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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Illicit companionship: all pets are off

“Three years ago, (former hall director Dennis Scott) was on duty and called me and said, ‘There’s a baby chicken of unusual size running around in Bryan in the lounge, and I don’t know what to do about that,’ and I was like, ‘I don’t know what to do with a chicken,’” said Associate Dean for Campus Life Jennifer Agor.

At times, even the cutest of pets can cause quite a kerfuffle. Nevertheless, some students find that their company outweighs the potential dangers and charges.

During her first year at Guilford College, sophomore Avery Olearczyk brought a new lady friend into Milner: Nolan the hamster, named after her resident advisor, junior Nolan Dwyer.

“Everybody on our hall got really excited about Nolan, and a couple people helped me build her cage,” said Olearczyk. “She was like a hall pet. Everybody loved Nolan and played with Nolan.”

However, when Olearczyk accidentally locked herself out of her room and called Public Safety, the dorm room stowaway was discovered. After the judiciary process had run its course, Nolan, along with what Olearczyk describes as her “Italian-made hamster resort,” transferred to the home of a particularly caring Campus Life staff member.

First-year Lea Brown had a similar experience this year. “Over the years, I’ve had a lot of pets, but this is the first one I’ve been really attached to and a lot of people find that strange, because he’s a turtle, but that doesn’t matter to me,” said Brown. “He’s so cute. He looks like a little old man.”

Having preemptively called the Office of Admission and been incorrectly given permission by an unknown staff member, Brown had been under the impression that Turtle, the painted turtle, would be allowed to live in her dorm room.

Even so, rules are rules. Ultimately, Turtle was also made to transfer from Guilford and now resides in the home of a recently met off-campus friend. Meanwhile, Brown continues to try to discern how student and turtle can be reunited.

While Guilford may not have a high retention rate for pets, there are rules that must be followed and reasons for these rules.

“The only thing that is allowed is a fish,” said Agor. “(The tank must be) 10 gallons or less and (the rules say) specifically ‘fish,’ not things that live underwater, not things that use scuba gear and live underwater. Fish.”

This is because pets such as cats and dogs carry allergens, and once a pet-owning student moves out of a dorm room, another student moves in. This can cause serious problems for students with pet allergies. Also, if the pet escapes and dies or has babies in the walls of a dorm, or if the pet scares or harms another student, there could be serious problems, not only for the student owner, but also for the college.

However, this does not mean that having a pet is impossible.

Sophomore Charlie Coates says that he shares a bond with his pet beta fish, Otto. “He’s always there,” said Coates. “He’s just like, ‘Yo, what’s up?’ It’s fun to feed him and to stare at him sometimes. It’s nice to know that I have a fish.”

Junior CCE student Ben Webb also has a pet that lives with him off campus at Hodgins Retreat Apartments: Criqit the tarantula.

Webb describes Criqit as “like a psychedelic poster, but it’s living. … The way it moves is kind of alien. It has hairs all over its body that kind of glow. It’s like a decoration, but that’s not why I bought it. I bought it to share a friendship.”

While friendship is always valuable, friendships with fangs or claws or “of unusual size” are better kept off campus.

A word to the wise — when looking for a new roommate, a fish is your safest option.

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