Pets are cute, cuddly, soft, and, according to a few studies, pets also relieve stress.
One study by Ohio State University found that students who own a cat or dog are less likely to feel lonely and depressed. I enjoy coming home to my two cats at the end of the day, but not all students on and off-campus don’t have this luxury.
Aside from the loneliness and depression, students are highly stressed people. NBC News reported that 1 in 5 college students experience constant stress. Although pets may ease our student burdens, Housing Director Seth Gubler said he won’t allow pets in the dorms for practical reasons.
“There are two specific reasons why pets are not allowed in the dorms: health and safety concerns and concern for the physical facilities,” Gubler said. “With health and safety, the common issue we find is people with sensitive allergies. With the physical facilities, if the animal is not maintained, carpet and furniture can get ripped up and torn pretty easily.”
These reasons are understandable from a business standpoint; however, from the student perspective, a pet’s loyalty and affection may be difficult to sacrifice.
Madison Peterson, a freshman psychology major from Roy, fondly recalled the pet she left behind.
“I would be totally fine with [pets being allowed in dorms],” Peterson said. “If I could bring my dog to college, I would.”
Aalaysia Lindsey, a freshman biology major from Las Vegas, said she doesn’t support the idea of pets being allowed in the dorms.
“I have [a dog], but I don’t want her with me,” Lindsey said.
Another student said she’d be fine with a fish but not a dog, while another said she was fine with cats and small dogs only. Student preference is based around smaller animals, which makes sense given the size of the dorms. I wouldn’t want a giant dog crowding me in such a small space either.
The no-pet policy is a strict one for on and off-campus housing; however, animal lovers shouldn’t fret. According to an article by USA Today, some colleges are providing students with dogs for stress relief. Depending on the school, students either visit a room dedicated to the dogs or “check out” a dog through a catalog.
We all have stress, and most of us love animals, so this is an amazing idea that Dixie State University could implement. Testing scores and student performance in general may improve if we can spend time with those designated dogs.
This concept of “therapy dogs” may be a possibility for DSU in the future, Gubler said.
“These larger, residence-like communities with thousands of students [like DSU campus] sometimes have enough space to identify certain areas where they might allow pets,” Gubler said. “Maybe during finals week, they might say, ‘if you come into this hall, there’s an animal you can interact with.’”
Until the day we get those animals on campus, it’s best to cuddle your furry friend whenever you go back home.