Sara Hallameyer '24 and Edoras graduation

Service dog recognized for work as campus tour guide and support system for Hallameyer '24

By: Sarah Matarella

Over 600 Alvernia graduates received diplomas during the university’s commencement on Saturday, May 11. One of them had four legs. 


Sara Hallameyer ‘24 got her psychiatric service dog Edoras “Eddie” Hallameyer in 2019.  


“I had gone into an outpatient program and that's kind of when I realized that I just wasn't getting the support I needed from therapy and medicines,” said Hallameyer. “So, my family and I were looking into alternative options and that's when we found ESAs and service dogs. We got Eddie in hopes of making him a service dog, but with COVID he just started off as an ESA. I decided a service dog would be better because I need that constant support from him.” 


Eddie served as her support system ever since he started as an emotional support animal (ESA) during her transition from high school to college in 2020 and has been ever since. He officially became a service dog during the spring semester of Hallameyer’s first year at Alvernia once he finished training. 


“That's different when they're an ESA versus a service dog,” said Hallameyer. “ESAs are only really supposed to live with you, but they're not allowed to enter spaces like the cafeteria or other buildings. Service dogs are medical equipment and can go with you everywhere with exceptions like sterile environments. So, he doesn't go into my labs.” 

Sara Hallameyer '24 and Edoras "Eddie" the Golden Guide Dog

She shared that he has given her more confidence in social situations, been instrumental in calming her anxiety during class and while taking tests. One of his tasks includes making Hallameyer aware of her surroundings when she is particularly overwhelmed. He will circle around her to alert her or look to where sounds or people are coming from. 


"Another one of his tasks is pressure therapy. He does deep pressure therapy and light pressure therapy,” said Hallameyer. "So, that's helpful, especially during finals week. I'll start to get nervous and shake and he'll just put his head on whichever leg that I'm shaking at the time. It’s grounding.” 


In addition to his tasks, Eddie also serves as a Golden Guide alongside Hallameyer when she assists prospective students and families during admissions events or campus tours.  

Edoras Hallameyer

Edoras in his Golden Guide uniform

“To see Sara gain her voice and her confidence has been absolutely astounding,” said Hallameyer’s Supervisor and Assistant Director for Transfer Students, Arielle Phillips-Law ‘18. “Eddie has also been an absolutely wonderful Golden Guide of the Year. To have them both here has not only brought happiness to the office to have this, but for Sara to know that she is welcomed here in all aspects of her identity, I think has helped her in building her confidence to stand in her own power." 


Hallameyer shared that the Office of Admissions has also served as a support system for her and has embraced Eddie. In cases where she is in lab or when she is giving a tour to individuals who may be afraid of or allergic to dogs, many people in the office including Phillips-Law have stepped up to make sure he is taken care of.  


“There was no thought to it because especially when it comes to the Golden Guides, my first thought is how can I best help them succeed. So, when Sara approached me, I went into action," said Phillips-Law. “I bought a beanbag chair for Eddie that's now in my office, but everyone has been accommodating. Having Sara be confident that we're watching him so that she can focus on what she's doing in her lab is just one of the small ways where we can best love and support our students, not just academically but in their life,” said Phillips-Law. 


Eddie came to know his way around the office and who has the best treats. Hallameyer shared that he even gets excited hearing the word ‘admissions’ and is just as excited to run to the staff members and other Golden Guides for pets when he is off duty. Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, Mary-Alice Ozechoski, M.A. has even offered to watch him. 

Sara Hallameyer '24 and Edoras "Eddie"

Sara and Eddie in Ozechoski's car after an admissions event.

“That's what makes us, us,” said Ozechoski. “We care about the lives of students and the lives of students don't just happen in the classroom. When we think about what we're trying to create around a culture of care at Alvernia, that's it. And we hope that every student finds their person or their place where they feel really seen and valued.”  


Hallameyer reflected that being a Golden Guide with Eddie has been one of her favorite experiences in college. She particularly enjoys being a resource for students entering college who need accommodations.  


“It was really enriching for me personally, but also for the office and for incoming students,” said said. “I became a visible point person for students that are looking for accommodations. I like helping people, especially in that regard and I know a lot about this subject. I liked being available for them especially at events for them to visibly find someone that has an answer to their question.” 


At the commencement ceremony on May 11, 2024, Eddie received an honorary degree alongside Hallameyer for his service as a Golden Guide and as her support system. After graduation, Hallameyer is attending West Chester University to pursue her master's degree in biology with a  thesis concentration. She’s looking forward to focusing on her niche in her research and the different types of work she will be doing in the program. Eddie will be right by her side to support her in this next chapter, too, of course.  


“I'm going to get him a lab coat, lab goggles and boots so that he can be with me in the lab, which I'm very excited about," said Hallameyer. 

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