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Last updateWed, 14 Oct 2020 1pm

Opinion

Pets On Campus

If you are like me, when you left your home for college, you left a dear, beloved friend behind, your pet(s). I left my two cats Lucky and Maggie when I moved from my home in Montgomery, New Jer­sey to MU. Leaving them behind made it difficult to settle in at school my freshman year. Even though I begged my parents to let me take my cats with me, offering to pay the fines if and when I got caught, they still said “no,” so I moved into Cedar pet-less.

Currently, MU does not permit pets to live in the dorms or in off-campus housing, leaving us pet owners with no choice but to bid farewell to our furry companions until winter break. I know this might be farfetched, but what if pets were allowed to live with us at school?

By allowing pets to live on cam­pus, both the University and the students would benefit alike. If MU turned an off-campus housing sec­tion into a pet-friendly residency, MU could charge a fee for a pet ap­plication to be approved by the Of­fice of Residential Life, as well as monthly fees to cover the pet living in the dorm, extra cleaning accom­modations, etc.

Eckerd College, located in St. Petersburg, Florida, has one of the oldest pets-in-residence programs in the nation, and is frequently sought by other colleges looking to imple­ment its own pet policies. Eckerd College allows domestic animals in all housing complexes during the fall and spring terms as long as they are properly secured in a cage.

Permitted pets include dogs under 40 pounds, cats, ferrets, birds, ham­sters, guinea pigs, rats, turtles, fish and non-venomous snakes under 6 feet long. Additionally, pets must be at least one year old. Eckerd College has a Pet Council to decide what pets are permitted to reside on campus. They also deal with all other issues and concerns regarding pets at Eck­erd.

While it makes perfect sense to me, and it seems easy enough to cre­ate a pet-friendly dorm and to imple­ment a Pet Council at MU, perhaps some of you need more convincing. Not only are animals fun to have, they also offer countless health ben­efits.

According to AmericanSmart.org, “playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxyto­cin and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol.” Addition­ally, the Ontario Veterinary Medi­cal Association states, “researchers have found that the mere presence of an animal has a beneficial effect on heart function, and stroking and talking to a pet reduces blood pres­sure and stress.” Doesn’t that sound like the perfect combination? Stress­ful classes and a stress-relieving pet waiting for you after class.

For my junior year, my boyfriend and I moved off campus into a con­do and, luckily for us, the condo was pet-friendly. We began exploring our options for a new dog. We wound up with a 35 pound “American mutt” (as we like to call him) named Die­sel. It’s been a year and a half since getting Diesel, and I can honestly say that there is nothing better than coming home from a long, stressful, demanding day at school to Diesel’s loving face.

While I have to be honest and share that having a pet at school adds a fairly large amount of extra responsibility, the reward is worth the work. I understand the hesitance that schools, such as MU may have with becoming a pet-friendly cam­pus, but there are many benefits to implementing a pet-friendly dorm. Both the school and students would benefit from having pets on campus and I personally believe that it would make campus even more special and enjoyable.

Contact Information

CAMPUS LOCATION
The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

MAILING ADDRESS
The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey
07764

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu