I was wondering about this. Thank you for writing! I have two questions.
Vani Wex

Good questions!

  1. Carl (my cat) is not on my ESA documentation, though I hope to get that changed once I go see my old psychiatrist. If I had known about ESAs when I got him, and had been diagnosed with what I have been now (BPD, depression, and panic disorder), I would have definitely gotten it done a long time ago! But I’m glad you brought this up, because you can actually have more than one ESA. I think it’s probably even more important that you have documentation for them if this is the case, though, since landlords / air travel staff will likely be more suspicious that you’re trying to get away with having free pets for the hell of it if you have a bunch of them.
  2. I can’t remember what exactly my documentation lists, but I know for sure it doesn’t list BPD since I was diagnosed with that a bit later, and I also know that landlords / air travel staff aren’t allowed to demand that info — so if, for example, you would rather your doctor not include your specific disability in the letter (e.g. BPD is highly stigmatized), you’re still legally in the clear. One line that I really like in my letter is something like “Alison is under my care; I am her psychiatrist.” I think it adds a little more oomph to how the letter sounds to someone looking for “proof,” although that line is also not required.
  3. This is something I think I should add too — there are some “doctors” online who will take, like, $50 or $100 or whatever to provide ESA / SD documentation. Though this documentation will likely work with the majority of landlords and air travel staff, I would recommend not doing it unless you absolutely cannot afford to see a doctor locally. I think having a local doctor you actually see write the documentation in case someone tries to fight your rights is the best way to go, and the way you should go if you are at all able to — that way, you have a real, live doctor you can sic on the landlord / staff if they raise a fuss. People are a lot less likely to fight if they know they have to contend with a licensed doctor a couple miles away. :)
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