by Tyler Hilbert
Many people in the world suffer from disabilities such as; blindness, diabetes, seizures and even emotional difficulties. With the help of service animals these people can live normal lives and are able to function in society.
According to USA Today, “we normally only think of service animals as dogs, but in 2011, the federal guidelines allowed the use of miniature horses to serve as well. Not many people use miniature horses, but they can do some pretty incredible things given the chance. They can be house-trained, they live into their late 20s and early 30s like regular horses, they are strong enough to support owners if they fall or have trouble standing up and they are natural guide animals.”
Now, WVU Parkersburg has updated the policy to include these extra small equines. Service animals are a welcome site on campus and a great help to faculty or students who may need them. It is important for students and staff to remember that these animals are working and are to be treated as an extension of their owners. Making sure to ask permission to pet or handle a service animal is important to help everyone stay safe.
“Service animals give people more freedom and assists in normalizing their lifestyle. Service animals are always welcome here at West Virginia University at Parkersburg. These animals help individuals have a greater sense of security while allowing them to feel more comfortable in their daily activities. The use of service animals helps individuals live a healthier life and are a value to our campus community,” Kurt Klettner Director of Student Counseling Center Disability Services & Wellness Student Services Division said.
These animals are invaluable to the people they help and to the community as well. It is truly amazing all of the incredible things that service animals do on a daily basis. Dogs can detect when a persons blood sugar drops before they can, if they are going to have a seizure and even bring items to them. It is inspiring to see animals and people working together. With the addition of the miniature horse to the policy, we have a more diverse and fun campus.