OPINION: On-campus pets could benefit students, community

Mollie Moore is the opinion editor for the College Heights Herald during the spring 2016 semester.

Mollie Moore

I love dogs. I love their ears, their little paws, their tongues that don’t stay in their mouths, their tails, their bellies, their funny looking eyelashes — there is no part of a dog that isn’t lovable. My dog, Shelby, is my best friend and steadfast companion during breaks, but when it’s time to buckle down and return to school I have to reluctantly leave her behind. Living in a tiny dorm room and keeping a 90 lb yellow lab unfortunately don’t go well together, plus it’s not really allowed. At least, not here at WKU.

There are actually universities with pet-friendly on-campus housing. Massachusetts Institute of Technology allows students to keep cats in four of their residence halls, and in one of University of Illinois’ on campus apartments each resident is allowed two pets each. Even if they don’t allow pets to just live on campus with the students, Kent State has a “Dogs on Campus” program that holds events a few times a month around campus for students to interact with dogs as a means of therapy and stress relief.

It’s no secret that playing with adorable animals, whether they be dogs, cats or even birds, is a great way to reduce stress. It’s hard to hold onto what’s bothering you when you’ve got a puppy to hold onto. Just yesterday I was stopped by a beautiful Golden Retriever named Tucker while walking to campus from the Chestnut Street parking lot. My anger at having to park so far away completely dissolved when Tucker jumped up, put his paws on my shoulder and gave me a big ol’ kiss on the face. Everyone who deals with the daily stresses of school and work needs a regular cuteness break.

In the article “Owners and pets exercising together: The metabolic benefits of ‘walking the dog’,” by Mark B. Stephens, Cindy C. Wilson, Jeffrey L. Goodie, F. Ellen Netting, Cara Olsen, Christopher G. Byers, and Mary E. Yonemura from Purdue University the authors stress the health benefits of owning pets, specifically dogs. According to the article, dog owners report fewer health problems and are more likely to take recreational walks than people who don’t own dogs. While we as college students walk to and from class all day, we are often sedentary. Having a dog or other pet that requires daily physical activity helps to get us off of our lazy butts.

All in all, dogs are beautiful, kind, loving, loyal creatures that everyone should have the opportunity to love. Being able to have pets live on campus would not only destress the students, but also teach them responsibility. Plus, we all probably want to see more pups running and playing around campus.