Do you need an emotional support animal?

Kalen Stanford, Courier Staff

Typically, when college students hear the words “emotional support animal,” they think of that person they know that is way too attached to their pet. You would assume people throw around that title just so they can have their beloved pets with them at school. What they may not realize is that even without the title on them, that is what pets do for all of us. Even if you do not have some sort of mental health issue going on, your dog, cat, bunny, whatever it may be, still provides you with emotional support and comfort. Having a pet during college, in my opinion, is vital.

In my experience of having my ESA on campus with me, I found that it really helped me push myself to do the things that I really did not want to do. Having depression often puts me in my bed, unwilling to do just about anything. Having said that, my cat was literally a lifesaver when I lived in the dorms, and continues to be even off campus. Having another being that relies on me to live really puts things into perspective. When I am feeling down and unable to do the things I need to do, I remember that unless I want my beloved cat to pass away or get sick, etc., I need to be responsible and take care of her. This is why she is so important, and why I think having a pet with you during college is crucial.

When finals come around, it is good to have a “built-in” stress reliever in your home. Even if you just have to pick the animal up and cuddle with it for a few minutes, it can really help. Having pets can be a big responsibility, but it can benefit you in ways you would never expect.

Everyday life is also stressful, especially in college. There is constant stress about homework, quizzes and tests. I think it is always good to have an animal you can come home to and just spend some time with to relieve the everyday stresses in your life. If you do not feel comfortable owning a pet, maybe volunteer at the animal shelter so you can interact with the homeless animals. Another option would be to make a friend who has an animal, especially if you do not feel that you are responsible enough for one of your own.

Overall, having a pet in college is necessary in my eyes. They really help you cope with college and every emotion that it can bring to the table. Having a cute animal that you get to come home to every day can really help you in the four years you are here at school. The stress that college brings is often too much, and we all need an escape from that sometimes. Please think about adopting an animal from your local shelter!