Pets should be allowed in the dorms

The benefits of having pets outweigh the potential issues

Animal-loving college students know the best times in the semester are when therapy animals show up on campus. Getting to relax for a while and show appreciation for a fluffy dog or cuddly cat does wonders for a student’s stress levels, as well as improving their mood.

The only downside to therapy animal days is that they only happen a few times a year. So what about the other 360 days?

The obvious solution is to allow pets in the residence halls.

Now, there are many problems that arise from keeping an animal in a tiny dorm room. The mess, price of caring for an animal as well as the potential noise problem could almost make it not worth it.

However, I have a few solutions to these issues, most of which stem from the fact that I miss my cats so much my mom sends me weekly pictures.

In order to solve the problem of some students being allergic to dogs, cats and other furry creatures, we could simply designate certain residence halls to be pet-friendly. That way, students who want pets can have them without sending their neighbors to the emergency room.

Of course, being allowed to keep a pet in your dorm room would come with a lot of responsibility. There would have to be some set rules, sort of like a J-code for pet owners, in order to keep the residence halls clean and liveable. If someone breaks the rules, they lose the privilege of keeping a pet.

I’m sure the details and process are much more complicated than that, and many of you are probably shouting about how this is a terrible idea, but I would like to point out the benefits that having a pet would bring to student life.

On top of the base fact that taking care of something else improves responsibility, having a companion such as a reptile or furry domestic animal also improves the mood and stress levels of students in a way therapy dogs just can’t. Being able to come home every day to see a cat curled up on the futon waiting for you is a terrific motivation for getting through the day.

Owning and caring for a pet also helps with several disorders, including depression and anxiety. They are beneficial enough that many hospitals have therapy animals for patients to interact with.

The best part is, the effects aren’t just limited to furry creatures, but also reptiles and even insects. This means those that are afraid of dogs or other larger pets can still benefit from a less common pet, like a snake or gecko.

I know the easy solution would be to simply find off-campus housing that allows pets, but not all students can afford to pay every month for housing, and depend heavily on financial aid to pay for campus housing and food. Why should these students give up the benefits of a pet just because they can’t afford to pay hundreds of dollars each month for a run-down house several miles from campus?

It’s clear to me that the pros of pets vastly outweigh the cons. Now, if only we can get the administration to see that.