Art by Madeline Duvall
Having a furry creature around for comfort may seem ideal to the stressed-out student. But with Pepperdine’s limited living premises, having a pet-friendly campus just isn’t a viable option.
Animals do not belong in the cramped dorm lifestyle. Most students have barely enough room for their own things in their small two or three person rooms. Animals need space to run around. When a room is barely big enough to hold its human tenants, how can another living creature be expected to reside in there comfortably?
Additionally, living with roommates (as most Pepperdine students do) is already tricky as it is. Throwing pets into the mix will only make things more complicated. Just because an owner may love their pet and all its weird habits does not mean that everyone else will. One may forgive their dog for destroying their shoes, but when that dog destroys their roommate’s things, it’s another story.
Furthermore, college life is not conducive to good pet care. Students are away for hours each day in class and other events where they cannot bring their pets. This means leaving them in cramped dorm rooms where they will be confined and lonely. Feeding and walking times may not always line up with a student’s busy schedule. Hiring pet sitters is an expense few college students can afford, and leaving them in the care of friends or roommates quickly becomes a complicated enterprise.
“Everyone may be enthusiastic at first, but don’t think that they’re automatically agreeing to take care of the pet as if it were their own,” wrote Megan Tackett in her article “5 reasons college students and pets don’t mix,” published Oct. 6, 2015 by We Are IU.
Even if roommates are comfortable with the pet, neighbors may not be. One dog howling in the night on a college campus could disturb the entire community. There are literally thousands of people living in close quarters at Pepperdine, all of whom have the potential to be affected by any pets on campus.
Moreover, college students are not known for having a lot of money. They can barely keep themselves fed, much less a dog or cat, and veterinarian visits are notoriously expensive. But working a job means even less time to spend with one’s pet.
Pets are a huge responsibility, and they take up a lot of time that a student might otherwise spend studying. Cats and dogs need a lot of attention, and they will do whatever it takes to get it, even if that means walking across one’s keyboard or chewing on things they shouldn’t. “Dogs need to be walked regardless of whether you have a term paper due,” writes T. J. Banks in her article “The Pros and Cons of Having a Pet at College,” published Oct. 2, 2017 by Petful.
For the unfocused student, pets are the perfect excuse to get out of work. Who wouldn’t rather play with their pet than write an essay?
Additionally, there is the question of what happens after graduation. Most students are only at Pepperdine for a short amount of time, usually four years. Students who get a pet during this time will need to figure out what to do with it when they go to a new campus for grad school, or to new living quarters where the pet policy may not be as friendly. Roommates who get a pet together will have to decide who keeps it after graduation. Furthermore, Pepperdine has a unique situation in which most of its students go abroad at some point during their time here. 59 percent of this year’s freshman class applied for an International Program, according to Arthur Puu’s article “International Program Growth Raises Questions for Studying Abroad Accommodations,” published Nov. 7, 2017 by the Pepperdine Graphic. This means finding a home for their pets for a semester or a year while they are out of the country.
Although the idea of a pet-friendly Pepperdine may seem like a dream come true for many animal lovers, the impractical logistics make it a nightmare in reality. Pets should not be allowed on Pepperdine’s campus.
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