Alternatives to Pets in Dorms?

Hi, I’m returning to dorm life during COVID because I am an RA. I’m going to be spending A LOT of time in seclusion due to online classes and quarantine, so I’m a little worried about being lonely (since it’s pretty much inevitable).

As someone who relies on her pets for comfort, I was wondering if anyone had any ideas about ways to simulate that experience? I have plenty of plants (and am cultivating a Venus fly trap since that’s the closest to a pet) so don’t bother telling me to get one, I’ve been there already! :smiley: Any other idea would be totally welcome though, from stuffed animals to a virtual website like Webkinz. I’m very desperate.

My dorm is strictly no pets allowed, I’ve even asked if I can get my therapist to sign off on an emotional support animal but no dice. Not even fish or reptiles, unfortunately.

Thank you so much for helping be avoid becoming stir crazy, lol.

Maybe a “Joy for All” pet?

Can you stick something to the outside of your dorm window? I’m thinking either an acrylic birdfeeder box with suction cups, or a nesting box that has a clear back to it so you can see it through the window. The birds wouldn’t be “pets,” but having them visit or live outside your window could bring some comfort!

@tsickles that’s a great idea! I think a nesting box is a better option, only because a bird feeder is going to lose seeds to the ground below, which will attract squirrels, which will attract the attention of campus maintenance or security. Then again, she can try it and see if it’s a problem.

Is there a duck pond on your campus? Be sure to get duck-friendly food. Or a pond with fish that you can buy food for? Maybe you can get permission to hang a bird feeder from a big tree close, but not too close, to your dorm? Make sure it’s squirrel-proof, though squirrels will come anyway, which is why you’ll need to ask for permission probably.

What about donating to an animal adoption program with a live cam to watch offspring? There are lots of eagle cams, but I’m not sure if it’s egg season for eagles right now.

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I would definitely check to make sure this is allowed before you do it. What if every student did this? I could see it turning into a problem if there were a lot of these on the outside of a dorm and I’m not sure they will make special rules for the RA. Everyone is facing the same situation.

What about volunteering at an animal shelter?