Of the five occupied dorms at Stephens College, three allow pets. Searcy and Prunty halls allow pets on all floors and Tower Hall allows pets on its second floor. In all, these three dorms house roughly 50 pets.
Tower Hall, which began allowing pets this summer, is newest to the pet program. Tower was added to the program after a student submitted a request to President Lynch that the floor be added to the program. She reviewed the request and made the decision to add the second floor of Tower Hall to the pet program before start of the new school year.
And, though there are more pets now than last year, there has not been an increase in pet-related incidents.
Ryan Smith, director of the Department of Residence Life said, “Other than general pet accidents, there hasn’t been a lot of issues stemming from pets.”
Tower and Prunty halls house both pet owners and non pet owners. Samantha Thompson, a senior pet owner who lives in Tower Hall, thinks this can sometimes cause problems.
“People that don’t have pets don’t always understand the process of acclimating a pet to a new environment, especially rescue dogs,” she said.
Thompson’s rescue dog, Weego, a chihuahua terrier mix, sometimes barks when Thompson leaves for work early in the morning. According to Thompson, Weego is still getting used to living in a different place, and it has been a long adjustment process.
Aubree Schlepp, a sophomore who does not own a pet, lives on the second floor in Prunty. She enjoys the pets on the floor, but she does notice that Prunty smells like animals.
“It’s just a big change from living in Pillsbury last year with no pets,” Schlepp said.
Students who do not have pets on campus may not understand that bringing a pet involves more than just transportation and shelter. Stephens requests specific information from pet owners. To bring a pet on campus, students must complete a pet program agreement, which includes providing vaccination records, registering their pets with the city, filling out an informational sheet and providing a recent picture of their pets.
“Students should understand that there is a process. You can’t just bring any animal,” Smith said.
Owners and staff feel pets are another way to prepare students for real-world responsibilities and life after college.