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I have panic attacks whenever I fly and a friend suggested that I look into registering my dog as a service dog. I don't think this is Kosher because Riley isn't a service dog, but I read that he might qualify for an emotional support animal. My psychiatrist will prescribe me Xanax, but doesn't believe in emotional support dogs. I am thinking about using esadoctors.com, has anyone used them? Should I risk it? I am flying next month and my palms are sweating just thinking about it.
 

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My personal opinion - Fly by yourself. I used to have major panic attacks. I did not use medications. I did the whole afraid, feeling like I would wet my pants, but did not. Buying a book about cognitive behavior therapy helped. Learning to go through it makes you stronger in the long term.

Secondly, whenever someone purchases a fake service dog vest, it increasingly makes legitimate service dogs and their owners more susceptible to scrutiny. Also your panic may increase in fear of being questioned.
 

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I have panic attacks whenever I fly and a friend suggested that I look into registering my dog as a service dog. I don't think this is Kosher because Riley isn't a service dog, but I read that he might qualify for an emotional support animal. My psychiatrist will prescribe me Xanax, but doesn't believe in emotional support dogs. I am thinking about using esadoctors.com, has anyone used them? Should I risk it? I am flying next month and my palms are sweating just thinking about it.
Find a new doctor. Mine had no issues with Shadow being an ESA, but no way would I take her on a plane. And I certainly wouldn't do anything sneaky or underhanded to get her on one.
Think this through. I have anxiety as well, and issues with being touched or 'trapped'. Do you really want a German Shepherd on a crowded, cramped, shaky, noisy plane with you? It's not like you can leave if the dog decides he isn't cool with it. Nor is there a crate handy if he decides he REALLY isn't cool with it.
 

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This is a complicated issue. I hate being in crowds, and do suffer from anxiety at times. When I last flew in December, my physician wrote a very specific letter to allow my little dog to sit on my lap during the flight as an ESA. According to the airline guidelines, the letter had to be on the MD's official letterhead, have a diagnosis according to psychiatric guidelines, have the reason for the dog to accompany me, have the MD's license number, and state the need for my dog to be with me at my destination point, including hotels, etc. It was very specific and detailed. That being said, ESA are not true therapy dogs if they do not perform a specific task, and airlines may refuse them. Our two other little dogs travelled in carriers under the seats, and we paid airfare for them. I would love to have my future GSD serve as my ESA, but as a previous poster said, what would you do if he decided mid-flight that he was not ok with it?! The only solution would be to go through the rigorous therapy dog training with your dog, which I believe can take two years - I would be absolutely willing to do this with my next dog ( my little support animal is very old now). It would be much better if you are simply taking a flight to fly your dog in a nice crate in cargo.
 

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As someone who has flown multiple times with a large dog, I can say that it can be very stressful.

Planes are cramped, the dog can't be in the aisle way, so it makes an already cramped seat really uncomfortable. They have to sit in front of you.

While it does sound as if you would benefit from one, I think the more ethical way would be to start heavy training and find a therapist that would work with you, not a hack paid to write ESA letters for anyone who asks.
 

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I agree that it is wrong for people to pay a "hack" (website?) to get fake credentials for a fake "service dog". However, therapy dogs are essential for some folks. At this time, airlines have the option of denying emotional support animals. After flying with my small support animal in December, I think I would have actually been more relaxed with her flying in cargo or under the seat. She has accompanied me to numerous public places through the years, but the confines of the airplane were not to her liking - she is very old.
 

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I agree that it is wrong for people to pay a "hack" (website?) to get fake credentials for a fake "service dog". However, therapy dogs are essential for some folks. At this time, airlines have the option of denying emotional support animals. After flying with my small support animal in December, I think I would have actually been more relaxed with her flying in cargo or under the seat. She has accompanied me to numerous public places through the years, but the confines of the airplane were not to her liking - she is very old.
You seem to be using different terms interchangeably. Therapy dogs and ESAs both have no public access rights, so I hope you don't mean you're taking your ESA to public, non dog-friendly places. ESAs are allowed on airplanes under the ACAA. They also have housing rights under the FHA. Therapy dogs have no public access rights and can only go to places like schools, hospitals, etc. if invited. Service dogs are covered by the ADA and their handlers have full public access rights.

To the OP, every online registry is a scam. I agree with others that bringing your dog in the cabin with you would likely cause you even more anxiety. That's a huge stress for a dog who isn't trained for something like that, and a stressed out dog will just add to your stress.
 

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To annap24- thanks for the clarification; I meant to use the term "service animal" rather than therapy animal. The only places my little dog has been with me has been places such as Lowe's, Home Depot, my kids' school for events - all welcomed. The airflight was her first time, and she did not enjoy it. She was well behaved, but I could tell she did not care for it. I don't anticipate flying with a dog again, but if I do, the dog will be crated and fly below.
 

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To annap24- thanks for the clarification; I meant to use the term "service animal" rather than therapy animal. The only places my little dog has been with me has been places such as Lowe's, Home Depot, my kids' school for events - all welcomed. The airflight was her first time, and she did not enjoy it. She was well behaved, but I could tell she did not care for it. I don't anticipate flying with a dog again, but if I do, the dog will be crated and fly below.
No problem! I just wanted to make it clear for others who may read the thread and think that you meant you were taking your ESA into grocery stores or something like that. I think a lot of people think taking a dog on a plane or in stores will be fun, but they underestimate how much work it can be and how stressful it can be for the dog and the person. I'm a guide dog puppy raiser, but my pets only go places pets are allowed.
 

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... I think a lot of people think taking a dog on a plane or in stores will be fun, but they underestimate how much work it can be and how stressful it can be for the dog and the person. I'm a guide dog puppy raiser, but my pets only go places pets are allowed.
LOL- too true. I remember the first time I flew with my SAR dog. She was "ok" until we landed. And freaked the freak out. It was all I could do to keep her out of my lap. But she also wanted to meet everyone, and got yellow hair all over the very well dressed gentleman with me.

But I have also had issues with being the last seat and the person who needed to sit next to me being scared of or allergic to dogs and having the flight attendants have to make announcements to change seats.

I have had the captain come to meet the dog to decide if he would allow us on the plane (as a Search dog it is a courtesy not a right) and nasty passengers who are angry she is there.

My entire flight is occupied by making sure she disturbs no one.

But a fellow SAR person had a dog get an upset colon on a flight. And the dog literally had to sit in a garbage bag with only his head and legs out for the whole flight. Talk about stress.
 
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