When I get home from class, I always get a warm, fuzzy feeling—literally. The first thing I see in the common area of my co-op house is the cage housing my pet bunnies, Pablo and Kendra. They sit anxiously, their noses twitching, their paws gently scratching at the wire frame. No matter how many quiz questions I’ve missed or times I was running late that day, it’s hard to stay upset when you’re greeted by such friendly little faces.
My rabbits aren’t the only pets in our co-op, Watermargin. This year, the house has three bunnies, two hamsters, a snake, and several fish—and I believe it’s been one of the biggest improvements in my quality of life. A large part of college is learning to live on your own; having a pet forces me to spend part of my day taking care of someone other than myself, and it feels good. After so much focus on my own needs, the time I spend feeding the fish or cleaning the bunny cage is a refreshing change of pace. It’s nice to get my mind out of “me” mode for a while.
Having a pet obviously isn’t all fun and games; a lot of responsibility comes with caring for another living thing. In my co-op, however, I am lucky to share that responsibility with two dozen housemates. When we adopt a pet we make the decision as a unit, with everyone agreeing to do their part in making sure the animal is happy and cared for. We take turns taking them home or staying at the house with them over breaks, and we rotate the responsibility for their feeding, cleaning, and play time. It may seem like a less stable environment for the pets than an average household, but I compare it to living with a close extended family. These pets have twenty moms and dads—which may create some chaos, but leaves room for lots of love.
— Jennifer Pierre ’13