Dorm pets 101

You walk into your dorm room after a long day and want nothing more than to see the bright familiar face of your pet from home welcoming you back. Instead, you see a stack of homework and plain walls staring back at you. Residential life approved pets are a solution to brighten your day in a busy and new college environment.

Most rodents, many reptiles, fish and other animals under five pounds are all allowed in dorms. This includes mice, guinea pigs, hamsters, nonvenomous snakes and turtles. Leave your dogs, cats, birds, arachnids, rabbits and ferrets at home, as they are prohibited. Jones Hall floor three Residential Advisor, Rebecca Greenway, said she has seen students have everything from fish to hedgehogs during her two years living in Jones Hall. When selecting your dorm pet, be cautious, as a pet is a big responsibility for an active college student.

“It may not be the same as having a puppy — but you are still responsible for another life,” Spencer Hoagland, junior plant sciences major and Tiger Garden employee said.

If you do not think you can commit to a dorm pet, then a beta fish may be the right fit for you. The greatest benefit of beta fish is that they require minimal care and no training, but overfeeding could leave them tummy side up.

Tiger Garden sells beta fish at $4.95 with bowl and rock combinations starting at $8.95. The shop is located in 2-34 Agriculture Building and is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can even use student charge for your new pet.

If you are looking for more ways to be involved with animals, the Animal Welfare Club is a free campus resource. Club president and animal science major, Shelby Huber, describes the club as the other end of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

“The regulations put behind animal welfare are mostly scientific based, and a lot of the public does not know how to understand science,” Huber said.

The Animal Welfare Club takes the scientific animal regulations of organizations like PETA and presents them in a way that is understandable to the public. Huber stressed that a pet is a big responsibility and everyone should be educated on the well-being of animals. Pet owners have a responsibility to educate themselves and others.

Choosing a dorm pet is a serious decision with great rewards. Always remember to take the student pet policy into consideration. A little self-reflection and animal welfare education will lead to a new friend and a happier, healthier dorm.

Elizabeth Johnson

About the Author Elizabeth Johnson

I am pursuing a degree in science and agricultural journalism with an emphasis in agricultural marketing. I hope to work in corporate public relations post graduation. I have a passion for communications and anything and everything Mizzou. My dad is a CAFNR alumnus with a degree in agricultural economics, and my mom graduated from the College of Education. Both of my parents grew up on family operated farms and in rural agricultural communities. This was the main factor in my decision to pursue a degree from CAFNR. I wrote for Corner Post during Fall 2013 and had no writing experience prior to that. I now have a new appreciation for investigative journalism and am excited to continue practicing it.