As seniors venture into the unfamiliar territory of college, some Titans are bringing their very own piece of home with them in the form of a pet.
Senior Miranda Pietzsch, who will be attending the Kansas City Art Institute in the fall, says she will be bringing along her cat, Steve, and her goldfish, Matilda. “Matilda is supposed to live about 12 years, so we’re in for the long run…I have to bring Matilda, with her I feel like there’s no other option,” she said.
Matilda, originally named Angel, has had a long history with Miranda as the art fish; Matilda was originally owned by the art department, but Miranda took her when the art department decided to get rid of her. As for Steve, Miranda says she simply loves him too much to be separated from him for too long. “I’m their primary caretaker at home, and I don’t want to be without my family,” Pietzsch said.
Miranda says she is excited to grow with her pets as she goes into this new chapter in her life. “[The Kansas City Art Institute] allow pets as emotional support animals, and it was easy for me to get that because I am already eligible…really anyone can apply and be allowed to bring a pet,” she said.
Pietzsch says she is not only bringing Steve along for the fun of it, but also for the actual benefits of an emotional support animals. “I am a very anxious person, so it helps me to have an animal that I have to take care of…so if I don’t want to get up one morning, well that stinks because I have to get up anyway to take care of my pets… I can’t be avoiding things because I have to get up,” Pietzsch said.
Senior Macy Gaeth plans to attend the University of Central Missouri in the fall, bringing along her small dog, Karen. “My dog is like a cat. She is very chill and old, so she likes to be inside…Karen is my baby and if I had to leave her at home, I don’t think I could do that” Gaeth said.
Similar to Pietsch, Gaeth says her dog will also help her adjust to college life. “Even though Karen doesn’t like to go outside often, she still needs to, so I think taking care of her will help motivate me to get up and try and be social,” Gaeth said.
Gaeth doesn’t have to worry about school policy because she plans to live off campus. “Typically the school does not allow any pets on campus, but I get to bring Karen because I’m going to have my own place,” she said.
Senior Emily Baker will be bringing a more unconventional pet to Missouri State University. “I am bringing a Holland Lop bunny named Cow… he’s names Cow because he looks like a cow,” Baker said.
While Emily loves bunnies in general, she said she has other reasons for bringing him along. “I am registering him as an emotional support animal because he helps me with my mental health by giving me something to be happy about and keep a routine,” she said. However, Baker says she does not expect Cow to help her with homesickness. “I love my home, but I don’t think I’ll be very homesick,” Baker said.
“Cow physically cannot put food in his own bowl or clean his cage, so having to take care of someone I love will help me feel more at home in college…with a bunny, you have to take them out of their cage for about an hour, so it will be good for me to have to be physical and playing,” she said. “When I am feeling depressed I feel like I cannot get out of bed, but with Cow I know I have to and that I can,” Baker said.
Luckily for Baker, her roommate, Senior Lauren Creek, loves the idea of having a bunny. “Before I even got cow, I asked Lauren she’d be okay with having a bunny in the room, and she was so excited which got me even more excited for college,” she said. Baker says she is excited to be able to bring a member of her family with her to college, an experience most won’t get to experience.