The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The story of Peep and me

My emotional support animal was the best decision I have ever made
Photo by Shaylin Jochum
My beloved cat Peep.

The day I got my emotional support animal, Peep, was unquestionably one of the best days of my life. Adopting him was the best decision I’ve ever made.

In October 2021 I was going through a particularly hard time. I have always struggled with mental health issues. My mom had the idea of getting a cat for me to potentially help with this.

I named him Peep after my favorite music artist, Lil Peep. His music also helped me through a hard time, so I felt this was fitting to be his name.

Peep provides me with a sense of comfort that no human ever could. He doesn’t judge me no matter what kind of mood I’m in, and I know he will always be there for me.

Believe it or not, we have never gotten into an argument. Not counting the times when he yells at me if I’m at work or school for longer than he’d prefer.

He provides me with companionship without having to make conversation. When I come home, I know he will be there waiting for me. He is always happy to see me. I could be having an extremely anxious day, and his presence just makes me feel better.

Some of my friends have told me that when cats sleep at the end of your bed, they are doing it with the idea that they are providing security and protecting you. Peep sleeps by my feet every single night.

I sometimes avoid my problems by sleeping, so waking up with him directly next to me definitely helps to not be so sad. 

I have learned that it also gave me a sense of responsibility. Sometimes I have days where I don’t want to get out of bed. I don’t have a choice now, because being his mom definitely has requirements to meet his needs. 

Peep is huge. 25 pounds, actually. Anytime anyone meets him for the first time, they always say he is the biggest cat they have ever seen.

Despite how big he is and the fact that he has his own dog bed, he isn’t a dog, which is the most common type of emotional support animal. Emotional support animals can actually be anything from ferrets to snakes.

Animals can help so many people. There are even sometimes therapy dogs in the school library, which I have always thought was a great resource.

Studies show that interacting with an ESA increases the release of oxytocin and decreases the production of cortisol. There are also studies that they can help with PTSD and trauma. 

Thankfully, through the Fair Housing Act, it is required that housing providers provide accommodation for owners of an ESA. This also applies to students living in dorms.

I don’t know where I would be without Peep. I want to give him the life he deserves and all of the love that comes along with it. He thanks me by being one of my reasons to stay.

Jochum can be reached at [email protected].

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