help those with anxiety disorders. It’s also a form of human engagement that’s essential for people with anxiety disorders. Birds can help those with anxiety by providing a sense of calm and accomplishment. At the same time, humans focus on building communication skills.
Imagine hearing a bird repeating reassuring phrases like “You’re doing great” or “I’m here for you!” This could be a game-changer for people with anxiety disorders.
Are Birds Good for Therapy?
Birds are excellent emotional support animals because they are natural therapy animals. They can make people feel better by providing companionship, emotional support, and even physical contact. Bird-watching is known to reduce stress levels and depression. Birds help us feel more connected to nature, which has been shown to have therapeutic benefits. Because they are easy to care for, emotional support birds can be used in therapy sessions without excessive stress on the therapist.
What Is the Best Emotional Support Bird?
Generally, the best emotional support bird is the one that suits the individual’s needs, personality, and lifestyle. That said, some emotional support birds are more popular than others.
The most popular emotional support birds are parrots and parakeets. These birds can respond verbally and are known for their wide range of emotions. They are also social creatures that enjoy human interaction, making them ideal emotional support animals.
How Do You Certify an Emotional Support Bird?
If you think an emotional support bird is right for you, the next step is to get certified. You will need a licensed mental health professional prescription stating you have a mental or emotional disability and that an emotional support animal would help alleviate your symptoms.
An ESA letter prescribed by a mental health professional documents that your emotional support animal serves a specific purpose related to your disability. This document will allow you to take your emotional support bird with you on planes, into no-pets-allowed apartments, and more.
Pet Connect: Writing an ESA letter for Your ESA Bird
Finally, deciding that a bird is your emotional support animal is already a big step, and getting an ESA letter is another significant step to take. Pet Connect is an ESA and PSD provider in California that aims to help you through the emotional support animal process by writing and getting your letter honored.
We understand the positive impact having an emotional support bird – or any animal – can have on your life, and we want to help make that happen for you. Our quick online pre-assessment connects you with a licensed mental health therapist that can help you qualify for an emotional support animal. From there, we’ll get your emotional support animal letter, connecting you with your emotional support bird everywhere and anywhere you go! Birds can chirp your worries away and help you feel more at ease, and we’re here to help get you there. Connect with us today.