Dog-loving students, this one’s for you! Picture studying for your exams with your beloved canine companion by your side. While the reality isn’t quite so straightforward in the UK, there’s still hope for our four-legged friends to become part of our university life!
Defining Pets, Assistance, and Therapy Dogs
Before we dive in, it’s crucial to understand the difference between pets, assistance animals, and therapy animals. Pets are companion animals, while assistance animals, usually dogs, are professionally trained to perform tasks for individuals with disabilities. Therapy animals, on the other hand, provide emotional support to help alleviate symptoms or effects of a disability.
No Pets Allowed: The Common Rule
For those considering sneaking their pooch into their dorm room, you may want to reconsider. Most UK universities, such as the University of Reading, prohibit students from keeping pets in university accommodations. But don’t despair just yet, canine enthusiasts!
A Closer Look: University of Reading’s Policy
The University of Reading has a comprehensive policy for assistance and therapy animals. To bring these animals on campus, students need to register with the Disability Advisory Service and provide appropriate medical evidence or certification. The university considers potential impacts on other community members, such as allergies and disruptions, before granting approval.
Dog-Friendly Universities Abroad
If you’re dreaming of a campus that truly welcomes our furry friends, consider looking overseas. The University of Illinois in the US, for example, has an entire pet-friendly living complex and hosts pet de-stress events. Harvard University also offers pet-friendly apartments, albeit with certain restrictions.
While UK universities might not be as pet-friendly as some of their international counterparts, there is a growing recognition of the importance of our canine companions, especially for students who rely on them for emotional and practical support. As we look towards the future, we hope to see more tails wagging across university campuses.
Please note: Students who require an assistance or therapy dog should contact their university’s disability services or equivalent department to understand the specific procedures and regulations. Always respect your university’s guidelines and the comfort and wellbeing of other students.