North Carolina College Allows Pets In Classes and Dorms - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

North Carolina College Allows Pets In Classes and Dorms

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There's something a little different about Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina.

"It's a campus-wide philosophy, if you will, about the relationship between people and animals and certainly their pets," said Dr. Barry Buxton, president, Lees-McRae College.

When Dr. Barry Buxton became president of the school he made the campus pet-friendly.

"Part of it is just at that base level of pet owner and pet and the love they share. To think that you're gonna bring a young person to college and say, ‘ok, that relationship you have that preexists college, you cannot carry it forward'. There's something that just rubs me wrong about that," said Buxton.

That's exactly the thought that crossed Jessie Reece's mind when she transferred to Lees-McRae College.

"The pet-friendly policy is what brought me to Lees-McRae. I know that sounds foolish to some people, but she was 8-weeks-old when I got her and she was 12-years-old at the time. I've never been away from Roxy, I've been separated from her twice in my life. So this is a school that I can come to. I can bring my dog with me," she said.

Walk into a classroom and you might see dogs, a cat or maybe even something more unique, like a guinea pig.

"I came running with Toby. I really liked the thought of having my little friend here with me, cause it's a stress reliever," said one student.

Ginger Hansen, a vice president at the school, says the policy has been hit with prospective students.

"It really breaks down barriers with our prospective families and brings our prospective students out of their shells," she said, "And, allows them to engage with us more while they're here on campus."

Students with pet allergies or even fears do not need to worry because the school designates certain residents halls as pet-friendly.

Also, each teacher has discretion on whether pets are allowed into their classes.

"Love for pets. It's an appreciation for the joy and the value that they bring into our world and our lives. It's an appreciation for how they help us grow," said Buxton.

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