Service Animals * -- Student Health and Counseling complies with all ADA requirements and accepts service animals in the clinic as defined in the ADA 2010.
Emotional Support Animals ** -- Student Health and Counseling does not permit Emotional Support Animals (ESAs)** on site. Emotional Support Animals, sometimes used as part of a treatment plan as therapy animals, are not considered service animals under the ADA. For more information, see "A Message From the Director" below.
* Types of Service Dogs may include, but are not limited to:
**Types of Emotional Support Animals may include, but are not limited to:
In recent years the idea of Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) or Assistance Animals has become very popular. Health services all over the country have received numerous requests from students to write letters stating that they have a mental health or medical condition that would benefit from the presence of an animal. Most often these requests are made by students who report some kind of emotional distress or difficulty adjusting to the environment and would like to be able to have an animal to comfort them in a residence hall or an apartment that typically would not accept pets. It is understandable to want an adorable, fluffy, warm and cuddly creature who is always thrilled to have us around. There is even some research evidence that petting dogs can decrease nervous system arousal, increase serotonin, epinephrine and oxytocin (all feel-good neurochemicals).
But we at SHAC do not prescribe ESAs and we will not issue letters stating that a student needs one. In addition, we do not permit ESAs in the SHAC building in order to protect those with animal allergies or other students who do not respond well to the presence of animals, and to prevent disruptions and distractions in our health care setting and during appointments and treatment procedures. Here are other reasons why we maintain this stance on ESAs:
Please let us know at SHAC if you are experiencing distressing emotional and physical symptoms or if you are having difficulty adjusting to this environment. We are available to assess and treat you using the knowledge, skills, and tools we were trained to use. We truly understand the love and connection we can have with animals, how they benefit us, and many students desires to have one. We simply do not prescribe them.