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5 Ways My Emotional Support Dog Helps Me Get Through College With Depression

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I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder at age 14. I have grown up with dogs all my life, and when I left for college I felt like I was leaving a big part of me at home. Thankfully, my college’s disability resources worked with me and now my dog, Maddy, shares my dorm room with me as my emotional support dog. Here are 5 reasons why she’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Maddy the emotional support dog

1. She gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Not only am I excited to wake up and see her, I literally have to get out of bed. If I didn’t, she’d use my carpet as a toilet.

2. If I don’t take her for a walk, I feel like a bad parent.

Have you ever heard someone say, “exercise eases depression?” Every day, Maddy and I go for a walk on the nature trail near school, and it has become one of my favorite parts of my day.

3. She regulates my schedule.

I have to take her outside every so often, and feed her at certain times. Schedules and consistency are very beneficial for my mood. If I follow a schedule, I rarely have time to sit around with my depression. Schedules keep my mind off of it.

4. She comforts me.

Whenever I feel like things are too much, I can sit on the ground and know that I will have a furry friend there to calm me down.

5. I never feel alone.

As an introvert who often feels lonely, Maddy is the best thing for me. When I’m lonely, I have someone who doesn’t take all the energy out of me.

My dog has done wonders for my depression. She is the best roommate. I can always guarantee that she won’t use all the hot water in the shower.

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Originally published: March 28, 2016
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