Eckerd College leads U.S. with dorm pet policy

St. Petersburg, Florida -- What college would allow animals in the dorms? What college would hold a graduation ceremony for pets? Believe it or not, one in our own backyard.

"That for me sealed the deal with Eckerd (College)," said sophomore Claire Russell. "You go out on a Saturday and you've got people walking their dogs and walking their cats and all of this kind of crazy, fun stuff. It just kind of opens people up."

Eckerd is one of only a handful of colleges and universities across the nation that allow pets in dorms. There is an entire list of rules and guidelines for students who want to bring Fluffy or Fido to college.

RELATED:Check out Eckerd's Pet Life Facebook page

"A lot of students don't know that they can bring their pets to campus," said Victoria Reeves, a 2010 Eckerd graduate and its current associate director of campus housing. "Once they come to campus and they see other pets around they're really excited about it."

According to, Eckerd has the most unique pet policy of any school in the country. Other schools, like Duke University and MIT have designated feline-friendly housing.

The University of Illinois and the University of Washington both have designated dorms for common pets.

Eckerd allows pretty much anything.

"Dogs, cats, sugar gliders, rabbits, snakes, guinea pigs, spiders," said Reeves. "Anything, yeah."

There are some rules. Freshmen can't have a pet until their second semester and the pets can't be too big. Snakes have to be less than 6 feet long and nonvenomous. Eckerd even invites pets to graduations. Having a pet waiting for them when they get home is very appealing to students.

"I would recommend Eckerd to anybody and I would recommend bringing a pet if you can handle that responsibility," said Russell.


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