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Christopher C Charles
04:00 PM on
05 Apr, 2012
12:32 PM on
24 Apr, 2012
The Huffington Post reports that a student at Michigan’s Grand Valley State University was denied the ability to keep a guinea pig in her dorm room. The student claimed the guinea pig helps her in her struggles with depression. After the university asked her to get rid of the guinea pig, the student filed with the Michigan Civil Rights Department, claiming the move violated the provisions of the Fair Housing Act. The full article can be found here.
What do you think? Does the student have a valid case?
03:29 AM on
11 Apr, 2012
This case illustrates the situation in which many people are so focused on the animal that they forget the client/patient. That is a recurring criticism I have of many people’s understanding of animal-assisted interventions in general. If for that particular student, this is what WORKS – not a service dog, and not pills – but a guinea pig – then – isn’t that what’s important? It’s the RELATIONSHIP that is the important thing here, itâ€™s the relationship between the student and the animal that is helping her – not the animal. Not everyone feels comfortable with a dog. (Obviously, I personally care about the animals, but let’s not lose sight of the purpose of the intervention.) It’s all about the unique, client-centered relationship. In Animal-Assisted Psychotherapy, it is most often the client’s relationship with the animal, and the client’s perception of the animal, that cause the processes to occur – not the animal himself. This is parallel to regular psychotherapy. The therapist uses the therapist-client REALTIONSHIP it institute change, as well as talking with the client about the client’s perceptions of the therapist.
02:56 PM on
14 Apr, 2012
If the student was not violating any health/cleanliness/noise(?!) regulations of the university, I think she absolutely has the right to keep her guinea pig in her dorm room. As Nancy pointed out, if this animal is helping the student stave off depression and if she can avoid using medication, then isn’t having a guinea pig in her room a more desirable alternative?
It will be interesting to see what happens with this case.