Paws at UCF
How many of you have literally Face-timed with your student and been asked to put the family pet near the phone? I have also sent videos and photos of our dog wearing sunglasses, a UCF bandana and on occasion, attempting to lick his way to the bottom of an almost empty peanut butter jar. I do these things for a variety of reasons: 1) My kids miss our sweet dog and I can’t blame them, 2) I am hopeful that this will keep them satiated and not attempt to adopt another and 3) Our dog is just so darn cute.
Clearly, we are dog people. Yet, I am not a big fan of students adopting pets. I understand that the unconditional love of a sweet puppy or kitten can be wonderful around stressful times like midterms or finals. UCF often brings therapy dogs to campus during these times for just this reason. I am, however, keenly aware of the work that goes into training a pet and the expenses that come along with their lovability. Nevertheless, students occasionally develop amnesia for these sort of realities and get drawn in by floppy ears and wagging tails. Beware of text messages touting puppy and kitten faces. I recommend counteracting those with pictures of goldfish (the only pets allowed to be kept in on-campus housing are fish in a ten gallon or smaller tank. Read the rules here and take note that there is a $25 fine for unapproved pets.) Perhaps if you stay strong; your student will too.
However, should your student decide to adopt a pet while at college, they should check the rules for where they are living. When searching for an apartment, it is easy enough to find out which are pet-friendly. Some apartment complexes have separate leases for pets. Remind your student to inspect everything upon moving in and take pictures of any damage so their new four-legged friends cannot be blamed for it and consequently, not fined for it. It happens.
It is rather important they live in a place that is pet-friendly. Some students have tried to camouflage their pets and have been given seven days to get rid of the animal or be evicted. Some apartments fine their residents immediately. College Park fines residents $100 the first time they discover a pet, $200 the second time and the managers evict the resident if a third offense occurs. University Club fines residents $150 the first time, and $10 for each additional day that they continue to keep the animal in the apartment. Obviously, none of these are situations you want your son/daughter to be a part of.
Then again, it doesn’t always matter what we advise our children. My son and his roommates adopted a puppy last year; that, for the record, as darling as she is, is going home with one of his roommates for all holidays, summers and after graduation. I am not sure how they divided up the chores of walking, feeding and cleaning up after the puppy, but I was sure to remind them at the very beginning that these were all responsibilities that came with a pet. Later, they concluded on their own, that puppies need a lot of exercise to wear them out if they wanted sleep each night. So, maybe a kitten would have been a better choice, but, truth be told; girls do not run up to pet a kitten on a leash.
Pets Get Sick Too
Of course, if they do decide to have a pet, it is important to know that there are quite a few animal hospitals nearby; Banfield Pet Hospital, Alafaya Trail Animal Hospital, Waterford Lakes Animal Hospital, East Orange Animal Hospital and University Animal Hospital. We highly recommend having their pet chipped in case they get lost. If a lost pet is brought to an animal hospital they can be scanned and find the owner easily.
Peace. Love. Rescue.
Perhaps, spending a day with a puppy will be enough though. Check out Pet Rescue by Judy. This organization has a program called Dog 4 a Day that allows dogs to get out of the rescue and have a fun day and get a little puppy love. There are also a number of animal adoption centers in the area: Rescue Me Orlando, Orange County Animal Services, Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando and The Animal League.
When You Have to go Away
Hopefully, when you have to be away you can get a friend to watch your pet, but for those times that you can’t be sure to find a reliable place to board Rover or Daisy. There are a few near UCF – Happy Paws Pet Resort, University of Dogland and Alafaya Trail Pet Oasis. Be sure to book early for popular times like Thanksgiving or winter break.
Finally, if you do end up with grand-puppies, you may want to add some Knight gear to the holiday shopping list. There are all kinds of fun leashes, collars, toys, and jerseys for our newest, furry fans. If you’re lucky, you too may get some zany videos/pics like the ones I send them of our dog.