Author Topic: Opinions/Advice on ESA?  (Read 687 times)

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Offline sailyn2

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Opinions/Advice on ESA?
« on: August 07, 2017, 09:10:01 PM »
Hey guys,

I used to keep up with the boards a long time ago, but didn't have much cause to ask questions due to my life circumstances. I've always appreciated that people here give honest and as accurate answers to questions as possible.

Anyway, this is my question (sorry a bit long-winded): Short question is ultimately whether people think I'd qualify for an ESA or if I'm overthinking it. And advice for my conundrum if so.

So to start with, I have bipolar and OCD and I cycle a couple of times a year. Major changes in my life are big triggers for cycles (especially depression). In the past this has lead to hospitalizations. The majority and most severe of these have been at times when I did not have a pet in my life. For the past few years I've had pets back in my life and also joined a job focused around animals. I feel this has been a major factor in reducing the severity of depression. Before I would miss work or break down easily.

When I wasn't working, I'd stay in bed all day, either eat too much or not enough, withdraw from friends and family, obsess over negative thoughts/become overcome with anxiety. Having dogs and cats in my life has given me something else to focus on. My anxiety is decreased. Having animals in my life has allowed me to cope better with changes. I keep up with exercise walking my dog and use goals on training to focus on when I don't want to get out of bed. I can cope with work and miss a lot fewer days even in my depressive phases.

I currently have a Husky. Having housing has never been an issue, so specifically labeling my dog an ESA has never come up. However, there is a fairly decent chance that in the next 6-12 months that my husband will be transferred to Saipan (rabies free island near Guam and multiple plane flights from my current home). We are fortunate enough that it's unlikely we would need look at housing that would require an ESA exemption, but it's the plane flights and facing quarantine in Hawaii (per Saipan's rules) that have made this come up. I'm generally fine with short flights, but longer flights are a problem. More to the point, given the upheaval I'll likely be experiencing with such a major change, having my dog with me might make things easier as we head to our destination.

So, to start with, does this sound like my dog would qualify as an ESA? I won't be offended whatever the answer. I'm looking for the honest opinions of you guys with a lot of experience in this.

If so, would he qualify for a plane flight for my needs?

And if so, how realistic is it for a ESA to fly on 5-7 hour flights? There'd be multiple, but I'd plan on a couple of days in between to give him a break.

He has not been trained for hours long down-stays, but we're working on longer intervals. Does anyone have suggestions for this other than slowly building up time intervals?

Does anyone have experience with the quarantine in Hawaii (if anyone does, I'd appreciate info whether he ends up flying in cabin or not)? I've read the checklist and requirements, but didn't quite understand the full details of the 5-day-or-less quarantine. I know it's a long process that I'd go ahead and start now whether we end up moving or not.

Thanks for any opinions and advice. : )

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Opinions/Advice on ESA?
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2017, 12:12:54 AM »
As for whether you qualify for an ESA, that's up to the doctor or other medical professional who is treating you for mental illness.  It's not a call any of us can make.  What matters is whether your mental health care provider believes you are disabled by your condition and whether they believe the presence of the animal is a necessary part of your mental health care.

Hawaii does not fast track ESAs or non-ADI service dogs through quarantine but this doesn't matter much since it's only a few days difference.  Last time I checked, you could cut down the 120 days quarantine to maybe a couple of days if you had FAVN paperwork.  It's the possible couple of days you can get out of but only if you have an ADI certified dog and only if you plan your arrival carefully to be when there is a quarantine officer on duty to review your paperwork.

Here's more info on travel to Hawaii:  http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/ai/aqs/animal-quarantine-information-page/
Note the email address given on that page for any questions concerning animal import to Hawaii.

Please note:  You may need to arrange to have the FAVN test done several months before scheduled travel.  There is no exemption from the FAVN requirements for service dogs or ESAs.

I don't know if Hawaii currently allows ESAs to enter the state in the cabin of the aircraft.  That's something you'd have to check with that email address.  Because they are rabies-free, possibly they can require them to enter as cargo.  I do not know for sure either way.

If your dog isn't already used to holding 7 hour down stays then in all honesty I think he'd probably be more comfortable traveling in a crate where he'd have a little more room and the ability to stand up and turn around as often as he needs to remain comfortable.  That's assuming he's crate trained, and he really should be with either option because either way he's doing to be rather confined and needs to be used to it and comfortable with it.
Kirsten and Tardis
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"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous -- is his dog." -George G. Vest

Offline Suse

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Re: Opinions/Advice on ESA?
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2017, 09:38:33 PM »
After getting the letter from your doctor you might consider avoiding Hawaii.  There must be other ways to get to Saipan.

Offline philopsher77

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Re: Opinions/Advice on ESA?
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2017, 01:08:50 AM »
After getting the letter from your doctor you might consider avoiding Hawaii.  There must be other ways to get to Saipan.

A brief google seems to say that the pet has to be quarantined in either Guam, Honolulu, or Saipan.  And from what I have read, Hawaii is the best bet of those three.

Offline philopsher77

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Re: Opinions/Advice on ESA?
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2017, 01:53:10 AM »
You may also want to give some thought as to whether a husky is going to be comfortable in Saipan.  Average temp is between 73-88, and the average humidity apparently ranges between muggy, oppressive, and miserable.  I'm thinking a dog that has been bred to survive in severely cold weather may find the climate difficult to handle.

Offline Solace

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Re: Opinions/Advice on ESA?
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2017, 03:43:01 AM »
I don't see anything that says that Hawaii requires a dog to be ceritified through ADI to be fast tracked. Also why would they be exempt from ESA laws that have to be followed in every other state?

http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/ai/aqs/animal-quarantine-information-page/guide-service-dogs-entering-hawaii/

Offline ccunnin3

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Re: Opinions/Advice on ESA?
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2017, 06:42:51 AM »
I just flew to Hawaii with my non-ADI service dog. We were able to get on the fast track with enough advance notice. There was also an ESA on the flight with me. When we arriced at the airport someone from quarentine met us at the gate and escorted us directly to the quarentine facility. So an ESA should be able to fly in.
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Offline Solace

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Re: Opinions/Advice on ESA?
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2017, 12:30:09 PM »

Offline sailyn2

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Re: Opinions/Advice on ESA?
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2017, 08:05:20 PM »
Thanks for all the info, guys! I work for a vet and am already making plans to do what I can of the 5-day-or-less checklist. Whether this happens or not is still up in the air dependent on my husband's job, but it'd likely be at least 5-6 months from now so I have time to plan. I currently live in a climate that is often similar so he's used to it (though I'm very careful to monitor him). He's crate/kennel trained and is in a crate to and from my job every day and just sleeps the whole time. He's been on multi-hour car trips as well. So not quite the same as being in a plane by himself for a long-flight, but you do have a strong argument for that direction.

For those that have gone through Hawaii, does doing everything for the 5-day-or-less program mean a possibility of not staying in physical quarantine for any days at all? Also, they mention needing Frontline or something equivalent (not Revolution) as a requirement. Any idea if Bravecto or Vectra would count? (I'm happy to email them directly if no one knows offhand.)

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Opinions/Advice on ESA?
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2017, 09:40:18 PM »
It's possible Hawaii's policies have continued to change.  Around 10 years ago you couldn't bypass the 120 day quarantine even for a guide dog and the best you could hope for was that you could be quarantined with your guide in a cottage on the quarantine grounds (space available basis).  There was a lawsuit that forced them to accept the UK standard which allowed people to bypass quarantine with a FAVN.

The last time I looked at it in depth, they were ignoring ESAs and any non-ADI service dogs.

Someone asked how could they do that.  Well because neither the ADA note the ACAA is absolute.  Both are based on the concept of "reasonable accommodation" not "every accommodation."  The citizens of Hawaii have a public interest in keeping their island state rabies free. 

The legal case was brought by NFB against the state of Hawaii to determine the balance point between the competing interests of disabled partners to be able to freely and independently move about the state and the interest of the state in remaining rabies free.  And it was made clear to the NFB at the time that the state would throw any amount of money necessary to fight it unless they dropped non-guides from the suit, so that's what NFB did.  But they did get it started.  Smaller concessions were made gradually after that.
Kirsten and Tardis
In loving memory of Cole (1/11/99 - 6/26/12)  He gave me back my life.

"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous -- is his dog." -George G. Vest

Offline Suse

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Re: Opinions/Advice on ESA?
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2017, 09:47:39 PM »
I am puzzled. What does ADI have to do with ESA?

Offline Suse

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Re: Opinions/Advice on ESA?
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2017, 09:49:35 PM »
Glad to hear Hawaii has relaxed it's policies!