BY LOGYN NORRIS
For most of us, coming to McKendree is our first taste of freedom. We stay out late, we drink, we skip class and we make some financial mistakes. Whether it is spending too much money on a beer run, an expensive new shirt or eating McDonalds at 3 a.m. for five nights straight, we have all done it. However, some McKendree residents are using their money and new found freedom for other items: animals.
Many students are using their money to buy various pets for their dorm room and/or apartment. To make sure there is not confusion, McKendree does allow certain animals on campus, the main one being fish. However, students are now hoarding hamsters, cats, dogs and even more exotic animals such as reptiles. If you happen to have McKendree’s student run Snapchat account, then I’m sure you’ve seen a few of these cuddly faces before.
Stated below is the policy regarding animals at McKendree University:
No person shall bring into any building owned or controlled by the University any animal with the exception of those animals being used for University authorized research and approved guide or hearing dogs. Penalty: not less than Disciplinary Warning; not more than Disciplinary Probation.
There is also the verbal policy that many Resident Assistants tell their building, indicating that as long as the animal can breathe underwater for 12 hours at a time, then “it’s good.”
Now, why are people going against the handbook? How are they hiding these animals? What do these animals do during the day? I interviewed a few McKendree residents ranging from seniors to freshman, but will not include their names due to privacy concerns. Below are their responses to why they have decided to buy pets while living on McKendree’s campus.
“I walked into Petco to buy my beta fish more food, I found myself in the hamster aisle, the poor little guy happened to be on sale, and I ended up leaving with fish food and a hamster cage.”
“If this school can have a pet alligator, then I can bring my lizard.”
“The dorms are old, gross and sad to me. So, I decided to get a hamster, and now I enjoy coming home after class.”
“I don’t really know why I have a dog. He’s cute and I wanted him. So…”
“College is hard. Cats make it easier.”
“I’m an adult.”
I later asked these individuals where they hid their pets during health and safeties. Below are their answers.
“My roommate stashes our dog in his car until it is over.”
“I put my hamster in a tote that is chilling under my bed.”
“We throw a towel over his cage. No one ever checks our room.”
“I throw the cage in the bathtub every time. They never look there.”
“I store the cats in the master closet until they leave.”
“I normally sneak him out the back door while my roommate covers for me.”
Lastly, I asked these pet owners what they do with their pets while they are in class or at work all day.
“I trust my dog, but just in case anyone of authority were to come in, I just hide him in the master bedroom.”
“We just leave him in the cage and hope that no one walks in. He’s still here, so I’m guessing we haven’t been caught yet.”
“Our lizard’s cage is too big to move, so he just sits in our room. We literally hope for the best every time we leave.”
“I have a bed skirt for my bed, so I just stuff her cage under there since my dorm is so small.”
“I have two cats and an occasional stray, and they have the run of the apartment. I trust them not to do anything, and typically someone is always at the apartment anyways.”
“I have plenty of friends who help with him [their dog]. They’re kind of like a babysitting service, I normally just drop him off with someone. But if not, he chills in the master closet.”
There you have it, folks. Between the dorms and off campus housing, our grand total is: two dogs, two hamsters, two (possibly three) cats and a lizard. Keep in mind, these are just the people I was able to find, there could be dozens of more little friends here at McKendree. I would like to thank these six brave souls for speaking out and sharing their pet-parent experiences. To any other pet owner on campus, congratulations, your secret is well kept. But be warned that you are breaking McKendree’s housing policy.