Pet policy proves difficult for animal lovers

I’ve lived my entire life with animals, as I’m sure plenty of people on campus have. I’ve had dogs, cats, hamsters and sugar gliders all throughout my life. I had grown up with an animal’s unconditional love until I left for Oswego two years ago.

My first year on campus, we were allowed animals, but my roommate wasn’t so keen on that idea. I figured I could get one the next year. I had plans to get a white hamster and name it Zero after the ghost dog in “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Nope. Thanks to the new pet policy, no animals, besides fish, were permitted on campus.

One of my friends actually never received the memo that animals were not grandfathered in last year and brought her guinea pig up to Oswego ,hoping to keep him in her room. The assistant hall director came out, saw him and told her to send him home. Thanks to the change in policy, she actually had to give him to a new family and now she never gets to see him.

I can understand that animals aren’t exactly the cleanest or the quietest, but they do have a purpose. On a college campus, there is stress galore. Students have tests and papers on top of balancing friends, work and family. What is a college student to do? They can cuddle their stuffed animals but it’s not the same as picking up a hamster or a guinea pig and playing with it for a few minutes.

I’ve spoken to some students who were on different dormitory boards at the time that the animals on campus issue was apparently voted on and I was told that it was for cleanliness in the dorms and for those who have allergies.

I can understand the allergy thing, but I can’t understand why that’s a giant factor. I apologize to those who do have allergies but I’m allergic to shellfish, yet the dining halls still serve shellfish. They’re not going to just stop serving shellfish because people are allergic to it, so why do those who may need animals in their lives have to suffer?

From what I understand, there is the possibility of getting a “therapy” animal. These animals are only allowed on campus after the person who is permitted one goes through counseling and gets a lot of paperwork signed just to have the animal on campus. For someone already under a lot of pressure and stress, why stress them out more?

If you were to Google “correlation of stress on college students and lack of animals,” the data shows having animals on campus relieves a lot of stress and helps keep students from being too stressed.

Shouldn’t a school take any measures necessary to help its students destress? Sure, they bring therapy dogs on campus maybe twice a semester, but to those who love animals and have grown up with them, is five minutes of petting a dog enough? If the school wants to combat the rising levels of depression and anxiety that are caused by stress, they should do whatever it takes to help and the pet policy is definitely one that needs to be thought over.