Aug 252004
 
Authors: Johnathan Kastner

Leaving loved ones behind is perhaps the hardest part of college. Those that truly matter cannot be simply put aside when college calls, and so, as you are waving gleeful goodbyes to the nagging parents, perhaps you will shed a small, bitter tear for the family pet.

Despite the proven improvement in health and mental well being, pets are banned from the campus and from much of the surrounding real estate. The official buzz is that having dozens of people’s pets fighting and pooping and sleeping in the same ten foot square of space would somehow be bad. The more obvious and logical explanation is that the people who make these rules are evil.

Despite the general evil ban, most places, be it residence hall or off campus, will allow pets of a watery nature. Fish or those weird frogs or a very upset tortoise are all well and good, but they cannot fulfill the most vital function of dogs – eating stuff off the floor. And while these aquatic beasts can match the apathy power of a cat, they cannot lower your blood pressure by purring and then raise it by hacking up on the rug.

One option is to sneak the animal in. Keeping a pet entirely secret is easy if it’s a quiet pet, like a small mute dog or a sloth, but for most pets, you’ll need a good disguise. Dye a cat’s hair green and give it a black leather jacket – its natural apathy and disgust with all humanity will complete the disguise. Dogs are harder due to their propensity to sniff crotches and eat things off the floor. Give it a beer hat. A shirt with a hot, bikini clad chick wouldn’t hurt either.

Non-standard pets are harder. You can hide most reptiles by claiming they are extra limbs – boas make excellent fake six feet long foots. Parrots, tending as they do towards gnawing on things and screaming, should be described as a security device. If you insist on having a rodent as a pet, attach it gently via Velcro to an article of clothing such as a scarf or hat. Fur doesn’t always have to be murder.

The other option, if heavy fines aren’t your thing, is to just bring the pet to campus and spend some quality time with it on the beautiful green fields. This is allowed by the rules, but why, you might ask, would you waste an afternoon that could be spent potentially drinking this way? Simple. A pet on a leash on campus unleashes its full potential for the most important college activity of all – flirting. Animals are excellent introductory tool and can help to break that stubborn, initial ice. Here’s how a conversation might go, without a pet.

Guy: “Hello. Do you like doing things?”

Girl: “No. Go away.”

Oh, how tragic! Without any common ground, the relationship has died and is now floating upside down in the fish tank of life. Let’s try that again, this time inserting an adorable puppy to help break the ice.

Guy: “Hello. I see my dog has knocked you down and devoured your lunch. Might I buy you another?”

Girl: “Certainly! I could also use a new pair of glasses!”

Aww. Puppy love, if you’ll pardon the pun. Try to find a dog that is hyperactive, friendly, and has absolutely no concept of shame or social boundaries, as these are all assets in dating. Cats don’t work so well, as they tend to be more sensible and are disinclined to being led about by the neck.

Guy: “Hello. You seem to be dragging a screaming cat behind you.”

Girl: “Yes. The fact that you noticed proves how sensitive you are.”

Really, the above is a best-case scenario. Cats are unpredictable, and just as likely to passively resist as to actively shred.

Remember, just because a pet can’t live with you doesn’t mean it can’t still be part of your life. Whether disguised as your roommate or helping you get your game on, truly, pets are man’s best friend.

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