Off-campus students find comfort in emotional support animals

Samantha Benck, Contributing Writer

Students who have gone through a variety of challenges have sometimes found it helpful to register their pets as emotional support animals at their off-campus apartments and houses.

Some of these residences do not allow pets. However, according to the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, landlords are required to accommodate tenants with emotional support animals.

Jack Nelson, a senior business management major, said he went through a life-changing trauma last year. Getting his dog registered as an emotional support animal helped him through it.

“I lost my mom to cancer last year, and I wanted to bring my dog down to school, but my landlord had a no pet policy,” Nelson said. “I heard landlords couldn’t say anything if your dog was a registered emotional support animal, so I went online and figured it out, and Duke lives with me and my buddies now.”

Chloe Gottschalk, a senior communication studies major, said she got her dog, Sadie, because she has anxiety and depression.

“She really does help me emotionally, so I registered her so that no matter where I move to or live she’d be able to come with me,” Gottschalk said.

Gottschalk’s boyfriend’s landlord has a strict no pet policy, but could not restrict Sadie from living in the residence because the dog is registered.

“(The landlord) made me give her a copy of Sadie’s certificate, ID card and a note from my doctor saying she was essential to my emotional well-being,” Gottschalk said.

Eastern alumna Karly Daniel said her emotional support dog, Dude, comforts her and helps with her anxiety.

Because he is a pit bull, Daniel got him registered to be able to take him to different places without having issues.

“It wasn’t hard at all to get him registered either. All I had to do was go online, fill out the paperwork and send in a photo of him,” Daniel said. “Then, they sent back an ID card and vest saying he was a registered emotional support animal.”

Alex Prisco, a special education major, said she got her dog registered as an emotional support animal so he would be allowed in her apartment building because he helps with her anxiety.

She registered her dog, Snickers, on a website, where she answered questions about subjects such as emotional trauma she has experienced.

Danielle Kappel, a therapeutic recreation major, said during her internship at at MacNeal Hospital, her patients and their families always asked about emotional support animals.

“Emotional support animals were a really effective method,” she said.

Samantha Benck can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].