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Seeking emotional support from animals at local shelter

April 22, 2020


More than four hundred cats and dogs are currently at Burlington Animal Services.

For some students, the pitter-patter of paws is a comfort left at home. Research by Ohio State University says a quarter of college students find their pets help them through difficult times.

November is national adopt a senior pet month. With more than four hundred cats and dogs at Burlington Animal Services, some may find the companion they’ve been looking for.

“That’s why really anybody fosters is to give these animals a second, third chance at life,” Lois Dixon, foster program coordinator, said. “We all need a chance.”

An animal foster parent herself, Dixon feels a natural connection to her work.

“I just enjoy seeing these dogs blossom and go from in some cases a very horrible life and then go into a wonderful home,” she said.

But animals at the shelter aren’t the only ones that are searching. Some Elon students are looking for the perfect companion.

“My dogs sleep in my bed with me so it was really weird not having animals around all the time,” Sydney Schapel, an Elon sophomore, said.

Schapel, who also volunteers at the shelter, has been on the list of available foster parents for more than a year. She’s struggled with anxiety and depression, moving her to seek comfort from what she loves most.

“Because I’ve grown up with animals I’m just much more comfortable around them,” Schapel said. “It just kind of helps me like not be as anxious.”

According to Dixon, adoption can be “pretty immediate.” Schapel said she’s applying for an emotional support animal, which according to Residence Life, is one of the only animals allowed in residence halls – so she can finally bring a pet home.

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