Photo by deviantat user leadmarefan123
If you’re reading this article, it probably means you read the residence agreement and you’re very aware that no animals, including fish, are allowed on residence.
That said, you also probably don’t care and you’re super excited to own a pet now that you’re away from home.
Before I get into how to sneak the pets in, and what sort of pets are ideal for residence life, I’m just going to go over the whole “what’s going to happen if you get caught” piece.
The No Pets rule is part of the building policy, which is outlined in your residence agreement. Also mentioned is “no tape, sticky tack or any sort of general adhesives allowed on the wall,” which the Dons don’t even regard.
Anyway, Section F of the Residence Guide explains the consequences of breaking these rules, which would be classed as a level one or two offence. Punishment could range from an administrative warning, community service, or in the case of a level two offence (or a second offence) loss of privileges, residence relocation, or the Residence Agreement being terminated.
Of course, if you otherwise don’t break residence rules, you might get some slack, so if you want a pet in residence, don’t be that person who brings in beer bottles and drinks in the hallway.
That’s my disclaimer, and over my two years of living on residence, I never had a problem with keeping pets, kettles, plants, or sticky tack in my dorm.
But say you do get caught, well you’ve been warned and neither Arthur nor myself are responsible.
If you managed to get past all of the warnings, you’re obviously still wondering how to sneak animals into residence.
For starters, be smart about what sort of pet you want to have. You can’t have a cat or dog on campus, or birds, since they’ll all be too loud and you’ll get caught pretty fast.
Plus all of these pets have long life spans. Unless you can guarantee to commit at least 10+ years and tons of money, don’t get something that’ll outlive your time at university.
The same goes for rabbits, lizards, snakes, guinea pigs, chinchillas and other small mammals. They live a long time and it’s irresponsible to abandon a pet when you leave town.
Don’t get a ferret. They are tiny carpet snakes that will escape your dorm room, and your don will not be pleased to see you chasing a ferret down the hall.
Micro mammals, like mice or hamsters, are good choices, although keep in mind they can be very stinky and will need to have their habitats cleaned daily to make sure the smell doesn’t bug your neighbours.
They also are nocturnal and will run on their squeaky wheels all night long, even when its 4 am and you have an exam at 9. The silent wheels you can buy from the pet store are not actually that quiet and they will still keep you up.
Your neighbours might also be allergic to these sorts of animals. It’s a bit of a catch-22 since asking everyone on your floor if they’re allergic to mice will be a dead giveaway, as would a neighbour bursting out into hives.
Fish are good options (and they tend not to cause allergies), but keep in mind the general rule that for every inch long the fish is, you need at least 1 gallon of water. Keeping a proper 10 gallon tank in a dorm would be almost impossible, and would quickly be discovered, so keep that in mind when trying to pick fish.
Personally I would recommend betta fish [pictured] to keep on campus. They’re relatively hardy, look super cool, and can put up with a lot of crap.
Get yourself set up with, at least, a 1.5 gallon tank and a heater, especially since the school doesn’t turn on the heat until after Reading Break, and you’ll be good to go! Don’t buy those tiny, ridiculous “betta bowls.” It’d be like being force to live in a room half the size of your dorm room for the rest of your life.
Make sure you also have a place in your room to keep their home that is relatively out of sight, and where you can quickly hide it if there is a knock at your door.
As an LEC student, I can say that the cubby behind the mirror is an excellent place to hide a pet in a pinch, which I hear also exist in Champlain.
Otonabee students might be able to utilize their closet for this as well.
I was only in Gzowski College once and I can’t really remember the layout of the rooms, so good luck friends!
That said, GC and LEC student have a bit of an advantage, that being that most of them don’t have to share a room, so they can just go get their pet and not worry about anyone’s opinion on it, since, other than their friends, no one is going to see the animal.
(Don’t be friends with snitches.)
If you have a roommate, obviously you need their permission to get a pet, since the two or three of you will all have to deal with the consequences if you get caught.
Having a roommate does mean you’ll have someone to take care of the pet if you go on any weekend trips, although you’ll probably have to sneak it home with you on reading break and winter holidays since the poor thing can’t survive on its own for that long.
As well, cleaners tend to come in the rooms at that time, so having a staving pet in there would not be good, and you’ll get reported pretty fast.
For LEC and GC students (or anyone in OC or CC with a single room), make sure you have a friend to take care of your pet when you’re gone on weekends!
Anyway, here’s the actual sneaking an animal into campus part.
Don’t do it for about the first month at least. The Dons haven’t been worn down from dealing with all the new students yet, so they’ll be on high alert, and they’ll probably catch you sneaking it in.
They’ll also probably forget about this article by October, so that’s when you strike.
If you carry a backpack or purse with you, put a box in it so it’ll keep other stuff from falling on it. Simply go buy your pet and put it in the box in your bag (bring socks or something if you get fish so they won’t be flopping around too much, fish can’t handle stress, much like students) and zip it up. Boom, got a pet in the building.
Similarly, you can carry them in another inconspicuous box, such as a printer box, or any package-looking box, heck even put a fake label on it so it looks like your parents or friends sent you a care package.
Again, put your new partner-in-crime in there and boom, got a pet in the building.
In the colder months, it’s even easier to get a pet in, thanks to the many layers you’re probably going to be wearing. Just put it inside your coat, being careful not to squish it and, dang, you just snuck in another pet.
Personally, that’s how I snuck my fish in. Plus, in the winter I’d made sure they didn’t get too cold while they were outside or on the bus with me.
Just make sure you know how to take care of whatever animal you want, you can keep it for however long it might live.
Go nuts with your new, contraband animal friend.