I have a bone to pick. I have a 7.5 pound HAIRLESS dog. Yet, when I go to apply for an apartment I either get denied, or told I have to pay extra to have my dog. Pandora is smaller than most cats I’ve met, and a select number of rabbits. She doesn’t shed and she isn’t destructive. She can barely lift my shoe let alone rip up carpet. But still, I am forced to pay an outrageous non-refundable pet deposit, and additional rent each month. My first apartment, which was privately owned, charged a modest $25 per month for Pandora. Reasonable. My next apartment was owned by a reality company. Here I had to paid a $250 non-refundable deposit AND an extra $50 per month. Ridiculous.
I am a human who is designed to live alone, or with four-legged roommates, and downtown. After I wasn’t able to find a reasonably priced, safe, Pandora friendly apartment, I moved back in with my parents. #Millennial. Financially this was a grand idea. Socially, I may as well have joined a nunnery (no offense, Mum). I began to talk to some friends about my dilemma, and they introduced me to a new fad: emotional support animals.
“An emotional support animal (ESA) is a companion animal that provides therapeutic benefit, such as alleviating or mitigating some symptoms of disability, to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability. Emotional support animals are typically dogs and cats, but may include other animals.” -Thank you, Wikipedia.
You get your fur kid registered, and they’re able to fly on planes at no extra cost, and live in dorms or apartments (even animal restricted ones) for no extra cost. Excuse me? Just cheat the system my friends said, it will be easy they said. Nope. Well, I never tried. I am a horrid liar and a big believer in karma. More than that, I disagree with this idea entirely. Anyone who has a pet has an emotional support animal. Dozens of studies have shown how pets improve the health of humans. Some even save lives!
Anyone who has met me knows that I am emotionally tied to Pandora. Some may even argue that I am too emotionally attached to her…. But, because I refuse to register her as an emotional support animal, I will have to pay extra in order for her to live in apartment which I will already be paying for… all while this journalist is proving how easy it is to abuse the system by bringing a 105 POUND Alpaca, disguised as an ESA, on a train and into a museum?! Riddle me that.
*I understand that mental illness is a real thing. A very real thing, and I am in no way trying to belittle that*
I’m simply saying, that every animal lover I know would say that their pet is an emotional support animal- in some way. Everyone who has a pet would benefit from not having to pay extra rent each month to have their fur baby, so why limit it? Either your residence (airline, store, etc.) allows pets, or it doesn’t. If rules are going to be broken or adjusted, it shouldn’t be because someone paid $50 and printed a certificate off the internet.