Emotional Support Animals — How They Impact OC Students’ Lives

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Many students on Olivet’s campus have their own emotional support animal (ESA). Senior DJ Vore said, “ESAs are animals that help aid with mental health issues and much more. I decided to get my ESA, Prue, when I got diagnosed with anxiety and depression.”

DJ added that his cat is currently three-years-old, and that he chose to get a cat because he wanted to get an animal that required a small amount of upkeep but could still provide him with the love and attention that he needs.

Junior Graci Dack said, “For me, my emotional support animal gives me something to take care of which forces me to get up and take care of myself every day as well. I decided to get an ESA because I have always had a cat growing up, and whenever I am just lying in my bed happy or sad, having that companion is reassuring and less lonely. I also have a hard time falling asleep, especially when I’m alone, and having my cat cuddle me every night helps me to relax.”

Taylor Norton’s Emotional Support Animal, Freddie

Senior Taylor Norton said that the process she had to go through in order for her to have her ESA, Freddie, also a cat, on campus consisted of her communicating with Joey Shepherd, director of first-year transition support and academic accommodations. “Joey gave me the paperwork, which I had to go through and fill out. To be approved, you must have your doctor, physician assistant or another medical professional recommend that you have an ESA and fill out paperwork for you. After you finish the paperwork, you are then required to have various meetings with staff members on campus to be approved. I was able to complete the paperwork and meetings during the summer, so Freddie was able to come to campus with me in the fall,” Taylor added.

Taylor expressed that she believes allowing students to have ESAs on campus is important because there are students who truly need them. “People on the outside looking in may not see the impact that an ESA has had on an individual, but having an ESA can make day-to-day life easier for students. Many people view an ESA as just being a pet, but they are much more than that. I have dealt with negative comments about having an ESA, but those comments are outweighed by the positive impact my ESA has had on my time at OC and life,” she said.

DJ said that he believes a student would choose to come to Olivet if they thought they may need an ESA because this campus is a small community where everyone is able to feel comfortable bringing an animal. “Dorms have small common rooms for interactions and anywhere on campus is a perfect outdoor area for animals to play or go on walks. Campus is also quiet, and the town doesn’t have much traffic, so that would be another benefit as well,” DJ added.

Learn more about The University of Olivet by contacting the Office of Admission at 800-456-7189 or admissions@uolivet.edu.

This piece was written by Julia Bidelman, a senior majoring in media production and communication. She serves as an intern in the marketing and communications department and is especially interested in social media. After graduation, Julia plans to continue her work as a content creator, photographer and social media manager, and she hopes to work in the field of social media for a small business or nonprofit organization.


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