In the interest of having something to do, I guess, researchers at Ohio State University found that pets can provide support, companionship, and stress relief for college students who live with their pets. Now more than ever, college students need whatever help they can get to overcome the stresses encountered on the bridge from home to career. Better dogs than drugs.
But it doesn't come as any surprise that a pet would not provide the same comfort, companionship, and stress relief for college students, as a pet relationship would provide for any person under stress... and who doesn't experience stress? Those of us who've been raised with pets as our "best friends," generally live with pets throughout our lives for the same reasons.
The ability to have a pet on a college campus, though, is a wonderful opportunty for those students who are responsible to their pets and to their dorm mates. But a student's pet has to be amenable to living in a dorm room, as well. You don't want to bring an outdoor cat to live in your dorm room, nor a dog who experiences separation anxiety. Certainly the pet's temperament has to be considered along with the restrictions dictated by the college.
What I find most interesting in reading about pets on college campuses are the observations of the administration of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg Florida, one of the pioneers in allowing pets to live in dormitories with students. They find that pets make better students. That's right, better students.
How? Having a pet makes a student more responsible, let's say about going to classes. The need to walk a dog or feed a cat gets one up in the morning, whereas otherwise that 8:00 a.m. class might be skipped. In the evening, students are more likely to return to their rooms instead of going out to party. And if they do party, they return to their rooms at a more responsible hour.
A few dozen colleges now provide specially assigned dormitory space for students with pets, among them, Eckerd College, UCLA, MIT, Stephens College, Vassar College, Cal Tech and the State University of New York, although all have certain restrictions about pet size and pet type.
That's the buzz for today!