by Alexandre Baude
Halloween has now passed, and the great dangers of chocolate leftovers have been mitigated in great numbers. The streets of Pitzer are doggy-safe.
While the dogs are fantastic to have here on campus and provide great joy to many students, not everyone fully understands just who these dogs are, what their role on campus is, and what they represent to their owners.
In order to further transparency and a greater understanding of the subject, this article will discuss some implications of the animals, the dos and do nots, and hopefully leave readers with a better comprehension of who our furry friends are.
With the exclusion of dogs that technically live on campus, such as Evie, many of these animals are known as Emotional Service Animals (ESAs) and Service dogs. ESAs are there to provide companionship and love to their owners in need during a difficult time, or who are recovering from an aftermath. Service dogs aid owners who have a particular disability to better cope and live with it.
ESAs and service animals are not responsible for the same needs. Service animals have been trained since pups to handle and aid people with certain disabilities. An ESA on the other hand can be the family dog—or any other animal that lives with the owner, as long as it passes documentation.
Pitzer College allows the accommodation of having a Service Animal or an ESA to students who need it. Please understand that knowing that the animal is either a Service or ESA does not mean you should ask the owner what is wrong. That information is generally considered very private. Doing so may make the owner uncomfortable and less inclined to walk his/her dog in order to avoid another such interaction.
As a close friend of someone who owns an ESA, there are many possible mistakes one can make when trying to interact with the animal.
For example, if you see a cute pup that you just have to pet, do not simply walk over and pet the animal. Ask permission. Some owners will be okay with the bold attention, but others will not. Going off of that idea, be mindful of the phrasing.
Too many times have I been talking with my friend when out of nowhere a group of people will approach us mid-conversation and state “I’m going to interrupt you guys, I’m sorry, but I just have to pet your dog,” and proceed to do just that. As William Hormon said back in 1517 England, “Manners maketh man.” The animals love the attention, and the owners are glad to share them, but please do so by asking their permission politely.
As long as you do not follow the examples above of what not to do, the animals and owners will be much happier. People love Pitzer’s furry friends, so it would be best to try and make this place the safest and most comfortable environment for them.