Living with a disability or a medical condition could be limiting and mostly requires help from external sources.
Some physical disabilities like blindness, deafness, autism, epilepsy and many more require external support.
Beyond physical disabilities, service animals can also help people with mental disabilities.
Some of these mental disabilities are bipolar disorders, clinical depression, post-traumatic stress disorders, and schizophrenia.
With access to service animals, people living with these conditions could improve and overcome certain limitations with their disabilities.
Bearded dragons are an exciting set of pets. They are calm and are ideal to have as pets.
Keep reading to know more about service animals and if a bearded dragon can be one.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Service Animal?
- Benefits of a Service Animal
- What is a Bearded Dragon?
- Can a Bearded Dragon Be a Service Animal?
- What are Emotional Support Animals?
- Benefits of Emotional Support Animals
- Bearded Dragons as Emotional Support Animals
What Is a Service Animal?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is any canine that has been specially trained to conduct labor or perform responsibilities for the benefit of a person with a disability.
They may, among other things, alert a deaf or hard of hearing person to a sound such as a doorbell or an approaching threat, remind a person to take medicines, calm a person during an anxiety attack, and act as a guide for a visually impaired person.
Service animals are expressly defined as working animals, not pets, by the ADA.
The work or task that a dog is trained to perform must be directly tied to the individual’s impairment.
Under the ADA, dogs whose primary purpose is to offer comfort or emotional support don’t qualify as service animals.
Related: Can a Duck Be a Service Animal? (Answered)
Benefits of a Service Animal
Service animals may help people with disabilities in many parts of their lives by providing critical assistance based on their owner’s impairment.
Great for Emergencies
They can be taught to help humans stay attentive when in a medical emergency.
They can assist their owners in preparing for an episode by allowing them to go to a safe location, such as a soft surface or the floor, to help prevent injuries.
If necessary, the animal might seek extra assistance during or after the experience.
A service animal may greatly aid those with impairments that cause weariness, discomfort, difficulty walking, or limited movement.
If the owner is too feeble to walk or handle goods, service animals can assist them in restoring balance, avoiding falls, retrieving prescriptions, and carrying items such as groceries.
They give physical assistance and may also provide mental assistance.
The animals are devoted friends who may alleviate loneliness and give a sense of security and consistency to their owners.
They have also been demonstrated in analysis to have health advantages, including increased fitness, reduced stress, and improved enjoyment.
Service animals can help those with limited mobility, such as wheelchair users, by providing physical assistance.
Mobility assistance dogs may be trained to open doors, turn lights on and off, gather objects for their owners, pay cashiers, and press elevator buttons, among other things.
Related: How to Easily Give Directions to a Blind Person
What is a Bearded Dragon?
Unlike the name implies, bearded dragons are not dragons.
The bearded dragon belongs to a genus of reptiles that comprises six different species of lizards.
The primary name of the reptile is Pogona but the common name is Bearded Dragon.
For various causes, the lizard’s underside of the throat or “beard” can turn black and bulge up. The most common cause is stress or feeling threatened.
Bearded dragons are a semi-arboreal species that spend a lot of time on branches, bushes, and near humans.
In the mornings and afternoons, they bask on exposed branches and rocks. Insects, plants, and small rodents make up most of their food.
They exist in various environments, including deserts, shrublands, and Eucalyptus woodlands.
Bearded dragons can be domesticated; they serve as pets for many people.
Can a Bearded Dragon Be a Service Animal?
No, a bearded dragon cannot carry out the responsibilities required of a service animal.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, service animals are dogs. So, bearded dragons don’t qualify to be service animals.
Although bearded dragons are not qualified to be service animals, they can serve to provide emotional support to their owners. Hence, they can be used as emotional support animals.
What are Emotional Support Animals?
Any animal that gives emotional support while reducing one or more symptoms or consequences of a person’s condition qualifies as an emotional support animal (ESA).
Although ESAs cannot assist individuals with impairments, they can help to provide company, reduce loneliness, and occasionally aid with melancholy, anxiety, and specific phobias.
You don’t need to train animals that provide emotional assistance.
Compared with a service animal, you mostly don’t need to train an ESA. Several domesticated animals can serve this purpose.
Your doctor or mental health practitioner needs to prove that you have a condition that requires emotional support and your animal can meet that need.
Related: How Color Blind People See Traffic Lights (Explained)
Benefits of Emotional Support Animals
They bring consolation to their owners in times of distress and serve as daily companions.
Some other advantages of having ESAs include:
- Reducing emotions of loneliness
- Reducing tension, and
- Alleviating worry while promoting enjoyment and relaxation
They could serve as a distraction for owners during heightened moments of emotional stress or traumatic symptoms.
Emotional situations that require support range from panic attacks to dealing with fear, grief, and worry.
By allowing the owner to participate in care activities, including brushing, stroking, and feeding them, emotional support animals help reduce symptoms of emotional trauma.
People with access to ESAs have reported needing less medication and feeling happier and more aware of themselves.
Bearded Dragons as Emotional Support Animals
Bearded dragons are somewhat low maintenance, which can also make them a good choice for being an ESA.
They require less space than other animals, yet can provide adequate support for their owners.
To register your bearded dragon as an emotional support animal, your doctor needs to assess your condition and needs to determine if you need one.
If confirmed, the doctor will then issue a letter explaining the purpose and services of your bearded dragon.
You’re required to tender this letter as an official document to prove the status of your bearded dragon.
You must make several copies of the letter and ensure to go around with one copy if in the company of your bearded dragon.
Although your pet doesn’t need a badge or means of identification to prove its role, you could always make one or explain it to people who might not be comfortable with the animal.