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One Ball State student is taking phrase "emotional support animal" to new heights

MUNCIE, Ind.(NewsLink) -- In the halls of the Woodworth Complex at Ball State University, you may see some regular sites, but it's only on a rare occasion you get to see a little fellow with two legs, wings and a beak.

"Ive actually wanted a bird for a long time, just because I thought they were good pets, easy to take care of," Olivia Merrill, the bird owner explained. 

Dov the Parakeet isn't just a pet, he serves as an emotional support animal for Merrill throughout college.

"Whenever I'm upset, or something, he'll actually like come get me, jump off his cage, or something like that, so he'll usually cheer me up that way," she said.

Not to be confused with a service animal like a dog or cat, Dov is there to cheer Merrill up emotionally when she's having a bad day, and, when she's walking around the complex, stays right by her side for comfort.

"So, with service animals, they usually do tasks for people, he doesn't really do anything for me, it's just the fact that I have something to take care of that helps me," Merrill stated.

Although Dov can't physically do anything for Merrill, when she's studying, he makes sure to be right there. 

"If I have like papers or something, he'll jump off his cage, and like play with the papers, or take my pencil, it's just kind of a good like stress reliever."

And when we asked how Dov is adjusting to the college life, Merrill said he's doing just fine.

"If he's on my shoulder, people will come up to me and be like 'oh, he's so cute,' and, he's actually helped me make a couple friends." Merrill said. 

For any comments or concerns, contact the author at tbkonieczny@bsu.edu