About ESAs in Rexburg

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Cat laying down Photo credit: Mark Epley

People use different mechanisms to cope with the tasks of everyday life. Some people play games, some people take a walk and for some, emotional support animals, or ESAs, are the way in which they find comfort in times of distress.

According to verywellmind.com, ESAs are companions that provide emotional support to those with some type of mental or physical disability that significantly impacts a major part of their life. In Rexburg, emotional support animals aren’t an uncommon sight.

Grady Ricks, a sophomore studying business analytics, shared his experience with having an ESA. He explained that an ESA is an animal that is recommended by counselors to help people cope and deal with stress.

Ricks has a cat named Toulouse. He got a cat because they are low maintenance.

“It’s like a houseplant with legs,” Ricks said.

Toulouse helps Ricks deal with stress, especially when no one else is around. Ricks knows some other students who obtain ESAs because it helps the students them with separation anxiety.

He comments on some people he knows, “Some of them, it’s their first time away from home,” Ricks said. “I have yet to meet someone who has an ESA that has serious problems, that I know of.”

Ricks said to get an ESA one must receive a recommendation from a counselor or therapist after talking with them. Once you do that, you can work with the apartment complex to obtain the animal.

Ricks wanted people to know that someone doesn’t have to be strange or have serious problems to have an ESA.

“Literally anyone can have one for any reason and it’s fine, it doesn’t mean they are seriously messed up or anything,” Ricks said.

Anna Moore, the property manager at Autumn Winds, thinks that students get ESAs to help with mental disabilities such as depression, anxiety and PTSD.

“This is law,” said Moore, explaining the process of obtaining an ESA. It‘s not just at Autumn Winds, you do need to receive some consultation from your doctor, you need to make sure its okay on their end.”

Specifically, at the Autumn Winds apartments, after one has spoken with their physician, one must fill out thorough paperwork on the animal, the breed, age and vaccinations. They will generally call your doctor and verify that the process was completed, though it is different with each company.

“Don’t get the animal until you’ve been approved,” Moore said. “Being certified ahead of time is wise.”