Campus Critters – The Welcome Mat is out at Pet-Friendly Schools
FOR MANY STUDENTS, LEAVING the comforts of home and moving to college can be a difficult transition. But at some schools, students can bring a piece of home along to ease the process. Many students who are beginning college have no established friendships and the prospect of meeting new people can be nerve- wracking. However, with a pet by your side you have a ready-made topic of conversation.
Clemson University the University of California Berkeley Vanderbilt University and Auburn University are just a handful of many fish-friendly campuses. And while most students use common sense as to what “pet fish allowed” means there are always a few boundary-pushers that require even the simplest policy to be spelled out in great detail. Notre Dame University’s policy allows fish in up to 30-gallon tanks . . . “with the exception of piranha.”
The students might be happy but the fish aren’t at colleges that allow their natural predators like snakes lizards and turtles into the dorm. Humboldt State University welcomes all three while the University of Florida adds “small birds salamanders geckos certified non-poisonous frogs” and caps its lizards at six inches. Sorry iguanas there’s no room at the inn.
Caged animals can require a bit more maintenance than say a goldfish but for many college kids it’s worth the effort. Middlebury College allows hamsters rabbits gerbils and guinea pigs but snakes and ferrets are a no-no. Perhaps Eckerd College is a better choice for the snake-lover. The school welcomes slithery sidekicks as long as they’re non-venomous and less than six feet long.
For those who prefer fur to scales look no further than the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (cats) the University of Washington (cats and dogs) or Washington and Jefferson College’s Monroe Hall which is known as “The Pet House” (cats and dogs). At the Pet House pets must have been owned by the student (or student’s family) for more than one year to avoid impulse purchases that lead to abandonment of pets.
At Sweet Briar College (a woman’s college) students may bring their own horses if the student can “demonstrate adequate riding ability” and if the horse is “suitable for the hunter/jumper-oriented program.” Since Sweet Briar owns the stable riders don’t have to compete with nonstudents to use the facility.
Perhaps the most pet-friendly school of all is Stephens College. Complete with doggie daycare and unlimited weight restrictions for dogs this rarity of a campus offers an all-pet dorm called Searcy Hall. Nicknamed “Pet Central” this coveted 40-student facility has even been featured on “The Today Show.” But even Pet Central has its boundaries. Dogs must be at least one year old and the doors are closed to certain breeds —Chow Akita German Shepherd Pit Bull and Rottweiler—for insurance liability.