Wayde Sims would have turned 21 Thursday; LSU reveals his connection with emotional support dog
BATON ROUGE – LSU announced a special fund for students and emotional support animals on Thursday, what would have been Wayde Sims’ 21st birthday.
Sims, a basketball player, was murdered earlier this year when he intervened in a fight.
Sims, the university revealed Thursday, had an emotional support dog. The fund is created in their honor, the veterinary school said in a news release.
“[Sims had] a very special bond with Buddha, also known as Wayde’s ‘4-legged son.’ Buddha became his emotional support dog,” the university said.
Sims’ family created the Wayde Forever 44 Fund for students, a program for emotional support dogs of students at LSU.
Buddha was a high school graduation gift and it wasn’t until later that the bond between the dog and Sims became especially unique.
“Living with, caring for and interacting daily with Buddha became a crucial part of Wayde’s adjustment to college life and managing the demands of school and Division 1 athletics,” the university said.
"The bond between Wayde and Buddha was so strong, I believe he would have lived under the overpass before giving up Buddha,” Sims’ mother, Fay, shared.
With the guidance of counselors at LSU, Wayde was able to register Buddha as his emotional support dog and have Buddha live with him on campus.
Registering an emotional support animal can be difficult and expensive, the university said. Application fees, hidden costs, deposits at living facilities, boarding when students need to travel and more can be unexpected barriers for students seeking to register their dog as an emotional support animal. The Wayde Forever 44 Emotional Support Dog Fund will help current and future students to overcome these barriers and help supplement financial responsibilities that come with owning an emotional support dog.
The university is soliciting donations for the fund.
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