Lees-McRae College is going to the dogs and cats, birds, fish, ferrets, and hamsters! With the opening of the spring 2011 semester also comes the opening of the College's first pet friendly residence hall.
Bentley Residence Hall opened its doors on January 9 to its newest two-legged and four-legged residents for the inaugural semester of the Lees-McRae College Pet Friendly Program.
"I am so excited that Lees-McRae College has joined the ranks of pet friendly colleges and universities. We love our pets and we recognize that students who are pet owners are generally responsible and caring individuals," said President Barry M. Buxton. "We want to encourage pet adoption and awareness that all of God's creatures are sacred."
Students living in Bentley Hall went through a thorough application process and are now allowed to bring their pets from home to school with them to live in their rooms. Under the new policy, qualifying students can have fish, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, birds, ferrets, cats, dogs - anything under 40 pounds. Non-domestic pets are not allowed. Previously, students were only allowed to have fish in residence hall rooms.
The idea to make Lees-McRae College pet friendly is part of President Buxton's 20-point revitalization plan for the College. President and Mrs. Buxton often bring their own four-legged friends, Aw Shux and Sweetie Pie, to campus for the work day. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to bring their pets to campus.
"It is great to be able to have my two dogs for companionship while I am studying and doing homework in my room," said student Lauren Lampley, owner of Shih Tzus Heidi and Buckley. "This responsibility also forces me to manage my time well enough to take care of them and make sure I make time to spend with them."
The approved pets for the inaugural pet friendly program at Lees-McRae College are Luna, a Boston Terrier; Athena, a Dutch Rabbit; Heidi and Buckley, both Shih Tzus; Little Bit, a Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix; Beeb, a Miniature Dachshund; Gizmo, a leopard gecko; Confucius, a Maine Coon mix; Blinx and Lily, both ferrets; Mogwai, a European Starling; Andy, a Siamese mix; Whipcream, a small Labrador Retriever; and Ollie, a parrot.
"We know how much the companionship of a pet can benefit a college student, particularly in the form of stress-relief and as a remedy for homesickness," said Joshua Fried, director, Petside.com. "We are pleased to know that so many of America's colleges are welcoming responsible students and their pets."
The Lees-McRae College Pet Policy allows resident students the privilege of bringing a family pet to live on campus while the student is enrolled in classes. It is the purpose of the Lees-McRae College Pet Council to provide a safe environment for members of the Lees-McRae College community, and to protect, maintain, and regulate the pet ownership privilege enjoyed by members of the community.
"Now I have two alarms," jokes Chazlyn Thomas, owner of Beeb, a Miniature Dachshund. "When I ignore my alarm clock, my dog licks my face and my nose until I get up. She really cares about my education."
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