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A recent lawsuit got me to thinking about the use of therapy dogs at colleges and universities. I've seen therapy dogs used through the American Disabilities Act for those with physical disabilities, such as blindness or deafness. One girl at the college I went to used one and our university had no issue with it.

Well, Kearny University denied a student the use of her therapy dog on campus because they said it did not fit under the American Disability Act Guidelines.The new amendments that were made to the ADA did not recognize "therapy animals" being used for emotional support. This student at Kearny had been prescribed dog therapy from her doctor for her anxiety.

What is YOUR opinion? Do you think therapy dogs should be allowed for students with emotional impairments? Do they have to have a diagnosed condition or not? Where do we draw the line?

For more information on this lawsuit visit: http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/story/2011-12-13/therapy-pets-college-dorms/51878904/1

Bri Luginbill asked this
December 13, 2011 at 4:03 PM

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YES, YES, YES! Both of my dogs are certified therapy dogs, although their job is to make other people happy in all circumstances (children's hospital, nursing homes, hospice), they are not MY personal therapy dogs (well, certain days that I am just not feeling myself, I think they put their little therapy "hats" on and do their work to make me smile, and yes it does work every time).

Therapy Dogs are being used for veterans that have been diagnosed with PTSD. Therapy Dogs help with calming children that have ADHD or Autism......if a doctor prescribes someone with an emotional disorder such as anxiety it is the same as suffering from a physical disorder, just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. There is no line to draw on this as long as the person has been properly diagnosed. I don't think it should be a "free for all", but Therapy Dogs provide just as much support as a Service Dog.

Victoria Swanson Health Coach answered
March 2, 2012 at 10:21 AM

I think that there should be a line here. I tend to agree that dogs should not be allowed in the classroom, being that it would be more distracting to the others trying to learn. But not on campus at all? That seems to be too much. I would think that the darkest times in people's lives usually come when they are away from home, in a strange environment, when they can't sleep and the PTSD or the overall fear of life overcomes them. I think at that time, they should definitely be allowed their therapy dogs, prescribed by doctors.

Rex answered
April 13, 2012 at 2:58 PM

These dogs are trained to not be "distracting". They quietly lay at ones feet, they aren't in the classroom trying to play fetch or jumping on people. They are serving a purpose and duty and they understand what their job is. My dogs are totally different when I put their working vest on and they understand (through training) what is expected of them behaviorally. I can't imagine ever telling someone that their "service" or "therapy" dog is not allowed because of distractions. It is the law for Service Dogs to enter all public places. Therapy Dogs haven't made it to that level quite yet.

Victoria Swanson Health Coach answered
April 16, 2012 at 8:18 AM
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