Junior Roy Leaf wakes up at 7:30 a.m. to let his dog, Seamus, out for a walk. He tries to give Seamus at least two hours of playtime before class, and during lunch, he takes Seamus to the park to kick around a soccer ball before heading back to class. Leaf then takes Seamus outside before dinner and plays with him until the dog tires out at around 9 or 10 p.m. Then it is off to the library for homework.
“He needs to be out of his kennel for at least eight or nine hours every day, so it generally costs me four or five hours when he’s out,” Leaf said. “I can’t study when he’s out because he’s a bit crazy. He’s not a couch dog.”
Although Seamus is temporarily with Leaf’s parents in Rockford, Ill., he normally stays at Sigma Chi fraternity with Leaf. Leaf said that during parties Seamus stays in the basement, because he gets anxious around lots of people. But typically, Seamus follows Leaf around the house.
Sophomore Olivia Carmel, a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, is not allowed to have pets at her house. But Carmel, an avid cat-lover, said there have been times when she has wanted to take in stray cats she found in Greencastle. However, in these instances, she was able to find homes for them — one with her sorority house mom, and one she named Marley who now lives with her parents in Millersberg, Ohio.
In the fall, Carmel found Marley, a Siamese kitten, wandering around streets on campus. She had friends in various houses who played with the cat regularly, but never took it in as their own.
“Finally my good friend Andrew texted me one day telling me to come over,” Carmel said. “When I got there, I was surprised by this adorable little kitten napping in his lap. I convinced him to keep it until my mom visited the next weekend. We both fell in love with her and knew we couldn’t just leave her on the streets.”
While students living in greek houses have varying rules on pets, students living in university-owned housing cannot have a pet, unless it is a fish in an aquarium less than five gallons in volume. For Carmel, it’s hard to see all the strays in Greencastle.
“My family and I are all animal lovers, so growing up I was used to always having a lot of pets around,” she said. “Being in college, I really miss not having them around so whenever I see strays, I just want to do something about it. I wish I could help them all, but of course, I can’t.”
One of the houses allowed to have pets is Phi Delta Theta fraternity, which has quite a few furry residents. Junior Michael Woodsmall and his dog, Jake, live in the fraternity, and Woodsmall said the responsibilities that come with having a dog keeps him busy, along with school and activities.
Woodsmall, who grew up around dogs, said that while Jake was a bit too energetic as a puppy, he has learned to not eat things, like his roommate’s shoe.
But Woodsmall says the advantages outweigh the difficulties a pet may bring in college, even if that means making sure the dog is doing well during parties.
“Dogs really are man’s best friend,” Woodsmall said. “You get really attached and dogs can tell when you aren’t in a good mood. It surprises me how much I understand him and he understands me.”