The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, March 14, 2005  

Don’t Forget the Pooch

Clothes? Check. Computer? Check. Television? Check. Stereo? Check. DVD player? Check. Cell phone? Check. Fido? . . . Fido?

I think Stephens College (Obscure fact: Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, Class of 1946.), among other institutions, is on to something.

Elizabeth Armstrong Moore reports in Tuesday’s Christian Science Monitor (“Animal Dorm”):

After several students and new president Wendy Libby -- who is rarely seen without her black lab Abby -- discussed the emotional advantages of having pets at school, Stephens College, a small all-female liberal arts school in Columbia, Mo., kicked off 2004-05 with a newly designated eight-room “pet floor” in Pruny Hall, becoming one of only a few colleges in the nation to allow pets in dorm rooms.

According to Moore, pets also are permitted at the Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland; Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.; and the State University of New York College of Technology at Canton, Canton, N.Y.

This is neither a simple, nor an uncontroversial, proposition, as Moore reports. Both critics and supporters raising such issues as cleanliness, noise, cruelty, and, most important, the need for college students to develop a strong sense of independence as they move -- seemingly at a snail’s pace these days -- toward adulthood.

Nonetheless, I think it’s a concept worth examining further, and you know who agrees with me about that.

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