Andrew Scherffius

Guest Writer

Considering my current living accommodations and day-to-day schedule, I surely rank among the majority of students when I say that I could not, in good conscience, raise a pet. In my forced triple in Mathias, even The Mustard Tiger, a stalwart Beta Fish which one of my roommates took upon himself to raise first semester, seems a big commitment. Despite living alongside three humans in a room where the windows are often left open and bright desk lamps blind it from above, the Mustard Tiger actually gets plenty of care—twice daily feedings and a monthly tank cleaning. But the Mustard Tiger is a fish, and if six blocks of humanities classes have taught me anything about biology, it’s that fish are nothing like dogs.

Fish live in bowls. They eat a pinch of psychedelically colored paper twice a day. Dogs go wherever they want. They are far closer to us on the evolutionary tree than fish, and it shows in our relationships. Dogs are more companions to us than fish will ever be because they are emotionally relatable. We all know a happy dog when we see one. Fish, on the hand – who knows what they’re thinking? The old trope, the one your parents probably told you when you were 12 years old and gunning for a puppy for Christmas, goes something like this: “Raising a dog is a big commitment. You need to be prepared to walk and feed it every day.” You nodded and flashed a liar’s smile when you told them that the new puppy would be your responsibility and yours alone. Six or seven years later, you’re in college.

For Annie Woodward, a Colorado College senior, and her adorable dog, Blu, the positive relationship between student and dog is hard to ignore. For three back-to-back blocks, Blu was a regular face in my classes. As professors lectured from 9:30 to 12:00, she wove between legs and outstretched hands like a professional ski-racer, always making her way back to Annie’s side or lap where she relished in her companion’s affection.

“I’ve only had four professors since Blu came to CC, but they were all super cool about letting her come to class, which was so unexpected!”

On the relationship in general, Annie had this to say: “She’s my little protector and is a good motivator for me to get outside. Dogs make people approachable. People will come up and talk to you just because you have a dog and they probably wouldn’t have otherwise.”

But before you go out and get a Saint Bernard puppy with expectations of bringing it to class every day and using it to flirt with cuties, know that it’s not all a walk in the park. Take Annie’s word for it.

“I was lucky enough that I didn’t have to train a puppy in college, but your life changes with a pup and you have to plan accordingly and make sure you have the time to give them the love and exercise they need. Things like ski days need more preparation to make sure she has someone good that she trusts to watch her. But it’s totally worth it to me!”

Though Annie lives off campus, there are options for students who want to raise animals in on-campus housing. Currently, disability services is waiting to publish a set of guidelines and policy procedures for those wishing to apply to raise emotional-support and service animals.

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