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More students owning dogs gives campus friendlier feel

Lauren Doxsey / Features Editor

A significant number of Elon students are not just living with roommates anymore.  More students around campus, especially those who live in off-campus houses or apartments, are bringing their pets, specifically dogs, to college with them.

Owning a dog while in college adds more responsibility to the student on top of their busy schedule.  Many wonder if having a pet while in school is really worth it.

Sophomore Maggie Santry believes it isn't smart for a student to have a dog, especially when they are busy with a lot of activities, whether it be schoolwork or extracurricular.

"I don't agree with those who are college age having dogs," Santry said.  " A dog needs a family and loving care.  I don't think that a dog can benefit from the college atmosphere."

Students, as well as faculty members, who own dogs can be seen regularly walking around campus, which tends to give the campus a friendlier feel.

Economics professor Jennifer Platania is one faculty member who takes her yellow Labrador retriever, Quincy, out on walks around campus.

"I routinely run into students who comment on how much they miss their dogs and who ask to pet Quincy," Platania said.  "I believe that this gives the campus both a friendly and casual feel."

Platania lives fairly close to Elon's campus, so it is convenient for her to take 8-year-old Quincy to campus.  She usually takes Quincy for walks usually three to four times a week around campus.

"Elon is mainly a good place for Quincy to run in a park-like environment.  The pond is a good place to chase ducks, and the old intramural fields and practice football field are good places to play ball," Platania said.

The majority of students who choose to have a dog at school with them live off-campus, since pets are not allowed in the on-campus residential housing.  Senior George Memory is one student who has taken this path.

"Having a dog at school isn't as bad as some may think," Memory said.

"My roommates help out a lot, which is nice."

Memory has a 6-month-old Pekingese named Murphy and does not live that far outside of Elon, so it is simple for him to bring his dog home if need be.  He says he brings Murphy home every month or so.

Memory also regularly takes Murphy on walks around campus and gets great responses from other students as well as faculty members about his dog.

"Others think Murphy is adorable," Memory said.  "They sometimes even offer to care of him."

However, with the busy schedule associated with the normal college student life, owning a dog may not be right for everyone.

"While it might sound like fun to have a dog, the reality is that this dog will consume your life for the next 10 or more years and most college students are not prepared for that type of commitment at this stage of their lives," Platania said.

Memory disagrees.

"I think responsibility varies on the students' workload and involvement throughout campus," Memory said. "Being a senior and coasting through my last semester, I have tons of free time.  Murphy keeps me busy and teaches me how to be more responsible."

Platania leaves students who own dogs good advice, "always clean up after your dog!  Elon is a beautiful place and we try our best to leave it the way we found it."

Contact Lauren Doxsey at pendulum@elon.edu or 278-7247.

Ryan Howard / Photographer

Senior Lauren Gadd takes her 3-month-old Labrador/Shepard mix, Mandy, for a walk on East College Ave.