By Samantha Roesler
Frequently, I hear students wishing that their pets would be allowed at their dorms on FGCU’s campus. It is proven that pets help with stress, anxiety and loneliness- emotions that students feel when away from family. However, FGCU prohibits pets on campus unless they are a registered emotional support animal or a service animal that assists students with both mental and physical disabilities. I think this is for a good reason.
According to CNBC, about 4 percent of colleges allow all cats and dogs on campus. Personally, I don’t believe that allowing all pets on campus would be a good idea. Students tend to overlook the potential expensive of having a cat or dog, and it would make living in campus housing much messier.
When responsible for a pet, the overall cost of essentials such as vaccines, food, and toys can cost a lot more than you expect. According to the ASPCA, the annual cost of a cat is just over $800 a year and almost $900 a year for a medium-sized dog. You also need to make sure you have sufficient funds if your pet gets sick unexpectedly- visits to animal hospitals aren’t cheap! If FGCU allowed all pets on campus, students may go out and buy pets that they may not be able to afford, and the pet could end up back in the shelter.
Campus housing will become much more messy and dirty if student had their pets with them. Are you willing to constantly vacuum up your dog’s hair off the couch or scoop your cat’s litter box every day? If you struggle to do your own dishes and laundry more than once a week, you probably won’t be very happy about having to clean up your pet’s mess daily. Your roommates won’t be very happy with you either if your pet keeps making messes inside the dorm.
So how do you combat this emotional toll of missing your pet at home? I recommend you find some time during your week to go volunteer at one of the local animal shelters. I have met students that volunteer at Gulf Coast Humane Society, and I personally volunteer at the Animal Refuge Center.
“Volunteering in shelters with animals that are in need of love and socialization is simply heartwarming,” FGCU alum Tyler Cooper said. “When I was in college, going to the Animal Refuge Center helped me get my mind off the stress of all my assignments. I think volunteering with animals would especially help students who are missing their pets back home, and of course the animals are happy to receive that attention too.”
`If FGCU decided to allow all pets on campus, students may make the mistake of buying a cat or dog they can’t afford and care for properly. Not only that, but living on campus would become messier. By keeping your furry friend at home, you are doing both you and your pet a favor.