Most colleges and universities have strict rules about keeping pets in your dorm room. In short, most colleges do not allow you to keep pets in your dorm room. But in the past five or six years, some schools have loosened the rules to include certain pets. The theory is that students adjust to college life better if they can keep a pet in their dorm. You might be interested to know that the American Humane Association says that owning a pet will lower heart rates, reduce blood pressure and lengthen our life span.
Though nearly all schools now allowing pets do not allow the furry, comforting pets with which you might wish to nap and share your secrets, they DO allow some form of companionship. If you are considering taking a pet to school, check first with your college to see what is allowed by policy.
Many colleges have instituted a policy that allows students to keep fish in their dorm rooms, though they still forbid other animals or pets of any kind. To the list of exotic and plain old gold fish companions, other colleges have added things like lizards and turtles.
Each year, more schools are getting creative in the ways they accommodate pet-loving students. Some schools now have ‘pet floors’ or dorm buildings where a student can get housing to accommodate the furrier brands of companions (rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, cats and even dogs). You may pay more for these dorm rooms for cleaning charges or other miscellaneous fees, and you may be subject to strict policies about taking your pet out of the dorm room and out into the campus environment. At Stephens College, for example, a student will pay $200 for a refundable pet deposit, and they confine their pets to a kennel or cage when they leave their room. Animals must be less than 40 lbs.
Still, many schools resist integrating pets into the school environment because of the smells and noises they may create and the risk of bothering other students who may have allergies. In that case, you may want to talk to your school about incorporating a pet circle or area into the school campus. Schools with a quad that suffers from ‘goose infestation’ may bring in border collies to control the population of geese. These dogs are often maintained on campus and students who miss their pets can offer to care for a pet in his campus quarters, and thereby get a little furry TLC while they are away from home.
Whatever you do, do not try to sneak your pet into your dorm in hopes that no one will know. Word gets around! Find out the school policy and stick to it!