College is ruff: Students discuss perks of owning pets at school

pets

Catherine Fennell | Associate Photography Editor

A good doggo poses on campus, borking away at passersby. He's a woofer.

Some students wake up to an alarm clock or the sun coming through an open window. Senior Branden Hentrich wakes up to his pet cat sitting on his face and loudly meowing.

Hentrich isn’t the only student living with a furry creature. Several Tulane students on and off-campus have pets for reasons ranging from companionship to emotional support.

One such support animal is sophomore Cassie Hayno’s dog Trixie. Support animals offer therapeutic benefits to their owners, and Hayno decided to get a support dog after suffering anxiety and panic attacks during her senior year of high school.

“She’s really good at sensing when I’m stressed out,” Hayno said. “She knows how to act in certain situations. If I come home and I’ve had a bad day, she knows. She knows if she should get excited when I get home, if she should stay calm.”

While Hayno had always had special bonds with her dogs, the bond she formed with Trixie was, according to her, “a little more special,” so she decided to bring the dog to Tulane.

To secure permission from housing to live with Trixie in her dorm, Hayno first had to reach out to the Goldman Center for Student Accessibility. The Goldman Center sent her guidelines for the kinds of documentation Cassie would have to get from a medical professional. After submitting a letter from her doctor, Hayno got approval for Trixie to live on-campus.

Housing guidelines prevent some students from getting pets until they move off campus. Two such students are seniors Charlotte Giroux and Georgia Barlow, self-described “hog-mamas” of a hedgehog named Luda.

“When we were roommates sophomore year living in Warren, we started talking about getting a pet and more specifically a hedgehog,” Giroux said. “But we knew we couldn’t have one in the dorm.”

Courtesy of Charlotte Giroux and Georgia Barlow
Students Charlotte Giroux and Georgia Barlow, who self-identify as “hog-mamas” named their hedgehog Luda after rapper Ludacris.

For some pet-owners who are New Orleans natives, Tulane’s housing policies aren’t an issue.

Sophomore Marie Miller is an Uptown native who’s able to go home and visit her cats, Toby and Beignet, quite often.

Miller’s family rescued Beignet through the program NOLA’s Ark. Toby was a stray who showed up to Marie’s house around the same time that Cow Cat showed up on Tulane’s campus. This, combined with the fact that Toby and Cow Cat shared a “similar black and white pattern,” led to Marie often joking that the two were related.

Whether on campus or off, student pet-owners expressed the love they feel for their pets and the paw-sitive influence the animals have on their lives.

“If I’m having a bad day and I bring her to class with me she senses my anxiety levels rising up then she’ll get up and put her head on my knee because it helps ground me a little bit more,” Hayno said. “It’s just nice to have the familiarity around.”