College can be really lonely once in a while, and sometimes, you really just need a friend — man’s best friend.
The original written rule at FGCU is that the only pet allowed on campus is a fish, with a tank no larger than 20 gallons. FGCU sometimes allows students to keep pets on campus for psychological reasons, usually cats or hamsters — small animals that are usually pretty self-sufficient as long as you feed them. Dogs on campus, not so much, but there have been cases.
A lot of people sneak pets in as well, usually cats since they are relatively quiet and easy to hide if the RAs come knocking.
“I had a cat living with me in North Lake the entire time I was going to school there,” said Lexi Ulrich, an FGCU alumni. “I actually had two of them during my last two years.”
FGCU should allow pets in on-campus housing for a small fee or, at least, in North or West Lake because having a pet can help get a student through college.
Pets can really help destress from situations you face in school. According to findings published in the medical journal “Circulation,” pet owners, usually dog owners, are happier and healthier than those living without companions.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has been using animal therapy programs in hospitals and nursing homes for over a decade. You can only imagine how beneficial to a student having a pet could be.
Researchers at Ohio State University found that one of the top reasons college students get pets is to help cope with adversity as well as to help feel less lonely.
“Since I moved off campus and got my dog, getting stressed out over school is way more bearable than it used to be,” said Elizabeth Fullerton, a marketing major. “She calms me down and keeps my head straight.”
Another good reason for FGCU to make its housing pet-friendly is because its students would be a lot more in shape. Pets, dogs in particular, need constant physical activity to stay healthy.
The only real downside to getting a pet while in college and living on campus is the extra cost. Having a pet is not necessarily the most expensive thing in the world, but it’s also not cheap. You have to constantly make sure that they have enough food and toys and that you have the time to give them all the love and attention they deserve.
“There are a lot of people who get pets when they are not sure if they can take care of it or not,” Ulrich said. “It’s just irresponsible.”
As long as the student has the money and the time to take care of a pet, whether it be a dog, cat, rabbit, ferret or snake, they should be able to get one while they live on campus at FGCU in order to help destress and so they always have a friend to turn to when times get tough.