Taking the Steps to Getting a Best Friend via ESA
I read many stories online, most of them from websites that offer an ESA letter for a low price of $49.99 (generalization) with testimonials from happy customers who had been rejected from airlines or tenants for subpar ESA letters before.
I also found articles written from a legal standpoint that those customer service provisions aren't necessarily the best way to go either. For details explaining the legislation protecting ESA and their owners in "No Pet" housing, read this article.
I contacted my landlord to find out what they would like to have. Specifically, what needs to be stated in the letter from my doctor (or other providers that are accepted) to avoid having to repeat the process.
By process, I mean scheduling an appointment with my busy doctor to get the letter, only to find out there was some loophole my landlord found and having to go back, dragging out the process by months. And for someone with anxiety, that would not be the best prescription.
Life with an ESA Dog
Some people share that being a working student - having the responsibilities of class and a job - helps them improve their time management skills, actually revealing more time, and making them feel more productive.
Having a dog is a big time commitment. Using "gift puppies" as an example (which usually end up at the shelter by the way), you need to be ready to have a pet. Think about the costs involved (food, vet care, accessories, not to mention emergency costs), what a typical day would look like (wake up earlier than usual, walk, feed, settle the pup before you go to class, get home, walk...etc.)
Are you ready for a dog? Check out these quizzes (who doesn't love taking online quizzes?)
Are you ready for a dog? (Rover.com)
Ready for a dog? (AKC.com)
7 Signs You're Ready to Get a Dog (Parents.com)
You also need to consider the age of the dog you want to get. A number of my friends (in "Yes Pet" housing) got puppies. Puppies are a lot more work than older dogs. Potty training. Teething. Training. Training. Training. Potty breaks every few hours. I decided I did not want a puppy, but wanted a dog between 8 months - 1.5 or 2 years old. Energy and time left before some of the health issues may set in, but without the crazy puppy stuff.
I got my little darling at 8 months from a high-kill, low-funded shelter. It was hard to walk up and down the kennel, with the pups sitting pretty up at the gate, seeming to say "Hi! Take me home!"
I went back up to the front with a few names of pups I'd like to meet - I had considered their age, the vibe I got, their sex. To meet them, a shelter staff member took me to the reverse side of the kennel (just concrete, easy to clean, quieter) and opened the doggy door from their "homey" kennel side. My soul mate trotted out to meet me, sniffing, then sitting down and leaning against me. Sweetest little soul. But so so skinny.
I met two others, who were much higher energy and also nervous. I'm glad I met different pups because it solidified my decision for the right one. The staff called my landlord to verify my pet policy, and I picked him up the next day.
He's about 1 year now, and my best friend. I'm not lonely, he gives me purpose and a schedule, and the best snuggles ever.
I'd love to answer your questions and hear your comments.
Bailey the dog mom.
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