How Calypso the Cat Got To Attend Arcadia
Living on a college campus comes with its stressors. Alongside classes, work, and your loud neighbor playing Katy Perry on full blast, it can be daunting to live on your own. The good thing is Arcadia is dedicated to making its students feel at home and makes sure those who need extra support get it! With Arcadia’s Emotional Support Animals policy, students who need a service animal on campus can do so.
I sat down with Seren Grow, a second-year resident student who lives in Thomas Hall, to talk about their experiences with an ESA (emotional support animal) and getting approval. While the usual process is to get documentation from a mental health professional first, Seren started with making sure their cat, Calypso, met the size requirements.
“To get Calypso, first I had to go through the disabilities office on campus and make sure she fit the criteria they had.”
There are guidelines that dictate what kinds of animals are allowed on campus. According to guidelines on the Arcadia website, the animal’s size has to fit the living space, and “in traditional halls, this typically means the animal’s crate or cage must fit in the student’s room,”, as stated on the website. Though keep in mind only students with single dorms can obtain an ESA.
Approval for animals such as reptiles, rodents, and hamsters may be slightly tricky to obtain. “.. many reptiles and rodents may be rejected because of safety and health concerns, as they can carry zoonotic diseases posing a threat to the community,” state the website guidelines.
After finding out if your animal even fits the criteria, the most important step is to receive mental health documentation from your mental health provider. “Alongside making sure she fit the guidelines, I had to get a note from my therapist describing a need for an emotional support animal,” said Seren. All the steps for obtaining a note for your ESA are listed on the Arcadia website, but be sure to meet with your mental health practitioner to further explore your options.
The greatest thing about having an ESA on campus is the warmth of a fluffy friend to help you on the toughest of days. The extra support really goes a long way, especially for Seren.
“I live in Ohio, so I don’t go home for Thanksgiving break. It can be lonely at times, but Calypso really helps with that,” Seren says with a smile. Seren does a wonderful job of making sure Calypso gets the care she deserves, and in return, Calypso makes sure Seren is taken care of, too! “Sometimes when I’m sad she’ll come in for cuddles, and she seems to know exactly when I need her support. So you can’t help but feel the love.”
Arcadia offers many services to assist with mental health and other needs in addition to emotional support animals. But if you’re in need of a furry friend for emotional support or due to an illness or disability, you can find more information and forms for the request and approval process on the Arcadia University website.
The important thing is you seek help if you need it.