A Fluffball-a-Day Keeps the Doctor Away: Why Small Pets Should be Allowed on Campus

By Emily Pizza, Opinions Editor

Dewey the dog poses in Crissey Residence Hall (Photo by Emily Pizza)

Next door to me lives a dog named Dewey. Every time I see his owner, one of the residential life area coordinators, walking him down the hallway my heart always skips a beat as I reach down to pet him.

Too bad the feeling never lasts.

Due to school policy, students are not allowed to have pets on campus, unless they plan on bonding with a goldfish. While the policy was put in place to protect students with allergies or a fear of animals, as well as the dangers they may pose, I feel the school needs to create some leeway.

I agree with the school’s policy for dogs and cats, animals that people are often allergic to or afraid of, but it creates a very narrow scope of animals allowed on campus. There are many animals such as rats, guinea pigs, hamsters, or lizards who do not pose this sort of threat.

That said, no animal should be brought onto campus without the roommate’’s consent, and if that consent is broken the animal should be removed within 24 hours. That way, roommates can still be comfortable in their living spaces.

As Dana Jansma, the Associate Dean of Students understands, pets have many benefits for students.  According to a survey in Science Daily, “…found that nearly a quarter of college students surveyed believed their pets helped them get through difficult times in life.”

Considering that 1 in 5 undergradruatess are consistently stressed, according to NBC News, the worst thing you can do is destroy one of our coping mechanisms.

While organizations such as the Zookeepers help bring students closer to animals, the organization can only do so much. When a student is pacing in their room, terrified about their upcoming test, being able to cuddle with a hamster or let a snake slither up their arm could be the solace they needed.

One study reports that “when people were presented with stressful tasks in four different situations – alone, with their spouse, with their pet, or with both their spouse and their pet – they experienced the lowest stress response and the quickest recovery in the situation where they were only with their pet.”

This means that while talking to one’’s roommate may be helpful, the best type of de-stressing is with a furry companion. If the College is willing to put money into the Counseling Center, the least they can do is allow students to find their own coping mechanisms, as well.