Humans of SCSU: Dakota Summer
Victoria Bresnahan – General Assignment Reporter
For Dakota Summer, a senior interdisciplinary studies major, Fiona, their emotional-support guinea pig, is one of the main ways they seek help for any of the issues they may be experiencing throughout the day.
“I’m sure it would be better if she had a friend, but I like to think I am the second guinea pig in between my adult responsibilities,” said Summer. “Once again, both of my guinea pigs, I just happened to really connect with them—just from holding them.”
After their first guinea pig McMurphy passed away from a gastrointestinal infection, Summer purchased Fiona shortly after to fill the empty cage. Summer said Fiona now lives with them on campus in their single.
“Fiona is super good with picking up people’s emotions,” said Summer. “Like, if I am angry or if other people are angry, she’ll just start yelling, she’ll just start talking and everything. She is really good at calming people down. She’ll just stay there and kind of purr and sometimes give them kisses.”
To get Fiona certified, Summer went onto the National Service Animal Registry website and bought the kit to distinguish Fiona as an emotional support animal.
“I got that paperwork and that is a lifetime registration, so you don’t have to renew it or anything,” said Summer. “[It took] maybe a week, they get it to you relatively quick. Then in Summer described Fiona as being a “talkative” guinea pig and when they first met she did not bite their fingers at all like other guinea pigs will usually do.
After Summer graduates, they said they plan to become a therapist. They said they originally chose to attend Southern Connecticut State University due to their marriage and family therapy program.
“[I want to go into marriage and family therapy] because of my own positive experiences with one,” said Summer, “I see a therapist—who happens to be a marriage and family therapist—and I have also worked with people before who were licensed clinical social workers.”
For the past two to three years, Summer said they have been working with a therapist to aid their eating disorder.
“When I went there I was at my lowest,” said Summer. “So, I have obviously come a long way since then.”
When they were trying to find help, they said they struggled to find a therapist that wanted to treat the problems associated with the disorder.
“Luckily, I was able to go to [my therapist],” said Summer, “and things have been going swimmingly ever since.”
In the future, Summer said they want to treat clients who struggled with the same issues they once had. In addition, Summer said they would like to obtain a veterinarian technician certificate after they graduate from Southern due to their love for animals. They also plan to apply to graduate school in fall of 2019.
As a senior, Summer said some of their favorite experiences at Southern have occurred through their professors and Therapy Dog Thursday. Summer said they enjoy the way professors lecture courses and feels most of them want to help their students.
“Depending on what classes you have, you get to know them a little bit better,” said Summer. “You get to ask questions. I am one of those people where if I really get along with a teacher I like to talk to them one on one. It’s nice feeling to have to get to talk to them one on one.”
Photo Credit: Victoria Bresnahan