At DelVal, students have become accustomed to the sight of beautiful sunsets across our quiet campus, often illuminated by students with their furry friends at each day’s end. It has become the norm for students to see dogs lounging or playing with their owners as the day’s responsibilities come to a close. However, the pets aren’t always here solely for leisure. Having a pet on campus is one of many disability accommodations that our school has to offer.
For Kasper Strunk, having his cat “Kalli” on campus is a big comfort.
“Kalli is very comforting to have, and makes me feel a lot better when I’m going through something, or just stressed in general,” Struck said. “She also just makes me even happier when I’m already doing good.”
While DelVal is open and accommodating to anyone looking to bring their pup on Campus, students must go through the school’s “Student Disability” process in order to be eligible for a full-time service animal. A student must be able to present what the service animal at hand does to accommodate said individual’s disability according to DVU’s official website. Additionally, it is important for the student to clarify the training the animal has gone through to aid in said ailments.
Strunk said that DelVal made the ESA process “pretty easy.”
“(That) is obviously good, as the whole point is to limit stress, not cause more with a strenuous process,” said Strunk, who needed a doctor’s letter and to get Kallie certified along with vaccines and vet forms.
However, the process does not end with the student’s needs, but also the animal’s as well. For a student to have a service animal, our school makes it a requirement that the service pup also has constant supervision regardless of off-campus activities. This means that a service animal cannot be left unattended regardless of the circumstance.
Additionally, emotional support animals are allowed within the campus. However, due to lack of federal and state registry, it is important that students submit this request to the University’s Emotional Support Animal Information and Agreement Form. Due to this, it is to be expected that emotional support animals will not be allowed within classroom environments with exception to certain circumstances.
“There’s not really anywhere I can’t take Kalli that I really wish I could take her,” Strunk said. “She prefers to be in my room anyway except for rare occasions when she wants to go on a walk outside.”
While there is this stark difference in where emotional support and service animals are allowed to go, DVU prides itself in accommodating students in order to perform to their highest ability. However, it is important for those interested in these services to contact the school prior to arranging your furry friend’s arrival. If you feel that a service animal can benefit you, additional information needed is accessible by DVU’s website under the “Student Disability Accommodation Policy” form.
Overall, both Strunk and Kalli have settled into campus life.
“I live on campus with Kalli in Samuel Hall, and I have no complaints,” Strunk said. “She seems to like it, and I’ve managed to find room for all of her things, plus she likes my roommate, so there’s nothing bad about it.”