Using animals as a form of rehabilitative therapy or treatment for a mental health disorder has been becoming increasingly common again in recent years. The practice of using an animal in health and wellness treatments dates back to the late 1700s. However, as people become more socially conscious, the practice has become popular once more.
When it comes to getting an Emotional Support Animal, most pet owners lean toward our fellow mammalian friends. Bird lovers, however, might prefer something a little different. You can click here to find out Everything You Need To Know About ESAs, but for now, let’s focus on our feathered friends.
When it comes to pet ownership, birds are quite different from owning a dog or a cat. They can be extremely high maintenance and prone to expensive health issues. While one may wish for a talking parrot due to childhood dreams of being a pirate captain, many birds (parrots included) never learn to talk and squawk loudly instead.
That being said, birds are intelligent creatures. A well-cared-for bird can learn to complete puzzles, sing songs, do tricks, and even speak. They offer a unique form of companionship, unlike the more popular furry pets.
Like mammalian pets, birds require attention, affection, and entertainment or they will become agitated or morose. Playing and interacting with a bird, in addition to a nutritious diet, is of the utmost importance to keep it happy and healthy.
Before getting a bird, consider the following:
- Do you have the time to pay adequate attention to this animal? Like cats, birds feel as though they are your owners and not the other way around.
- Do you have the time for the dirty work, like cleaning the cage, regular feedings, and assisting with grooming?
- Have you considered their lifespan? Some breeds of birds can live for an exceptionally long time, perhaps even longer than you!
- Do you have a pet? While it is possible to have a bird and other pets in the same home, Tweety Bird and Sylvester the Cat’s relationship wasn’t too far off the mark in some cases.
- Are you ready for the noise? If you’re thinking of getting a bird because it must be quieter than a barking dog, think again.
- Can you afford to own a bird? Birds themselves are costly to buy. They require vets with avian training, which can be extra costly.
- What kind of bird do you want? Some birds are smaller and easier to care for than others. Some are aggressive and dislike children. Others are very sensitive to their surroundings. Be sure to do your research before picking the right bird for you.
Birds as Emotional Support Animals
In terms of registration and taking advantage of the offerings of an Emotional Support Animal, birds are absolutely allowed. Their effectiveness, however, may not be as cut and dry. If you are a lifelong bird lover, it makes sense for you to own a bird and form an emotionally supportive connection with him or her. Alternatively, if you’re more attracted to cats or dogs, it makes sense to choose one of those animals.
Practicality-wise, a bird is easy to maintain in a small space. Cage size should be reflective of the breed contained within and cleaned on a daily basis. If space is limited, a smaller bird should be considered over a larger breed. With proper registration, you should have no trouble keeping a bird in a rental with an anti-pet rule.
One of the benefits of having a registered Emotional Support Animal is the ability to take them on commercial flights. Despite the fact that you will be on a machine that is reminiscent of your feathered friend, birds usually aren’t allowed on commercial airlines. While the peacock ESA story in the news recently was a bit extreme, the resulting rules and guidelines put in place have made things more challenging for smaller ESAs as well.
Regardless of which type of bird you choose for your ESA, remember to be kind to your fine feathered friends, and they, in turn, will give you the support you need.