Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Memphis

By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: September 16, 2021

emotional support animal memphis street view

Many people suffer from an array of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Today, we recognize the importance an emotional support animal may have on our mental health. So, in this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about getting an emotional support animal in Memphis.

Emotional Support Animal in Memphis: Specific Protection

An emotional support animal in Memphis is protected under the Tennesse state and federal laws. All emotional support animals are protected under the federal Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act.

Unfortunately, as emotional support animals are not service animals. They will not be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Definition of Assistance Animal

An assistance animal is an animal that provides a special service to their handlers or owners. In general, there are three types of assistance animal— a service dog, an emotional support animal, and psychiatric service animals.

A service dog in Memphis lying down on grass

A service animal is often a dog that has undergone extensive training throughout their puppyhood. As a result, a service dog is trained to perform tasks that help their owners in their everyday lives. A great example of a service dog, are those dogs who help people that are blind or deaf. These dogs are referred to as a guide dog and are often Labradors or Standard Poodles.

An emotional support animal (ESA) is an assistance animal that provides comfort to those suffering from depression, loneliness, and anxiety. The difference between an emotional support animal and a service dog is that an ESA does not require any special training to qualify as an assistance animal.

Now, psychiatric service animals are often confused with an emotional support animal. This is primarily because both types of assistance animals are there to improve the mental health of their owners.

However, a psychiatric service dog is often trained to also perform tasks for their owners. For example, psychiatric service animals may help veterans stop or block an episode associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.

With all these different types of assistance animals, you may be wondering, where does a therapy dog fall into?

While a therapy dog does provide animal-assisted therapy, they are still not considered an assistance animal as they do not assist one specific individual. Examples of a therapy animal include a friendly dog heading to children’s hospitals, or to an old age home. Therapy animals simply provide short-term companionship to anyone who’s looking for some comfort.

How to get an Emotional Support Animal in the Memphis: CertaPet’s simple 5 min process

Getting an emotional support animal in Memphis has never been easier! If you strongly believe that you’re suffering from a mental illness, then we highly recommend taking CertaPet’s 5-minute pre-screening test! This quick questionnaire will screen and assess your current mental health status. And, if you do qualify for an ESA letter, then you’ll be put into contact with a licensed mental health professional.

Remember, it is the licensed mental health professional who can only provide you with a valid emotional support animal letter!

These mental health professionals will further assess your mental health through therapy, and will then provide you with an ESA letter. It often takes no more than 48 hours to receive your ESA letter in the mail! So why not give it a try!

Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)

One of the greatest benefits about getting an emotional support animal in Memphis is that you and your ESA can fly in an airplane together! All ESAs are protected under the Air Carrier Access Act, which states that people with disabilities—be it mental or physical—shall be allowed reasonable accommodation for their ESA.

This means that as long as you provide a valid emotional support animal letter, vaccination records, and a testament stating your animal will not display aggressive behaviours—then you will be allowed to bring your ESA on the flight, and in the cabin!

Employment Laws

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law which protects people with disabilities from being discriminated against in the workplace. This law states that people with disabilities are allowed only service animals in a workplace or in a public environment. Unfortunately, an emotional support animal in Memphis will not be warranted these same privileges as they are not recognized as a service animal.

That being said, if you do believe that a support dog will better your health and well-being, as well as work performance. Then you can always request for your employer to make an exception to the law.

Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)

An emotional support animal in Memphis will be protected under the federal Fair Housing Act. This act in states that those with an assistance animal will have reasonable accommodation provided to them. This means that, even if the house you’re renting has a no pets policy rule, then your landlord should lift this rule for you.

However, in order to qualify for reasonable accommodation, you will need to provide an ESA letter, as well as ensure that your emotional support animal ESA will not cause damage to property or will not display aggressive behaviors.

ESA Campus Housing

An emotional support dog sleeping on a table in a classroom in a campus in Memphis

If you’re a university student residing in residence halls, then you’ll be allowed to bring your ESA to any university housing. This is because the federal Fair Housing Act also extends to university housing! But, remember to qualify, you’ll need to provide a valid emotional support animal letter.

Exception to Rules

In the city of Memphis, emotional support animals may be held in high regard for their service in bettering one’s well-being.

However, an ESA may be banned or exempted from the federal laws (ACAA and FHA) if they demonstrate behaviors that negatively affect the public. For example, an ESA may not be allowed in a rental home or aircraft cabin, if they display behaviors such as:

  • Aggression
  • Destructive behavior
  • Damaging property
  • Defecating or urinating inappropriately
  • The owner shows lack of control towards ESA

Punishment for Misrepresenting an Assistance Animal

Currently, the state of Tennessee does not address what the punishment is when an assistance animal is misrepresented.

3 Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA

  1. An emotional support animal is not a service animal! Service animals are highly trained animals that are allowed in public accommodation. An ESA will not be allowed in public accommodation such as grocery stores, malls, etc.
  2. Although an emotional support animal in Memphis does not require special training. It is important that you teach your ESA basic good behavior training. This includes learning to obey you on command, behaving well in an aircraft, and being social.
  3. When you qualify for an ESA, you actually qualify for an ESA letter! An ESA letter will grant you access to the Air Carrier Access Act and the Fair Housing Act.

Where to Find a Suitable ESA!

The great thing about getting an emotional support animal in Memphis is that you can look anywhere for one!

Because ESAs are not highly trained service dogs, you don’t need to open your wallet to spend thousands on getting one! Some people in Memphis, choose to get an ESA from either a pet shelter or from a breeder. For example, if you want an emotional support dog, then why not visit Sunny Medows Safe Haven-Pets rescue for one?

Or if you want an unusual pocket pet like a rabbit, then try visiting the Memphis Animal Services.

Where to Take your Emotional Support Animal

An ESA dog playing with a yellow ball at a dog park in Memphis

Emotional support animals work incredibly hard to better their handlers well-being! So, even they need a break once-in-awhile. You can treat your ESA by taking them to local dog parks and runs, pet-friendly restaurants, or even pet-friendly hotels!

Dog Parks and Dog Runs

Not sure what dog parks you should visit with your ESA? Check out:

  • Shelby Farms Dog Park
  • Overton Bark
  • The Barking Lot Dog Park

Dog-friendly restaurants and bars

Do you want to treat your ESA to a night out? Check out these dog-friendly restaurants and bars in Memphis:

  • Cheffie’s Cafe
  • Brookhaven Pub & Grill
  • Celtic Crossing

Resorts, fitness, and spas

Are you stopping over in Memphis? Do you need to find a pet-friendly hotel?

  • Hyatt Place Memphis Wolfchase Galleria
  • Madison Hotel
  • La Quinta Inn & Suites Memphis Downtown


While there are currently no events in Memphis, you can check out the Malco Summer Drive-In if you want to take your ESA out on a movie night!

ESAs in Memphis: How to Get Connected with an LMHP in Your City Today!

If you’re ready to get an emotional support animal in Memphis, then the best way to get started is by connecting with an LMHP. CertaPet offers a quick and easy pre-screening test you can do online, from the comfort of your home.

By the end of the test, if you do qualify for an ESA letter, then we’ll connect you directly with an LMHP.

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