Doggone Good? Potential Benefits of Assistance Animals for Students on College Campuses


The presence of and request for assistance, service, and support animals has skyrocketed on college campuses in recent years. The purpose of this literature review is to explore potential benefits in the utilization of assistance animals within higher education, especially as it concerns disability service offices. It begins with an overview of the dilemma of increased use of animals with limited shared knowledge base on the benefits of that use and the myriad of terms that are used to describe the therapeutic use of animals. It reviews relevant meta-analyses, moves to a focus of assistance animals in educational settings, especially with college students, highlighting the limited available information on the use of animals by university offices, especially the disability service office. Strength of the research in this literature review is imited due to narrow research availability, small sample sizes, qualitative methods employed in some of the studies, and the limited connections specifically to the dilemmas faced by disability offices in their decision-making about therapeutic animals. This paper concludes with recommendations for future research and for practitioners in disability service offices and related areas.


Counseling, Leadership, and Special Education
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animal assisted therapy, animal visitation program, pet therapy, service animal, disability service office

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Journal Title

Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability