Doctor’s Note for a Service Dog: Free Medical Necessity Templates and Sample Letters
The term service dog isn’t one that can go easily unnoticed. These animals are highly common. In fact, you might even have been a testament to their activities as these service dogs work on helping their owners on their day-to-day tasks. However, what we often don’t understand, is the extent up to which these dogs help us.
A service dog isn’t just a pet or companion. Service dogs are trained to do more than their traditional counterparts. They are trained to perform all such tasks which cannot be done their owner on their own. With their training, service dogs not only help people with physical ailments but people with mental impairments as well.
The Need For Service Dogs
The notion of service dogs has become all the more popular, particularly in the USA. But why is it so? What makes them a necessity in the lives of ailing people? The thing is, service dogs do more than just helping individuals who are physically or psychiatrically-disabled. They completely take control of the routines and activities of their owners.
Service dogs ensure that their owners go through daily activities without any problems or incidents. To help their owners, these dogs are trained to open doors, retrieve objects, bark to alert other people in danger, and such. However, their training reveals itself only during a life-and-death situation.
During critical situations, service dogs can also become lifesavers for their owners. These dogs are wholly capable of calling 911, barking to signal other people, leading other people, etc. And it is these capabilities that make service dogs a necessity in our lives.
Procuring Service Dogs
The above-mentioned factors are the reason behind the growing popularity of service dogs. And procuring such dogs for your physical and mental support is quite easy as well, provided that you adhere to certain legal prerequisites that revolve around the proceedings. And such prerequisites require you to acquire various documents. One important component amongst these is a doctor’s note for a service dog.
Now, it is quite alright if you are unaware of what a doctor’s note is. Most people don’t. Moreover, don’t be perplexed if you don’t know how to obtain a doctor’s note either. With the help of this article, we will seamlessly guide you through the world of doctor’s notes and help in knowing how to acquire these notes quite easily.
What Is A Doctor’s Note for Service Dog?
It might not have escaped you that a lot of places have a strict no animal policy. These are particularly in locations such as rental houses, flights, restaurants, and such. However, this is just a necessary step which such people need to take in order to deal with people who try to give the owners a hard time. And it is keeping this in mind that, that they ask two prominent questions:
- Is your dog a service dog?
- What significant task does the dog perform for your well-being?
A doctor’s note proves to be highly resources in such situations. A doctor’s note serves as a written affirmation stating your need to be accompanied by your service dog as and when required. In fact, with the help of a doctor’s note for dogs, you also have the required permissions to accommodate your pets even in areas that have a ‘no pets policy
In fact, if your service dog is refused admission even after you have presented the doctor’s note, you could also contact the relevant legal bodies in your area to help you with your case in courts. And that, in essence, is what a doctor’s note does. It provides you with the required documents that legally allows you to own an emotion support animal.
Essential Components for Service Dog Doctor’s Note Template
Before we move over to the other aspects of a doctor’s note, we first need to understand the various components that are involved with it. And this becomes slightly complex when we consider the factor that all such notes are quite different from one another. In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find notes from two different doctors which are exactly similar to one another.
However, there are certain aspects of every doctor’s note which are bound to be the same. These aspects include:
- Title – The title refers to the details which appear at the top of the doctor’s note. Usually, it is with this text that we are able to officiate the doctor’s note. The title used could be anything, ranging from the name of the organization, or terms such as Authorization for Leave, Certification of Medical Record, etc.
- Organization Details – Quite self-explanatory, this section contains the various details of the organization such as the name of the organization, its address, and Pincode. Apart from this, if required, it could also contain the name of the doctor’s department within his organization.
- Contact number for the organization – Beneath the organization details, one or (preferably) two contact numbers are provided. If required, these numbers can be used to contact the organization in cases where people need to verify the validity of the note.
- Date – Again, quite self-explanatory, this section contains the date on which the doctor’s note was drafted.
- The person concerned – This is the section that comes in after the date. It is reserved for the name of the person towards whom the doctor’s note is directed. More frequently, the words “To whomsoever, this may concern” are used, such that the note can be used to refer to a broader audience.
- The letter of permission – Now, this section is the most important section in the entire doctor’s note. It is here that the doctor specifies the entire existing dilemma and provides his approval for the patient to get a service dog. Moreover, it also states the reasons why the said person needs to have his/her service dog on his side at all times. It is this permission that provides the maximum weight on the entire doctor’s note.
- Salutations and signature – Finally, the doctor’s note ends with a section reserved for the salutations and the signature. A lot of times, doctors want to display certain information prominently at the first glance. If there be such a need, this information is provided beneath the signature, preferably in bold.
Approaching A Doctor For A Service Dog
“But am I eligible for a service dog?”
This is quite a common question which every person has while seeking a service dog. And, answering this quite easy as well. However, people tend to complicate the situation a lot.
To be granted a service dog, you need to be a differently-abled person. And the laws surrounding this are quite unclear. For you can be bound to a wheelchair and still not considered a differently-abled person. As a result of this, you need to simply talk to your doctor and find out if you match the criteria for being a differently-abled person.
However, people complicate this because of their inability to talk to their medical examiner. There could be various reasons for this. Perhaps, they feel intimidated by their medical examiner. Or they might be afraid of the judgment that they might receive. Maybe, they don’t put enough faith in their doctor to trust him. However, whatever the case might be it important that you talk to your doctor.
This is because only a doctor will be able to guide and determine your eligibility for a service dog. Once you talk to him, you can help him understand your condition following which you can receive the doctor’s note, if you’re eligible. This step is quite breezy and it will be over in no time.
The Case of An Emotional Support Dog
Up until this point, we were discussing about the various aspects of owning a service dog. However, not every person is eligible to be granted a service dog for their needs. As aforementioned in the last paragraph, you should be legally differently-abled. So, if you’re not legally disabled, you will not be supplemented with a service dog, come what may?
So what should you do, in such cases, when desperately need a companion? Quite simply, you opt for an emotional support dog.
Now, you might be wondering what emotional support dogs are. In layman’s terms, emotional support dogs provide companionship that is formulated as an emotional benefit to an individual who has been afflicted with some emotional disability. With the companionship and support, such emotional support dogs are used to alleviate a person’s condition to a certain extent.
These emotional support dogs are prescribed only by mental health professionals and only when you’re certified to be having some emotional disability.
The Difference Between A Service Dog and An Emotional Support Dog
Now, they might seem quite similar, but service dogs and emotional support dogs are highly different from one another. You might have already encountered one difference in the aforementioned paragraph. Emotional support dogs can only be provided under the permission of a certified mental health professional such as therapists, psychologists, etc.
However, there are a few other differences as well. These are:
- The service isn’t merely a pet or a companion. They are working animals that are physically trained. Conversely, an emotional support dog provides a comforting and calming presence for the owner. They aren’t trained to provide any specific tasks or are directed towards a specific group of people.
- Secondly, it isn’t mandatorily for a service dog to be accompanied by a doctor’s note. Even places with no-pets policy admit service dogs on a no questions asked basis. However, the same cannot be said for emotional support dogs. It is required that you provide a doctor’s note along with them. This is because such animals have been vastly abused in the past.
Apart from these differences, most of the factors of service dogs and emotional support dogs are quite similar.
Dealing With Your Landlord’s No-Pets Policy
If you have ever rented a house, you might be well aware of the fact that not every landlord allows you to keep your own pet. And this particularly becomes a problem when you need to accommodate your emotional support dog or your service dog along with yourself. With your doctor’s note, however, you can easily get your dog admitted into the apartment.
In the event that your dog is a service dog, your landlord must allow admittance, without inquiring directly about your disability. In fact, it is deemed illegal for anyone to ask questions regarding your disability. Moreover, since your dog wouldn’t cause any sort of burden or problem to your landlord, it is all the more important that he allows your dog admittance.
This matter gets slightly stretched out in the case of an emotional support dog. Emotional support dogs aren’t quite a necessity. As a result, landlords tend to ask certain questions and inquire about the reason for the dog’s presence. With the help of your doctor’s note, you can provide enough reason for the landlord of your need for the dog. This is a necessary step, as a lot of individuals often frustrate them with fake excuses for a support dog.
If a landlord denies admittance
even after this, you should approach the relevant legal bodies and seek their help.
Can Your Landlord Charge You For Your Service Dog or Emotional Support Dog?
In plain and simple terms, no! Your landlord cannot charge you to keep your emotional support dog. In fact, if he does so, it could be seen as a direct violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act. However, you are liable and will have to pay for any damages that result from the actions of your dog.
Emotional support dogs and service dogs both play a large role in our well-being. However, there is still a long way to go before research demonstrates the long-term effects of these animals. Be that as it may, having such animals at your side becomes a perfect source of companionship and support as you deal with your issues.