The dog in the window

Some students look to counseling and medication to help cope with the struggles of college life, but these students found comfort in their four-legged friends.

Sarah Eakin, nursing senior, found hope in her furry friend, Layla Mae. The Blue Heeler, Australian Shepherd and Catahoula mix was given to Eakin as a surprise gift and has brought nothing but love.

I can’t imagine my life without her. She really has been the best thing that has happened to me”

— Sarah Eakin

“I can’t imagine my life without her. She really has been the best thing that has happened to me,” Eakin said.

Juggling nursing and social life can be a handful, but Eakin looks for the warm welcome and embrace from her best friend.

“She always there for me, she’s there when I get home, she sleeps with me — it’s almost that she knows if I had a stressful day or if I’m upset. It’s like she can sense my temperament and pick up on those cues and is more consoling, but she also knows if I need space. She’s very mindful of whats going on around her,” Eakin said. “I think she has a bigger impact on me than I can ever repay her for.”

Similar to Eakin’s story, Brooke Hager, general studies junior, has also found support in a furry friend. Hager rescued her pit-mix, Max, from animal services.

Hager was diagnosed with anxiety during her freshman year of high school and looked to her childhood pet, Sherlock, for emotional support. After moving away from home and not having Sherlock with her, she decided that it was time to adopt a friend of her own. Max encouraged Hager to continue to live life and interact with others.

“I’ll get in these moods and stay inside all the time. He gets me out to go walking [or] go to the dog park. Human interaction,” Hager said.

Little things like going on a walk or going to dog parks have helped Hager turn her anxiety for the best.

“If I didn’t have him, then I probably wouldn’t go outside,” Hager said.

Over the years, she has built a bond so strong that it’s life-threatening.

“I don’t think I could live without him anymore,” Hager said.

“I don’t think I could live without him anymore,””

— Brooke Hager

While these two students look to their furry, four-legged friends, Evin Alvarez, exercise physiology senior, looks to his scaly four-legged friend.

“It is a whole different type of pet and requires a lot of care as well, so interacting with it is very helpful,” Alvarez said.

The constant attention and skill needed to successfully take care of Alvarez’s chameleon distracts him from the bad days that come with college life.

“It distracts me from the bad days I’m having. I have to physically interact with him every day in order for him to trust me. [Taking care of my chameleon] requires some skill which is good for me since it helps me focus on that and not other things,” Alvarez said.