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We’ve all seen them, those cute dogs in brightly colored jackets that you just want to go up and pet but can’t because the are service dogs on duty.

Some animals can be trained to supply therapeutic and emotional support to an individual who needs it. They usually belong to older people and those with a disability, but its possible for people with a mental illness to have animal that supports them. Under federal disability rights laws to be classified as disabled, a person must experience substantial limitations on one or more major life activities because of their mental illness.

Emotional support animals don’t need much training, but like other pets, it needs to have pet manners such as being toilet trained and generally having a calm demeanor. According to WedMD, people who live with pets have real mental health benefits such as: establishing a routine, more opportunities for exercise and socializing, and companionship. 

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