What is an ESA? | Faith Swick from Life of Faif

Hello, everyone!

This blog is all about ESAs. What is an ESA you ask? ESA stands for emotional support animal. This is a pet that provides many things including companionship to a person who suffers from a mental or emotional disability.

ESAs are unique in that unlike service animals, certification is not limited to only dogs. ESAs don’t require specialized training. In fact, for an ESA it’s all about the personality of the animal.

To get an ESA certified you need an official letter from a certified mental health professional. My psychiatrist is who wrote my letter. Now, a letter is only really necessary if you live somewhere that doesn’t allow pets or plan to travel with your animal. My landlord said no pets but my ESA letter allows me to have my cat, Stanley at our apartment. The ESA letter protects you from housing discrimination.

The benefits of having an ESA are numerous. Here are just a few that I’ve noticed with my ESAs so far:

  • Increase my sense of comfort and safety
  • Help with panic attacks
  • Make me smile even when I don’t feel like smiling
  • Someone to talk to when I’m home alone
  • Helps with stress
  • When I’m having a psychosis episode Stanley helps me hold on to something I know is real
  • Having a baby to take care of besides myself forces me to take care of both of us.
  • Helps with depression

My ESAs have been Loki and Stanley. Loki lives with my parents (he is way too big for Ben and I’s tiny apartment!) and Stanley is my most recent ESA.

This is Loki celebrating my birthday with me. Loki is excellent at knowing when someone in the house is sad, he always licks and snuggles you.


This is my Stanley baby. He is a great snuggler and still a bit skittish but loves to help me when I need him most.


If you or someone you know is struggling with mental or emotional health, I strongly recommend looking into getting an ESA. It can be any animal from a rat to a dog. Talk with your therapist or psychiatrist and ask them their opinions. My therapist and psychiatrist were all for an ESA for my conditions. Be open with landlords; ours wasn’t thrilled but was very understanding after we explained to him what depression, anxiety, and psychosis are and why Stanley was necessary for my health.