A return from the holiday break means leaving your best bud, cuddle buddy and “bae” behind, a goodbye to your pet.
Animal companionship is a bond unlike any other and adjusting to dorm life without your pet can be difficult.
Devyn Johnson, a freshman diplomacy and international relations major, said she misses her rabbit and dog who are back home in Maryland.
“There are a lot of things I miss! For my rabbit, I think I miss including her in the routine of my day to day life. Being as busy as I was in high school I had to actively make time to spend with her and groom her and clean her,” Johnson said. “For my dog I think I really miss his constant presence everywhere I went. It really is such a comforting thing to have a constant presence that is always happy to be with you.”
She said that being away from her pets for so long is kind of hard, but pictures and her parents including them in their FaceTime calls helps. Johnson added that the anticipation of seeing them when she goes home for break is enough to put a smile on her face.
For many students on campus, there is an aquatic pet possibility that can allow fishes to reside in dorm rooms.
Joshua Reda, Aquinas Hall residence director, said there is a Housing and Residence Life policy on pets in dorms and off-campus apartments such as Turrell and Ora Manor.
“Our Housing License explains not to bring any animal into the residence hall or apartment except DSS approved service dog or fish in a tank less than 10 gallons,” Reda said.
Despite these simple rules, there have been instances where the Housing and Residence life staff have found unauthorized animals inside the halls.
“At times, students do not understand the policy fully and bring in pets not permitted in the halls. We typically ask students to bring the pet home within 24 hours or find another location since it cannot stay in the residence hall,” he added. “If neither work, we advise students to contact the appropriate animal related agencies to take care of the pet. Cases like these are documented and a follow up takes places to help the student understand university pet policies.”
Alexandra Recupero, a freshman public relations major, said she takes advantage of the fish allowances set by housing guidelines, but the swimmy addition brightens her semester.
“I have Le’Roy. His name was originally Leroy, but when he was given to me his name was changed as an inside joke between me and my friends. He’s a beta fish and he was given to me by two of my friends. I was always in their room because I felt lonely in mine since I no longer had a roommate, so they gave him to me so I would have some company,” Recupero said. “Now that I’ve switched rooms Le’Roy is the suite pet, and all four of us love him.”
While fish aren’t as soft as dogs or energetic as kittens, fish serve as a compromise set forth by the University for the students who can’t live without a pet in their life.
Heather Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.