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University pet policy

By Casey Schappaugh
On October 28, 2014

When students go to college or move out of the house they plan for purchasing some type of pet. Fear of feeling alone in a new place or missing an old pet are just a few reasons why student want pets.

Here at Ottawa University there is a strict policy on pets; the only pet that is allowed are fish. They must be kept in no more than a five-gallon tank.

Fish are simple to clean up after, cheap to purchase, hypoallergenic, easy to care for and consumers have a variety to choose from. An article about the top ten pets for those with allergies on Mother Nature Network said states “Ultimately, perhaps the only hypoallergenic pet that experts can agree on would be a fish.”

As an owner of three fish myself, and having a total of nine in the suite, I have visited the fish store in town quite a bit; Little Critters is the local pet shop in Ottawa. Each time I have been in the store I get the same advice about taking care of my fish.

Little Critters highly recommends you to float your fish into the tank. Each time the tank gets cleaned the fish need to be acclimated to the water in the tank. Setting up your fish tank with their advice is helpful to new fish owners, and those with bad luck with fish.

Imagine you already have a tank set up with fish and it is just time to clean your tank. Follow these steps.

Step 1. Fill a small bag with current water from the tank. Then take your fish, and using a small net, place them into the bag. (It helps keep the bag from falling over if you place it inside a cup.)

Step 2. Empty the tank and clean the slime off the tank, decorations and rocks. (If you use soap make sure that you rinse it all out.)

Step 3. Place all items back into tank and fill with water as close in temperature to current water as possible. (To have accurate temperature use a thermometer). When full of water, add in the water drops that remove chlorine, and balance the water for your fish.

Step 4. Remove the bag of fish from the cup. Place the bag full of water and fish into your tank and leave it sit for at least 15 minutes.

Step 5. When sufficient time has passed you can now empty the bag of fish into their new clean tank.

As easy as fish can be to take care of, they are still pets. Growing up I was always discouraged from getting a pet right after I moved away from home. My mother frequently told me not to get a pet right away because I would find myself so busy that I would forget about it. As sad as it is to say it, I agree with my mother.

In the month that I have had my fish, I know I have already forgotten to feed them at least three times. Unlike with dogs or cats they have no real ability to ask for food. As a busy student, it then becomes easy to overlook them.

We get so caught up in our lives that it becomes easy to forget the simple task of feeding them. We are all young enough that we want to enjoy life. There will be plenty of time for pets later in our lives. 

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