Animals in College
By Kaya Diebes
Most students will think about what type of college, if any, they want to go to. But did you ever imagine going to college with a therapy chicken just down the hall? The University of Minnesota’s Saint Paul campus alongside many other colleges throughout the world allow therapy animals in the school to help students.
The University of Minnesota’s Saint Paul campus partakes in a programs called PAWS, Pet Away Worry and Stress. The university started participating in this program in 2013. Teams of registered therapy animals and their volunteer handlers are available for a few hours during the week for free furry encounters with the animals. Some of the animals at the university are Midnight the dog, Molly May the cat, Hunny the bunny, and Woodstock the chicken.
Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida not only allows a wide variety of animals to roam the campus, but they have a graduation ceremony every spring for outgoing pets. To add the cherry on top, the president of the college, Donald R. Eastman III, presents the animals with “diplomas”. This year 27 pets were honored at the Fifth Annual Eckerd College Pet Graduation on May 9, 2017. Eckerd allows all sorts of pets such as dogs, as long as they are under 40 pounds, cats, chinchillas, large birds, ferrets, rabbits and ducks.
Lees-McRae college in Banner Elk, North Carolina is one of the few colleges in the United States that not only allows, but encourages students and staff to bring their animals to class. The president at Lees-McRae, Dr. Barry Buxton, introduced the idea three years ago, and he says it’s been a huge success. Buxton brings his own dogs to work several days a week. In addition to dogs, the school is home to cats, geckos, and parrots. The housekeeping staff had to draw the line at snakes though.
Traveling out of the United States to the United Kingdom, the University of Essex adopted Pebbles, a black-and-white tomcat, that was first found wondering about the campus in 2010. Pebbles seems to be quite the active cat as Craig Stephens, Head of the Essex Student Union, said, “Pebbles just completed his undergraduate degree and will now start a Master’s degree, although his commitments as a local celebrity force him to scale back to part-time studies. And of course, Pebbles needs to follow a strict athletic regimen: He keeps fit and healthy by chasing the rabbits and ducks on campus.”
In Augsburg, Germany CampusCat has been “attending” the University of Augsburg for nine years now and shows no intention to graduate anytime soon. Their CampusCat has become a little bit of a celebrity having items in the on-campus store based off of him. Not only is this cat a celebrity on campus, but he has his own Facebook page with roughly 30,000 followers. That’s nearly three times as many people as the University has. CampusCat is quite the famous ginger.
From a therapy chicken in our own Twin Cities to famous cats who have been featured in the news, the world has it all. You’re furry friend may even receive a diploma alongside yourself.