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Opening Arguments

Animal House


Saint Mary's College in South Bend, Ind. is hoping to keep seniors on campus by allowing pets in dorms.

Officials at the four-year Catholic women's college say this fall, one of the residence halls is for seniors only, and, if they choose, their pets.

Saint Mary’s students are required to live in residence halls for three years and typically half choose to live off campus as seniors. But this year nearly 75 percent of fourth year students will live on campus.

So far eight seniors have registered with a pet, for a total of four dogs and four cats.

Come on, cat people, try harder. Break that tie!

I expect the quality of  dorm life at St. Mary's to suddenly improve, even for the students who choose not to have a pet. There's something about seeing an animal where you don't expect one that is soothing and almost comforting. Two stores immediately come to mind -- a used-book store in Hazard, Ky., and a liquor store on the nortwest side of Indy -- that have dogs hanging out in them, and I've felt my mood improve every single time I've walked in. And the dog in Indy is a fat old bulldog who never even moves. He blinks if you reach down to pet him, though. Stoic.