Why Depression Means I Am Allowed a Pet on Campus


“That’s so cool that your dorm lets you have pets!”

“Wow, maybe I can bring my dog here too.”

“Maybe I can convince my doctor to write an accommodation letter too.”

The amount of times I have heard these statements since deciding to get my emotional support animal (ESA) cat is unreal. People have developed a misconception as to her purpose on campus, and why she is even allowed. So, here are a few heads up on why I am allowed to have my wonderful cat on campus:

1. She is here as a form of therapy, not just to be here.

Having another living thing to take care of in the morning is a reason for me to wake up. I can’t lie in bed all day and skip classes because of my depression, or simply sleep all day. I have to wake up to take care of her, and it’s something I gladly do. Unfortunately, waking up to feed myself and simply take care of my basic needs is not enough motivation to wake up, but taking care of her is. If I don’t take care of her, nobody else will. She gives me motivation to live. She loves me unconditionally and on days I can’t see any good in myself, she reminds me I am able to be loved.

2. She is for me, not for everybody else on campus.

My cat is not here for every person on campus to play with when they feel like it. Not that I mind too much, but allowing her to be pet by every person who asks is not her purpose. She is on campus to support me and only me, and she can get overwhelmed if too many people just waltz into my room. I certainly don’t mind if you pet her, but please don’t be offended if I say no.

3. ESAs are not loopholes to get your pet on campus.

One of the qualifying factors to get an emotional support animal is to have a debilitating mental health problem. In my case it is severe major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). So, trust me: I would rather not need to have her to combat my mental health struggles. But, I also have no shame for admitting I need her help. I repeat: I would rather not need this form of therapy but I do in order to function. This is not simply a loophole to smuggle my pet on campus.

Hopefully this addresses some concerns at the validity of ESAs, and also shows the importance of making them available to other people who need them. If you think this form of therapy would help you, please talk with your counselor, psychiatrist, or doctor. The process is long, but very worth it.

“That’s so cool that your dorm lets you have pets!”
“Wow, maybe I can bring my dog here too.”
“Maybe I can convince my doctor to write an accommodation letter too.”

The amount of times I have heard these statements since deciding to get my ESA cat is unreal. People have developed a misconception as to what her purpose on campus is, and why she is even allowed. So, here are a few heads up on why I am allowed to have my wonderful cat on campus.

She is here as a form of therapy, not just to be here.
Having another living thing to take care of in the morning is a reason for me to wake up. I can’t lay in bed all day and skip classes because of my depression, or simply sleep all day. I have to wake up to take care of, and its something I gladly do. Unfortunately, waking up to feed myself and simply take care of my basic needs is not enough motivation to wake up, but taking care of her is. If I don’t take care of her, nobody else will. She gives me motivation to live. She loves me unconditionally and on days where I can’t see any good in myself, she reminds me that I am able to be loved.

She is for me, not for everybody else on campus.
My cat is not here to play with every person on campus to play with when they feel like it. Not that I mind too much, but allowing her to be pet by every person who asks is not her purpose. She is on campus to support me and only me, and she can get overwhelmed if too many people on campus just waltz into my room. I certainly don’t mind if you pet her, but please don’t be offended if I say no.

ESAs are not loopholes to get your pet on campus.
The qualifying factor to get an Emotional Support Animal is to have a debilitating mental health problem. In my case it is severe Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and PTSD. So, trust me, I would rather not need to have her to combat my mental health struggles. But, I also have no shame for admitting I need her help. I repeat, I would rather not need this form of therapy but I do in order to function. This is not simply a loophole to smuggle my pet on campus.

Hopefully this addresses some of people’s concerns at the validity of ESAs, and also shows the importance of making them available to other people who need them. If you think this form of therapy would help you, please talk with your counselor, psychiatrist, or doctor. The process is long, but very worth it.

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