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Campus Celebrities: Tilly and Eva, A Puppy Perfect Match

Names: Eva “Tilly’s Mom” Kerman & Matilda “Tilly” Kerman

Year: Barnard 2016

Major: Psychology

Minor: Biology


Hometown: North Haven, CT & Buffalo, NY

Can you tell Her Campus Barnard readers why you decided to get an Emotional Support Animal? 

I have suffered from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) for as long as I can remember and, during my first year of college, was also diagnosed with a panic disorder. My anxiety got so bad that I was having trouble keeping up with my school work and was not able to participate in social activities. I eventually realized that when I was home, busy with my family and the comfort of my parents’ dog, I did not have nearly as many panic attacks and my general anxiety seemed to be more manageable. The distraction of having a pet allowed me to channel all my attention in taking care of my dog instead of allowing my thoughts to lead me into a panic attack. My psychiatrist and my parents agreed that I was at the point where an Emotional Support Animal may be a great tool to control and treat my anxiety. 

Where did you get Tilly and why did you choose her? 

I adopted Tilly from Carolina Poodle Rescue, a rescue group based in South Carolina. Carolina Poodle Rescue comes to New York City twice a year for a big adoption event, and I met the director (Donna Ezzell) and some of the staff when they were here in April 2015. I expressed my interest in an emotional support animal to Donna, and she made it a goal to find me the perfect dog. I needed a small, hypoallergenic, quiet dog that was lazy so I would not feel guilty leaving her alone in the room when I was in class. I needed the dog to get along with other dogs and people of all ages. In early June, Donna contacted me saying that they had obtained 27 dogs from a hoarding situation and many of the dogs fit my description. I decided to fly to South Carolina and ended up flying back with this funny little yorkie. 

Why did I choose her? I didn’t. Honestly. She chose me. She followed me around and kept jumping on my lap to sleep. 

A lot of people might find owning a dog more stressful. How does Tilly help you cope with anxiety?

Owning a dog definitely adds certain stressors. For example, last week, Tilly had to be put under anesthesia to have three teeth removed since they were rotting from her being malnourished before I adopted her. However, my panic attacks were the most crippling part of my anxiety issues, and Tilly really helps me stop them. Whenever I start feeling one come on, I make sure to take her on a walk, give her a bath, or do something that takes the focus off myself and gives all my attention to her. 

What do you love most about owning a dog?

I love waking up to her snuggled up against me. Tilly loves to sleep right up by my head and she usually ends up sleeping sideways, taking up most of the bed. She may look little, but this girl loves sleeping all stretched out. But seriously, I love waking up to her since she usually refuses to wake up and then eventually starts licking me and trying to play.

Tilly in one word?


A favorite memory you have of Tilly?

I’ll never forget meeting her. I was supposed to be helping show a family different dogs up for adoption at Carolina Poodle Rescue, but she kept jumping on the couch and onto my lap and going to sleep. The woman who was looking to adopt a dog ended up telling me that she wasn’t interested in her because it was clear that she was meant to be my dog

Do you have any advice for future dog owners?

ADOPT! I grew up with dogs but had never owned a rescue dog. Rescue dogs will change your life. Many of them have overcome hardships, but they are able to readjust. Every rescue dog is unique, but I really recommend going to a place like Carolina Poodle Rescue because they really take the time to get to know their dogs and will help you make a perfect match.

Are you planning on getting any other pets or maybe another dog in the future?

I am thinking about adopting a second dog this summer, once I graduate. Tilly loves to play with other dogs, and I think another dog would help her to be more confident. When she is around other dogs, she is much more playful, outgoing, and will play with toys. When she is alone, she is much more shy and not interested in toys. In addition, I would love to get some reptiles some day. I love animals and am very intrigued by bearded dragons and cool reptiles. 

Also, I’ve always wanted a baby monkey.

Want some more cute puppy pics? Look no further! 

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Lily Morris

Columbia Barnard

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