By Leanna Coy.
Although everyday pets are not allowed at Northwestern State University, you may have noticed a few service and emotional support animals around campus. It is important to note that these animals are registered and do jobs beyond what a normal pet could do. For some students, service animals can make their time in college a lot easier.
Catherine Faucheaux is a licensed counselor that works in the disability services office. She uses Bailey, a therapy dog, as part of her counseling sessions. Faucheaux clarified that emotional support animals are different from service animals.
She said that emotional support animals can help lower anxiety or symptoms of depression. Service animals, however, help a person dealing with physical disabilities—like guide dogs for the blind.
When discussing emotional support animals, Faucheaux emphasized that the process of getting one on campus is lengthy.
“Students must register with disability support and have a diagnosis warranting a need for an emotional support animal,” Faucheaux said.
Paul Bryant, freshman, said he has noticed some of the animals that are on campus.
“I heavily support service animals,” Bryant said. “They really help students a lot.”
Lauren Deville, freshman, lives with Annabelle, her nine-year-old emotional support cat. Deville said the process of being able to have her cat living with her on campus took about three months to finalize.
“A lot of the girls on my side of the dorms like to come and play with her. She loves the attention,” Deville said.
As of this writing, there are less than 10 such animals at NSU.
Photo by Cassandra Phillips.