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Fascinating example of a dog might go into a space and check that space out and then come back to it , it’s human and say it’s okay. I’ve checked it out and that that might actually be a way to help mitigate the symptoms of a specific disability , correct . Let’s go to Marcus calling in from Wheelock Marcus .
Hi , Jane. But I am a graduate of Vermont Technical College and obviously we’re not allowed to have animals in our dorm rooms but down to befriending the residential director who an individual who is in charge of the overseeing of each individual dorm . They lived on campus for time and they had 2 cats and being someone who found taking are preparing for tests and in exams really stressful . It was really nice , being able to go over and you know knock on their door and say , I’m really you know I’m stressed out and having that stress relief of having a cat or if they had a dogged I would been fine , too , but you know the emotional stuff they can provide for students invaluable and it just pumping out . I feel like you know college campuses around Patrick should really look at more .
Marcus. Thanks for sharing that perspective appreciate hearing it and we’ll get another one here from Jordan who’s calling in from Indiana I Jordan .
Hi , yeah , so I’m a recent graduate of St Michael’s College and I just wanted to add. As a student having the approved emotional support animals around actually changed the atmosphere of how it’s been for us because walking home after classes if it was a bad day and you were just walking alone . It was a little rough , but when he saw the animal like specifically dogs they could really put a smile on your face to make that day a little brighter . It’s actually for community there . So for me , I mean we knew all the names of the support animal or D emotional support animals that are owners and just having them around really made things easier especially when even for us individually had rough times going out for us .
Jordan things. Yeah , thanks for sharing that appreciate hearing it as somebody who you know , didn’t have an emotional support animal yourself , but that this actually provided a benefit to you just having the proximity of you know a dog that you could hold and Marcus saying the same thing from an experience at a different college and and Ellen went . I mean we do hear of colleges and high schools , and other places . Bringing in , you know , a bunch of dogs before exam time so people can pet the dogs and there studies that show for example elementary schoolchildren reading to dogs can be feel like a safer space than reading to a human . So this idea of having this emotional support whether it’s somebody who’s actually going through the process of registering an emotional support animal on campus are not that having these animals . He’s perhaps around can be can be beneficial can also you know there’s a downside to it for other students . But can be really beneficial for students who are in a stressful environment .
Oh , absolutely. And we do past couple of years anyway . Right before exam time have organized having some I think Vermont therapy dogs or an organization will bring a few animals then into our student center and we advertise and students come in . I’ve walked out of my office and students at laying in the middle of the floor with the dog licking their face in it absolute I’m a dog-owner I get it . I get it , but it is that balance right if someone absolutely need it for support for success . We’re going to support that , but we can’t just have everybody bringing a pet . But knowing the impact and how that might help others who don’t have , we’re right there , I mean you know and we will support that I was thrilled to hear that story just I didn’t know it was going to be a good or a bad back then but I’m I’m I’m happy that he had a great experience with that .
Why do you think there is a rise in emotional support animals and and your experiences here on a college campus so specific to campus environments or just thinking in our culture. This idea of having an emotional support animal that is more than just you know , anybody who has a because Pat provides them . You know that the love that they want but that this is something that people are saying actually I need this for my well being . To be in this environment , on a college campus , or you know , wherever it may be why is this happening .
Well , I’m not an expert on this that they’ve been in this field for 30 plus D years and where I what what makes most sense to me is social media and in use of phones and how we communicate now as a culture and and our our our college-aged students and how they communicate that’s a piece of it right and we hear all types of research around that also , but from my experience , the level of achievement and drive to go to the best school to take to be in all a student it. The drive is remarkable to me , no I I don’t know , I went to graduate school . You know , I was in school for a long time and if I get a be I was okay . I was really happy I learned something even I’m said to students I see is okay , but that’s not acceptable for some students in that in that in and of itself the anxiety around that . Never mind , what’s going on in our world , right , and you can get media news any time of day at your fingertips . We know what’s happening across the world at a moment’s notice that impacts that impacts us even if we don’t even know it’s impacting us because it’s constant , constant information flow .
So. So this idea of a stressful world and and Karen , what do you think , I mean , beyond the college campus environment . Why is this something that we’re seeing more .
I think it’s a combination of things. First , the law requires it . So the Fair Housing Act requires that housing entities make reasonable accommodations to allow for assistance animals or emotional support animals if there is a connection between the person’s disability and the need for that animals , so some of this is being legally driven and on college campuses legally driven by decisions from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and possibly the courts that college I dormitories are included in that definition of housing because it’s a dwelling for purposes of the law . So I think it’s that I also think if you look around society generally we have become a much more pat oriented and pet-friendly society just although the rise in the numbers of businesses that’s sell things related to pets and the rise in the number of hotels and motels around the country that allow night just service animals but Pat’s in hotels when I was traveling 20 years ago there were very few and now almost all will allow pets . So I think it’s just a change in society .
Well , I appreciate both of you helping to us helping us to explore this issue today and obviously more to talk about. But just as sort of a starter courses was a really great conversation to have with both of you Karen Richards is executive director of the Vermont Human Rights Commission , John Allen Wood is vice president for student life at St Michael’s College in Colchester . Thanks very much . Thank you . Thank you for having me coming up episode 4 of APRs short run podcast series jolted is out today looking at the gun laws that were passed in the wake of the arrest of Jack Sawyer , we’ll look at the legal challenges that have already been mounted against these new laws . This is from Aunt addition .
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