Living With an ESA In the Dorms

Living with a pet is all fun and games until you’re living in a room the size of a shoebox. Here are some tips that I’ve learned while living with my ESA on campus!

Be respectful to your neighbors and your space!

ESA stands for “emotional support animal.” This is an animal that you’ve brought onto campus to help you with some disability, so take this seriously. Make sure that your animal has access to a place to go potty and clean it up often. Keep them quiet (you can get noise complaints from ESAs). Don’t bring them to class unless you have your professor’s permission. And brush them frequently to avoid hair getting everywhere.

Designate time for your ESA

Living in the dorms can be stressful for a pet. It’s vital that they get adequate playtime and attention lest they get bored in your tiny room. Try to schedule a break in between classes to come back and spend time with them.

Be familiar with campus rules

Talk to your Residence Life Coordinator to make sure you’re not breaking any rules (for example, you can bring people into your room to meet your pet, but you can’t bring your pet into other people’s rooms). More importantly, make sure you fill out all the necessary paperwork to bring an ESA on campus — don’t just bring them and assume it’s fine! Tessa Timler is a McBurney employee who specializes in ESAs; talk to her to familiarize yourself with the rules and next steps.

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