Campus reflects on pet-friendly hall

Truman State University’s pet-friendly housing in Dobson Hall is nearing the end of its first academic year and has been a success in the eyes of Residence Life staff and residents. 

This new special housing option allowed Truman to reopen one floor of Dobson Hall, which closed for the 2019-20 academic year.  

Truman first announced pet-friendly housing last year and Residence Life allocated Dobson Hall’s first floor as the location for this community. The policy, application and resource guides related to pet-friendly housing are available via the “Pet-Friendly Housing” link on the Residence Life website.   

Some of these policies include paying a non-refundable pet fee of $50 per semester for dogs and $25 for smaller animals like cats, gerbils, hamsters or rabbits, submitting documents such as veterinary records for applications and restrictions on allowed dog breeds. To reside in pet-friendly housing, pet owners must complete an application and attach all required documents.

Truman’s pet-friendly housing has been flourishing in its first year from the perspective of Residence Life staff, Dobson student advisors and the students who reside there. 

“We’re having a number of students express interest in living there without a pet … there are folks that are excited to live in buildings with pets without owning one themselves,” Residence Life Director Jamie Van Boxel said.  

Maggie Carlson, a student advisor in Dobson, reported that students have not had complaints related to pet-ownership thus far. 

Carlson is a pet-owner herself and takes care of her cat, Poppy, in her dorm.

“People are really responsible and respectful with their pets, which I really appreciate,” Carlson said.  

Currently in pet-friendly housing, there is one small dog, several cats and some smaller animals like rabbits and hamsters, Carlson said. Some residents in Dobson reside without pets, but the majority are pet-owners. Both Emotional Service Animals and pets currently reside in Dobson Hall.

One of my favorite aspects of our community is our unplanned “meetings” in the hall. Residents are able to hear Brody, the one dog in the hall, because of his tags, so quite often I’ll open my door to pet him, and half my residents are in their doorways or in the hall petting Brody. Sometimes we are out there for a few minutes and other times it can last over an hour,” Carlson said.

Dobson Hall resident Camilla Wilkerson said the floor’s student advisors help to ensure residents are taking care of things such as cleaning litter boxes regularly and disposing of pet waste outside.  

Wilkerson said residents often socialize with each other and their pets in the Dobson lounge; her pet rabbit often socializes with other pets in Dobson. Wilkerson said she hopes more students will be interested in Dobson so more people can experience living in a pet-friendly community.

Having my rabbit with me has definitely made my experience at Truman better,” Wilkerson said. “She has helped me to make so many friends and spending time with her is always something I can look forward to at the end of a long school day.”