Students looking for some company in college may want to bring pets with them when they move out of a residence hall and into an apartment. But some challenges may come with having a furry friend with you in your new abode.
Many student apartments do not allow pets to live in the building. The Meridian, 646 E. College Ave., for example, has a no-pets policy.
A few apartments do allow residents’ four-legged friends to stay with them, and some will charge an extra fee. Briarwood Apartments, 679 Waupelani Dr., is one such apartment complex that allows pets.
Katherine Smith, property manager of Briarwood Apartments, said that pets have been allowed at Briarwood since Morgan Properties bought the apartment complex 16 years ago.
Smith said there is a non-refundable fee as well as a monthly fee for owners who wish to keep their pets with them at their apartment. In addition, there is a limit of two pets per apartment.
She also said the decision to allow pets was made because “pets are often considered to be part of the family.”
Lisa Bahr, director of operations at Centre County PAWS, said that when it comes to undergraduates who wish to adopt pets, PAWS wants to make sure the animals have a permanent family.
The organization sees a fairly steady influx of student adopters during the year. Some are undergraduate students.
Bahr said that undergraduates who wish to adopt pets from PAWS must volunteer with the organization before they may submit an application for the pet of their choice. In addition, staff members usually talk to the prospective adopters beforehand.
This regulation does not apply to adult undergraduate students, such as those who had previously served in the military, she said. This is because they are typically at a different stage in their life by the time they enter college.
“Most undergraduates don’t have their after-college plans sorted out completely, so their living situation is more temporary,” she said. “That’s not the sort of situation that someone taking in a pet as a permanent member of the family should be in.”
The PAWS staff is interested in making sure that students have the finances and time to devote to owning a dog, Bahr said.
She added that time is another concern the PAWS staff typically has when it comes to student adopters, since students can have hectic schedules.
“Does the dog match your lifestyle in a way that is fair to the dog?” she said she asks prospective adopters to consider. This is a concern she has for all who wish to adopt pets, and is not limited to students.
Bahr said that PAWS typically sees an increase in pet surrender calls at the end of the spring semester.
“We get a lot of calls about students who have moved out and animals are literally left in the apartments or turned out to the street,” she said.
Most of the calls pertain to cats, she said, but some concern dogs as well.
That said, Bahr also mentioned that she believes State College is a fairly pet-friendly town. The community has been supportive to PAWS in particular, offering the organization help whenever it has needed it.
“Our community is really supportive of PAWS and of animals in general,” she said.
Jordy Hudson is one Penn State student who has made the decision to bring a pet with her to campus.
Hudson (senior-animal sciences) wrote in an email that she had talked about bringing her 10-year-old golden retriever, Sage, with her to college for awhile. When she decided she would live off-campus in an apartment, she looked specifically for an apartment that would allow pets.
“When my younger sister started college, she didn't get much attention because my parents don't really have a lot of time for her,” Hudson said. “When she's at school with me, she gets attention from my two roommates and me. She is also good motivation to get out and exercise.”
One drawback to having a dog at campus is that Hudson must return to her apartment in the evening between classes and club meetings to take Sage out and to feed her. She said that her roommates are willing to help out as well.
But to Hudson, the rewards are worth the drawbacks.
“Sage has learned a lot of new tricks since she came up here because that’s what we do when I need a break from schoolwork,” Hudson said. “I love having her here. She keeps me sane when school is driving me crazy.”