By Kathleen Mooney ‘16
A dog can be that much needed stress relief when an individual is feeling overwhelmed. College can be both the greatest time of your life but also the most stressful. For college students who suffer from anxiety and other ailments, having a dog can be their saving grace. Junior, Nicole Lapierre explains her own experience with living with a dog, “Bean has significantly improved my health and my overall college experience.”
Nicole had done a lot of research on pet therapy and upon reflection with her doctor and they agreed this was the appropriate next step. In order to get Bean on campus Nicole had to get a letter from her therapist which needed to have a signature from her psychiatrist outlining the benefits of this dog. She then had to meet with the head of American’s with Disability Act (ADA) accommodations to discuss all of the details on having a dog on campus. Specifically making sure that all of the roommates have signed off on having Bentley in their room and making sure that they know all of the rules. Bentley is only allowed to stay in Nicole’s room and is not to enter into other people’s rooms. Nicole is in charge of taking care of all aspects of Bentley and that responsibility is not to be given to anyone else. The school makes sure that any room that has a dog is nowhere near a room where an individual has a dog allergy.
Nicole explains her experience as positive one, “He’s a lot of work, but it’s all worth it.” She acknowledges that having Bentley is similar to taking care of a child and is a full time commitment. “Bentley helps me in way more ways than he inconveniences me.” She explains that she has seen a change in her attitude toward life and school just by the school allowing this dog to be on campus. “Bean has significantly improved my health and my overall college experience.”