Before you ask if pets are even allowed in Pomona’s dorms, here’s the answer, from the Residence Hall page on the school’s website: “Pets are not permitted in the residence halls unless they are small, consistently caged, legal in California, benign, non-poisonous, and not objectionable to staff or other residents in the living area. Dogs and cats are prohibited.”
About a month ago, one of my spiblings, Cal, came up with a great idea: What if we used our sponsor group money (the $60-$70 sum of money that each sponsor group gets) on getting a hall hamster? At first, when we took an initial survey of our hall, everyone was on board, but once we had to put our votes down in a poll, people decided that they’d rather spend the money on something everyone would enjoy (for example, food), because not everyone would actually care for the hamster.
So, Cal and I decided that since we both really wanted a hamster, we’d buy one with our own money and split the cost and responsibility of taking care of it. Cal got all of the official paperwork done, since he was technically going to be the primary caretaker of the hamster (i.e., Cal was going to be the one who took the hamster home during breaks). However, we were going to share equal responsibility. We would transfer it between our rooms once a week (because more often than that would upset the hamster, and it was a reasonable amount of time for each person to have a hamster, especially since you have to change the bedding and clean out the cage once a week).
We finally got a cute little female hamster and named her Mibby, after M1B, or Mudd 1 Back. She’s currently in my room and I am happy to say that I love having her around! And thus, I present you with a brief guide to keep in mind if you’re considering getting a pet:
1. Really look into the pet you’re gonna get, and make sure you know what you’re committing to! Bunnies get stressed out in college environments and can have heart attacks, so they’re probably not a good idea unless you really live in a low-activity place. Chinchillas are so soft, but they’re really expensive and high maintenance. Hamsters are great, but they’re still a furry animal, so they’re prone to smelling at least a bit. I guess reptiles are pretty chill, but you know, you gotta make sure that having them doesn’t disturb anyone in your hall (and that goes for the cuddly animals, too).
2. Make sure you know what you’re going to do with them over break!
3. Do you have enough time to take care of a pet? Thankfully, hamsters tend to sleep during the day and be active at night, so Mibby’s always sleeping while I’m in class and wakes up around the time when I’m actually in my room and am available to take care of her. But playing with her takes time, too! If I don’t take her out occasionally and let her explore the world in her hamster ball, she’ll get restless and try to escape from her cage. When I do take her out, though, I have to follow her to make sure she doesn’t roll down a flight of steps or wander into someone else’s room. She’s a curious one!
4. How do the people in your hall feel about you having a pet? One of the requirements for having a pet is that it doesn’t disturb anybody, so if anyone morally objects to having an animal in captivity in your room or something, you should probably deal with that issue.
5. Can you afford to take care of a pet? Supplies run out and they cost money!
6. Are you willing to deal with pee? You have to be able to deal with droppings.
If you think getting a pet is too big of a responsibility for you but you really want one, ask around and see if any of your friends wants to co-own it with you, like what I’m doing! I really wanted a pet but didn’t know what I’d do with it over break, so I’m really glad that Cal wanted a hamster too and was willing to take her home over break.
If you can’t get a pet, look into volunteering at shelters that have animals you like! I volunteered at The Bunny Bunch Burrow in nearby Montclair, which houses bunnies, chinchillas, and guinea pigs, before I got Mibby, and it’s a great non-committal way to spend time with animals you like while making a difference in their lives.
No matter what you choose to do, make sure that it’s right for you. I hope my guide helped!