The American Kennel Club defines an Emotional Support Dog as a dog that has been “prescribed by a licensed mental health professional to a person with a disabling mental illness”.
So while on some level all dogs provide an emotional connection, a Support Dog is just an even more special dog. In some handler’s cases, exceptionally special.
Providing an outlet for anxiety and easing the pain of depression, the Support Dog is a dog with a job. Waking up bright and early and demanding attention the second their eyes snap open, Support Dog’s are truly one of a kind.
Once a mental health professional has prescribed a Support Dog, the hunt for a dog is about the same as searching for a normal dog.
Student’s who are looking for a Support Dog might have to take a hard look at the price of owning a dog, since Support Dogs aren’t an all-paid expense. One can find online draw-ups of the cost of owning a dog, and below is an in-depth look at the cost of a Support Dog:
|Initial Adoption Fee (from a shelter)||$25-$50|
|First year Shots (if owning a puppy)||$500|
|First year of flea/heartworm medication||~$100|
|Multiple charging cables (eaten)||$60|
|Vet Bill When They Drink Mop Water||$160|
|Multiple single pairs of shoes (only partially eaten)||~$100|
|One year of food||$600, depending on size (of dog)/quality (of food)|
While a student with an Emotional Support Dog might benefit from multiple walks in the park (with the endorphin boost and gained Vitamin D a great perk for those clinically depressed), owning a dog as a student isn’t a walk in the park at all.
Raising a puppy for the first time can prove to be absolutely maddening, especially if one forgoes professional training. With potty training alone taking up to 4 months to get down owning a Support Dog can be a little crappy at times.
But once student and Support Dog mix it’s hard to stop a dynamic team. The stress of college life alone is hard on every student, and one in need of an Emotional Support Animal can find themselves really struggling with a crippling mental illness.
Having a Support Dog to wake them up at a decent time (no more depression naps) and let them feel comfortable in public spaces and around other people can make a world of difference for a student in need.
So at the end of the day having a study partner (or a bar patio partner) makes all the lost Vans and laptop cables worth it for a student at William Peace University.