I know how stressful vet school can be, and having an emotional support animal has helped many vet students with depression, anxiety, and overall stress. I had an emotional support pet that helped me to survive vet school in so many ways. Emotional support changes our lives and makes a positive impact in our daily routines.
Studies have shown that support animals can give a person with depression hope and a sense of purpose. When we attended vet school, we unconsciously get immersed into a vet school bubble, so having a pet can provide support and an escape from that overwhelming bubble.
These pets have helped vet students with social anxiety, extreme fears, or just relaxing. An example of this is when vet students have social anxiety, taking the emotional support animal with them to social events can help stabilize his or her emotions and provide support to interact with others with more confidence.
Emotional support animals are different from service animals: dogs and sometimes miniature horses that the Americans with Disability Act describe as “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” Some examples of these tasks are guiding someone who is blind, pulling a wheelchair, or alerting a patient with diabetes that their blood sugar levels have dropped.
However, emotional support animals don’t require any training, and their value is more therapeutic than that of a helper, as in the case of service animals. Although animal use is not considered an evidence-based practice, research has shown that animals can help relieve the symptoms of several psychological issues.