Now more than ever, the role of animals in our day to day lives is becoming more and more complex. Gone are the days when animals simply fulfilled the purpose of being companions and household pets.
For instance, one of the many different responsibilities that pets take on in the lives of many people is the role of emotional support.
Emotional support animals are becoming significantly more popular especially with the rise in the occurrence of mental health conditions that could benefit from them.
If you’re thinking about owning an emotional support animal in Houston, TX, read through this comprehensive guide to help you learn everything you need to know before you take one into your home.
What is An Emotional Support Animal?
Unlike service animals that support impaired and disabled individuals, emotional support animals provide a much deeper comfort. These animals offer therapeutic relief in times of anxiety, stress, depression, and other similar mental health issues. This is particularly beneficial for individuals who manifest occupational and social dysfunction in the face of an episode.
Laws Governing Emotional Support Animals in Houston, TX
For both the protection and safety of the owner and the animal, there are several laws in place that oversee the ownership of emotional support animals.
1. Housing Laws – By law, landlords are not allowed to deny accommodation to renters with emotional support animals. They’re also not allowed to evict renters once an emotional support animal has been acquired.
2. Employment Laws – Employers are not allowed to discriminate against applicants or employees with emotional support animals. In case animals are not allowed within the workspace, the employer must then make certain to add an exception to the rule to accommodate the emotional support animal of a qualified employee.
3. Travel Laws – Flying with an emotional support animal is made possible by the Air Carrier Access Act, but require more documentation and paperwork. In most cases, airlines may necessitate the submission of a letter from a licensed health care professional supporting the need for the animal.
Exception to the Rules: In some rare cases, these laws may not be applied. For instance, if the animal poses a threat to other renters or employees, then landlords and employers may deny accommodation or work. The same applies if the animal poses a threat to the property structure.
Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Houston, TX
Unlike any other pet that you can buy or adopt without much process, acquiring an ESA can take quite a few steps. These procedures help guarantee that an ESA prescription is going to an individual who actually qualifies to own one.
A licensed mental health professional must verify that the individual does in fact have a mental illness and could benefit from the use of an emotional support animal. CertaPet makes this process extremely easy – feel free to try out our 5-minute screening to find out if you indeed qualify for an ESA or not. If you do, we will connect you with a licensed health professional (we have licensed professional practicing in 46 states) and you may receive an ESA letter in as little as 2 days.
Where You Can Take Your Emotional Support Animal
Owning an emotional support animal in Houston, Tx can be more than just beneficial – it can be a lot of fun, too! Lots of public places, events, and attractions openly accommodate these special pets, so you can be sure to enjoy the city with your trusty companion constantly by your side.
1. Dog Parks
Dog parks are great places to visit if you want to make a friend or two. Teeming with other dogs and their owners, dog parks offer a lovely outdoor space where you can meet new people or simply get away from it all.
While the Baytown Bark Park can be a bit of a trek away, the place definitely offers some relaxation and fun. The five acre park is fully equipped with equipment, benches, drinking fountains, cool shaded areas, and grass covered lawns and trails perfect for getting a dose of the great outdoors.
Another great park to visit is Millie Bush Bark Park. The beautiful enclosure has lots of dog showers, water fountains, shaded areas, benches, trees, and separate big and small dog areas guaranteed to give both you and your pup a great day any day.
2. Dog-friendly Restaurants
Lots of restaurants restrict entry to pets because some customers may not enjoy eating with a dog in the area. Nevertheless, there are some pretty great dining spots around Houston that offer both delicious food and a welcoming ambiance for you and your ESA.
Porch Swing Pub is one of the top rated pet friendly restaurants in Houston, Tx. The place offers hearty servings of classic western cuisine and thirst quenching bottled brews in a wide variety. The ambiance is chill, comfortable, and casual, allowing leashed animals in with arms open wide.
If you’re in search for a comfortable place to relax and lounge, then CoCo Crepes, Waffles, and Coffee is the place to be. Offering a variety of bespoke brews and sweet treats, this pet friendly restaurant can be the perfect spot to grab breakfast, lunch, or dinner any time of the week.
Hotel Zaza Houston is a luxury hotel and spa that can accommodate pets for an additional fee of 150 USD. The sophisticated and classy ambiance of the hotel can be a great way to spend the weekend or to celebrate a special occasion. All rooms are pet friendly, and the hotel offers a variety of other relaxing services like professional massages at a reasonable price.
For those who want something a little more budget friendly, La Quintana Inn & Suites can be a great choice. The hotel features comfortable rooms, complete amenities, and pet friendly rooms that you can use free of extra charges or fees.
Dog Day at Minute Maid Park is a fun and exciting pet friendly event with a bunch of great activities lined up for both owners and their furry friends. The event has a pet parade, a costume competition, great food, and a variety of other great activities, games, and prizes making it an event you wouldn’t want to miss. It’s also teeming with other pet owners and pups in case you were hoping to make a friend or two along the way.