Around Bonita, four legs are a familiar sight, and the therapy dog program means that for all four years of a student’s high school experience, the comfort of playing with a furry friend is as easy as walking to class or driving home.
For students with a pet at home, it is easy to become accustomed to seeing dogs all the time. Beloved pets are by their side when at home, and during the day, there is always at least one dog walking around campus. For 12th graders going away to college, senior year is bittersweet- an exciting experience awaits at their school of choice but it also means leaving pets behind.
Very few college campuses are pet friendly, which is understandable, yet surprising. When nearly 6 out of every 10 students comes from a household with a pet, the benefits should outweigh the liability risks. According to the Center for Disease Control, pets lower your blood pressure, stress and cholesterol levels, and feelings of loneliness. They can also increase your opportunities for exercise, outdoor activities, and socialization.
While signing a waiver or taking out an insurance policy can solve liability issues, not much can provide the same benefits of pet ownership for students. With the numerous health benefits of pet ownership, schools would see a direct correlation between pets on campus and increased healthiness of students.
Transitioning from the ease of high school to stress of college life can be overwhelming. Students are not only living away from home for the first time, they are faced with complete separation from friends, family, and a familiar environment as well as rigorous course work.
Complete liberation in college can be exhilarating. However, for those that have never spent more than a few nights away from home or those that have no idea how they are going to pay for their education, a pet can provide the perfect stress relief.
The opportunity to bring along man’s (or woman’s) best friend could be the difference for a student mulling between two colleges. In a twitter survey of Bonita students, 68% of respondents said they would bring their pet to college if they were allowed to. Taking the leap is scary and of course there will be bumps along the way, but more colleges should definitely consider becoming pet friendly.
Before jumping in entirely however, colleges do need to consider the needs of all students. Only a portion of campus should be pet friendly because college after all, is still a place of learning. It would be unfair to those with allergies, service animals or a dislike of animals if they were forced to be surrounded by a zoo of pets.
As of now, Bonita students, for the most part, will not be bringing Fido to college, but hopefully, one day that will change because colleges would only see healthier, happier, and more successful students.