Professor Andrea Kaitany
25 January 2017
After a long day, I laid in bed just letting my mind race asking myself why and keep replaying moments of what ifs over and over in my head. The feeling of a hot blade sitting on my throat approached and streams of water came pouring from my eyes. I felt as if I was a kid and my mom just called me using my whole name and anything I ever did wrong just raced through my head. I was to the point of complete exhaustion, but knew sleep was not going to be an option for me tonight. I sat there trying to count sheep to get my mind to stop for two seconds, but there was no hope. I felt as if an elephant was sitting on my chest and I could no longer breathe normally. As I was sobbing I tried to make it as quiet as possible so I didn’t have to explain to my family exactly why I was crying, because I didn’t know the answer to that myself. I was having my first anxiety attack.
I didn’t know why they started or why it was happening to me, but the first was not my last. After experiencing these attacks for over a month I finally decided to go to therapy. The therapist recommended I get a dog and see how it helped. I had doubt at first that a dog was going to make this better, but little did I know my dog, Koda, was going to change my life. The first night my dog was home with me, I realized how much help he actually was. The signs of my anxiety flared up and I was sobbing mess. Koda ran up to my room and was right by my side, completely there for me. The feeling of not being alone is the biggest thing that helped me. Of course, he can’t talk, but just to have him there with no judgment changed me completely. My anxiety attacks soon became less frequent and when they did happen they were shorter and not nearly as bad as they used to be. Koda provided a safe place where I didn’t feel alone and anytime I needed him he was right there by my side, making sure I was ok. Not only do I get emotional stability from my dog but also unconditional love and I’m thankful he’s such a big part of my life.
In the past decade as the number of people with emotional support animals have increased, businesses such as airplane companies, restaurants, and even universities have become wary of whether people are abusing the laws that protect emotional support animals. For example, in 2010, Kendra Velzen, a student at Grand Valley State University with chronic depression, “planned to attend with her ESA (emotional support animal), a guinea pig named Blanca, but the school balked. Bringing Blanca into the dormitory was against their pet policy” (citied by Sanburn). Cases such as Kendra’s have become more common, but what these businesses are not realizing is that although these disabilities of the ESA owners are not always visible, they are still important and need the attention of their ESA. Emotional support animals need to be recognized as service animals. Anyone who believes they need an ESA, no...