Emotional Support and Service Animals on Campus

Hampshire College is home to many students and their emotional support or service animals. This page is a resource for animal owners and the campus community to understand our roles, rights, and responsibilities regarding our animal co-habitants or even for those wanting to train animals themselves.

To begin, check out this tumbler site with animal-themed mindfulness memes...

...then refer to the quick guide to understanding Service and Emotional Support Animals (pdf)

Animal Owner Resources

Bringing an Animal to Campus

Students are encouraged to consult with their care providers before deciding to bring an animal to campus, and may also consult with OARS staff to learn more about what processes and policies apply to their specific situation.


  • Emotional Support Animals are approved through the disability disclosure and accommodation request process.
  • Service Animals and Service Animals in Training do not need to be approved as a formal accommodation, but students are required to provide relevant documentation for the animal before it can move to campus.

Acknowledgement of Responsibility

Because policies evolve and change, before animals return to campus each academic year, it is essential that theirs owner complete this brief survey annually to ensure they understand and acknowledge their rights and responsibilities.

Animal Documentation

Each kind of animal requires different levels of veterinary care, vaccination, and licensure. Students should check with their vet for access to relevant documentation and can refer to the Town of Amherst for relevant licensing requirements.

Relevant Hampshire Student Handbook Pages

Local Boarding Options

In the case that students need to house their animals off-campus during breaks or for any other reason, the below organizations have been found to be a reliable resource by previous students.

Local Surrender/No-Kill Shelters

In the case a student is no longer able to care for an animal and needs to surrender it, or if a student is approved for an ESA and is interested in rescuing an animal, the below local establishments represent a few options to consider.

Campus Community Resources

Consultation and Support

Report an Incident

Most animal owners at Hampshire are very responsible with their ESA's or service animals. If you encounter an incident regarding an animal and its handler that violates policy, is disruptive, or is dangerous, please report an incident so appropriate staff can follow up to educate about and uphold Hampshire norms and expectations.

Proper Etiquette for Other Students/Staff/Faculty/Administrators on Campus 

Service animals and emotional support animals are not pets. Accordingly, the College asks that students and their visitors adhere to the following good practices when interacting with service animals and emotional support animals.

Individuals should NOT:

  • Assume that the animal is a pet.
  • Pet/touch an emotional support animal or service animal without asking the handler's permission. Petting distracts them from their responsibilities.
  • Make assumptions about the necessity of the emotional support animal or service animal.
  • Ask the handlers about their specific conditions.
  • Prioritize the needs of another individual over the needs of an individual with an emotional support animal or service animal. For example, we cannot restrict the access of a service animal for fear another member of the community may have an allergy. If such a conflict arises, the animal's handler and the effected party should seek immediate remediation through the conflict resolution process.
  • Feed an emotional support animal or service animal.
  • Deliberately startle, tease, or taunt an emotional support animal or service animal.
  • Separate or attempt to separate animals from their handlers.
  • Hesitate to ask the handlers if they would like assistance if the animal and/or handler seem confused about a direction in which to turn, an accessible entrance, the location of an elevator, etc.

Interested in Learning About Training Service Animals?

The University of Massachusetts Amherst offers a course (both semesters) to learn about training service animals. They partner with Diggity Dogs, a non-profit organization based in Shelburne Falls, MA, which provides service dogs and service dog training and support services. Read an article about UMass students getting involved in training and educating about service animals.

Learn more about ANIML SCI 398D