Move aside, cats and dogs. Now, there are a lot more animals lining up to take your place as pets. Or more accurately, as emotional support animals.
For those who are unaware, emotional support animals are the ones who can offer help to alleviate the symptoms or effect of an individual’s disability. If you are suffering from a mental disability, you can consult a licensed therapist, and if they think it’s best, they could prescribe you an emotional support animal.
However, it is up to you to choose what kind of animal you want. And that brings us to this article. Let us look at the ESA registry and find out the most surprising animals that have made the cut.
- Lilou the Pig
Lilou is a full-time volunteer as a therapy animal at the San Francisco International airport. Lilou was only a few months old when brought to San Francisco and became the first certified therapy ping in the SF Animal Assisted Therapy program. Lilou interacts with the commuters making their days better at the airport. You can also find Lilou cheering people at hospitals, schools, and retirement homes.
- Vincent the Rat
This therapy rat also has a blog dedicated to him, run by his owner Abby Chestnut. Vincent was trained as a therapy animal and trained to be familiar with passing around, taking a treat, reacting to loud noises, and more. He visits schools with Chestnut and enjoys spending time with school kids.
- Daniel the Duck
Daniel even made it to the news when he traveled with his companion Carla Fitzgerald on flights. He was very well-behaved at the airport and inside the plane. To no wonder, he quickly stole the hearts of the fellow passengers. To Carla, he is the irreplaceable friend who helps her with her PTSD.
- Dexter the Peacock
You might already be familiar with the story of the woman with the peacock being banned from the flight. The star here is Dexter, the peacock who is both a muse and emotional support animal to the owner.
Apparently, snakes are a surprising yet good choice for emotional support animals. They are odorless, require limited living space, and are easy to control. According to Jonathan Guthrie, has a pet for a snake and finds it more as an “emotional self-reliance animal.”
Though tarantulas might appear really scary, they have very low toxicity to humans. In fact, many people love that they are quiet and an exotic companion to hang out with. They have been quite popular as pets even before the concept of emotional support animals became popular.
These tiny guys are gentle, adorable, and can melt your heart in an instant. But you might want to be careful with cuddling as they are covered in spikes. But you can tickle them in the soft and furry belly. As emotional support animals, hedgehogs are quiet creatures, not demanding too much attention from the owners.
This is only a small list of uncommon emotional support animals. If you find a raccoon, a sugar glider, or even a reptile in someone’s hands next time, do not wonder, they are only there to offer comfort to the owners.