UCA has recently started allowing students to have therapy pets on campus.
Sophomore Ericka Cannady has a therapy pet, a dog named Winchester. He is a small, black rescue dog that is mixed.
Cannady said Winchester helps her with responsibilities because she has a reason other than herself to get up in the mornings.
She has had him for about a year.
“The ironic thing is I actually don’t like dogs,” she said. “But whenever we rescued Winchester, my dad brought him into the truck he was very calm and scared and he saw me and jumped out of my dad’s arms, I thought he was attacking me, but he plopped into me and sat right down parents said he behaves very poorly when I’m not around.”
Cannady said getting a therapy pet was awkward at first , “
“I know a lot of people who have cats. Walking him around on campus can be uncomfortable sometimes,” she said. “I have had people catch me by surprise. I’ll turn around and then there will be people petting him and I’m like where did you come from.”
Cannady said she didn’t realize the amount of people who have therapy pets. She lives in Short Denney and said she noticed when the fire alarm goes off residents will come outside with kennels.
“He’s been to festivals and I’ve taken him to Walmart once, he behaves really well but the people around us can be a problem,” she said.
In order to bring Winchester on campus Cannady said she started at the UCA Counseling Center. She said after talking to them they recommended a therapy pet.
“What we were planning for was an animal that was trained already. We talked about getting a puppy and then Winchester came along,” she said.
Stephanie McBrayer, Director of Housing and Residence Life said the first step for a student is registering in the Disability Resource Center. “There is a request form and documentation required,” she said. “The form in not on the website but you can probably get a copy by visiting their office in Student Health. After a request is received a committee made up of DRC Director, Counseling Director, Housing Director and Dean of Students meets to review the case and make a decision.”
McBrayer said that students mostly have cats and dogs as therapy pets.
image via www.dogvacay.com