Hi everyone! So today I thought I would do a post about how I was able to bring my dog to college with me. When I was considering bringing him to school, I read SO many people’s articles about the process and their experience with bringing their animals to school. I figured I would write a post about my experience and explain all of the steps that I had to take to bring my dog to college with me.




How I am allowed to have my dog on campus

If you have anxiety, depression, etc, and you and your doctor thinks that having your dog with you can improve your quality of living, you can get your animal registered emotional support animal in order to bring them to campus.

This isn’t some kind of loophole to bring your dog to college though. You have to have a legitimate, documented mental disorder. However, many, many college students have generalized anxiety disorder and depression. So, even if you haven’t been diagnosed with a mental illness before, if you believe that having a pet with you in the dorms would help with your mental state, you should check with your doctor to see if you qualify for an emotional support animal.

Now that you know that, I am going to walk you through the steps that I had to take to bring my dog to campus.

Step #1: See if you qualify

I personally did a lot of research on the web to see if I could qualify to bring my dog to school. I think I just googled something like “if you have anxiety do you qualify for an emotional support animal” or something like that. There are a boat load of articles about it.

You could also ask your doctor if you qualify. If you feel uncomfortable doing that though, there are a lot of websites that have mental health professionals that you can talk to see if you qualify. Always make sure that you’re on a legit website though!

Step #2: Read your college’s policy on emotional support animals

Not every college’s policy is the same regarding the steps to get your animal to campus, but every college in the United States has to allow emotional support animals according to the Fair Housing Act. Make sure to go online and look up your school’s policy on emotional support animals just to get educated on the matter and the steps that you’ll have to take.

Step #3: Email/ meet with your college’s disability coordinator to see what you need to do to bring your dog to school

Emailing the person isn’t absolutely necessary, but for me it made the process go much smoother. I sent her an email that said something to the extent of “Hi, I am considering bringing my Emotional Support Animal to school with me, I’ve read the school’s policy regarding emotional support animals, and I would like to know what steps I need to take next.”

If you choose not to email the person, you could also call them and make an appointment with them and then go meet with them in person.

Step #4: Get documentation from your physician/ therapist

The next step that you have to take is getting documentation from your doctor. They have to write a letter with their letterhead on it to your residence saying that they have prescribed you an emotional support animal. I got my letter from my primary physician, but most of the time people get them from their therapist, psychiatrist, or any other mental health professional. You could also get your documentation from one of those websites that will match you with a therapist. There are a lot of them that are primarily for people looking to get an emotional support animal.

However, do not confuse those websites with ones that will tell you that you need to pay $100 for a certificate to register your animal. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT buy “registration” for your emotional support animal online. There are websites that sell certificates that claim to “register” your animal, but that is completely false. You only need a letter from your doctor.



Step #5: Get your documentation to your college’s disability coordinator

After I got my letter from my doctor, I scanned it and emailed it to my school’s disability coordinator (who I was in contact with throughout the process). You could also just take it to your disability center on campus.

Step #6: Meet with your disability coordinator

This step is basically so that they can talk to you and have you fill out some paperwork. I was so nervous to meet with my school’s disability coordinator. However, I was scared for no reason because it was pretty painless and the disability coordinator was super super nice and friendly. When I told her what my dog’s name is (Dobby) she was like “you have to meet my coworker.” She took me down the hall and introduced me to her coworker who also happened to have a dog named Dobby. So, yeah, moral of the story is to not be nervous or scared to meet with your disability coordinator because, odds are, they are super friendly and understanding.

Step #7: Meet with/ email the residence director

After my appointment with the disability coordinator, she told me that I needed to go meet with the residence director to fill out a little more paperwork. I just emailed mine though, and he emailed me the paperwork. It is basically just to make sure that your animal has been vaccinated and that your roommates are okay with your dog being in the dorm. It is also to get your signature to say that you’re liable if your animal destroys any of the school’s property.

Step #8: Bring your animal companion to campus!

The last step is to go get your animal and bring him/her to campus! Woohoo!

 

Honestly, I’ve felt so much better since having my dog with me in my dorm. It is a struggle at times because having a dog is a lot of responsibility, but nothing compares to coming back from class with someone waiting to snuggle with me and give me endless kisses and love.

If you have any questions about my experience with having my dog on campus with me, feel free to comment below or email me using the “contact” tab at the top of the page!

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