Can an Emotional Support Dog Help with Loneliness?
Imagine coming home to an empty house, no noises in the home, the house is intact with no sign of life, and compare that scenario with coming home to meet an enthusiastic dog by the door, greeting you with adoration, making welcoming sounds and movements across the house. It almost feels like you are not alone in the house, you’ve got company, and yes, the dog can help you with alleviating loneliness.
What is Loneliness?
Loneliness is the feeling of being socially isolated from others and away from everyone else. According to the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) survey, one in every five Americans has admitted to being lonely at some point in their life. Loneliness may lead to mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression.
In most cases, some groups of people are more prone to loneliness than others. For instance, older adults, whose children have left for college and they are left with an empty nest wondering what they will do next with their lives. That is a time of loneliness for older adults. People who live alone are also prone to loneliness. Apart from that, people who have strained relationships; they may experience loneliness as well. All of these people are vulnerable to mental health issues.
Impact of the Emotional Support Dog
In most of the cases, loneliness comes as a symptom of anxiety, depression, and stress. Having an emotional support dog helps individuals going through these negative states to ease the pain and get back to a normal healthy life. At the same time, loneliness is cured as a symptom when the real cause of the symptom is relieved.
If you have been going through episodes of loneliness, or any other mental health problem, such as depression and anxiety, you could be eligible for an emotional support dog. Having an emotional support dog is different from having a dog as a pet; there are rules and documentation that come along with emotional support animals.
First of all, you need to talk to your therapist or a licensed health practitioner that helps with your mental health. The therapist will analyze your mental health and determine whether an emotional support dog will be good for your healing process, and then will offer you with an Emotional Support Animal Letter. With the ESA Letter, you can apply to live with your dog anywhere, even in places where they do not allow pets.
How Dogs Help with Alleviating Loneliness
A dog is different from any other animal. From the way dogs offer their companionship, to the way they show their loyalty to humans. For hundreds of years, dogs have been human’s best friends in that they can offer company. They are very good at reading human emotions. One of the ways through which dogs help alleviate loneliness is by attracting attention from different people. Every time you walk your dog outside, people begin looking at you, greeting and having conversations, and before you realize it you have jogged with the dog, laughed at funny things that dogs do, and by the end of the day, you have interacted with strangers because of the dog.
So dogs are very social animals. They attract socialization and hence remove loneliness. In addition, a dog requires a sense of obligation and responsibility. You need to feed and walk the dog; you need to be a parent to the dog, make sure that the dog is healthy by consulting a vet now and then. Having a dog requires an obligation that helps shift your attention from yourself to the dog, hence alleviating loneliness. A dog also offers a companion. He will follow you everywhere. You will notice that you are not alone. He will engage you in a way that you must react and will connect with you emotionally, and by the end of the day, your loneliness will be gone.