I vividly remember the time when I was seven years old, and my siblings and I thought we were on our way to get burgers at a restaurant. We were in the car for four hours in traffic, and I was getting impatient. Then, we turned off the highway and into a neighborhood. I was confused, but I hopped out of the car and I saw him.
My eyes saw the small and fluffy puppy. He had curly ears and mostly black fur with touches of white and brown. I held him in just one hand and he cuddled with me. I had never been more happy; I knew I had just met my best furry friend.
For kids, nothing makes them smile more than animals. Therapy dogs, for example, are trained to help people in many ways. The dogs benefit students in classrooms. That’s why emotional support animals would help kids in schools who struggle with many issues and stressors. Kids with anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, memory problems, pain management and problem-solving difficulties feel more comfortable and social with animals around. A recent national survey of adolescent mental health found that about 8 to 10 percent of teens ages 13 to 18 have an anxiety disorder (The Benefits of Therapy Dogs in Classrooms and on College Campuses).
One example where these animals are already used is Landmark College in Vermont. It therapy dogs who alternate duties on campus. Students claim the dogs have been helpful (Therapy Dog Program).
Animals can help students with socializing, increasing self-esteem, and learning. When kids interact with the animals, they are happier and more productive in school. Emotionally, this interaction with the dog and other people helps the kid feel comfortable and reduces anxiety and depression. Therapy dogs can also help with trauma and life after a tragedy. For example, therapy dogs were used when twenty students and six adults passed away during a school shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Family and friends of the victims claimed that petting the dogs gave them relief and comfort (Comfort dogs help ease pain of mourning Newtown community).
Many emotional support animals are dogs, but some people choose other types of animals for support. For example, an alligator named Wally was approved by his owner’s doctor in Pennsylvania as another option instead of taking medicine for depression (People Are Taking Emotional Support Animals Everywhere. States Are Cracking Down). Imagine how great it would be for students to also meet fun animals!
In the end, emotional support animals have many benefits for students, which is why we need them in schools.