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College Girls and Emotional Support Animals

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

College girls are seemingly flocking to animal shelters to adopt furry friends. From my time on campus, I’ve seen these pets range from dogs to cats, even to a large lop-eared bunny on a leash. So why are so many college girls adopting nowadays? And what benefits do these animals serve for their fellow humans? 

I asked a few Temple students, who have these “emotional support” pets, about what it takes to balance school life, work life, and managing care for a pet. Anne, a senior at Temple University, adopted a dog in September 2021. When I asked her why she wanted to adopt, especially while pursuing a degree, she mentioned how getting a dog would add both structure and companionship to her life.  

“Having a dog changed my routine, it gave structure to my day. Now, I have to take [my dog] out for walks multiple times a day which means I’m always getting out of the house… Taking care of her helps me take care of myself in a lot of ways, too. As someone who needs structure in my daily routine, having a dog gives me that each day.” 

Having pets as college students can create rigidity in one’s routine. It teaches students to become responsible adults and to take care of someone other than themselves. In order to take care of a pet, you need to be financially stable enough to buy products they need, such as food, litter, medicine, and vet visits, for example. In many ways, it prepares students for adulthood by teaching them how to manage money to support their pets.  

When I asked another student, Lilly, who adopted a cat early last year as well, she said how having a cat brings her “a little bit of fun each day.” 

“After coming home from class, its really fun having my cat greet me at the door… She makes my days better.”  

Not only do pets provide stability and structure, but they also provide care and companionship. Although college can be filled with fun activities and socializing, it can also be a lonely time. Having a pet is like having a friend who will always be there for you. You rely on them sometimes as much as they rely on you.  

Now, while walking around campus, I have a better understanding of why I am seeing so many college girls out and about walking their dogs. Having pets while in college provides them with emotional support, and it teaches them about adulthood.  

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Faith Walter

Temple '24

Temple University 2024 Community Development and Sustainable Food Systems