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November 08, 2018 04:30 PM

A university in Pennsylvania doesn’t want you to leave your best friend behind when you go to school.

Starting in spring 2019, Lock Haven University will have a pet-friendly residence hall, the first of its kind in the Pennsylvania State System.

Students will be allowed to live in one the school’s dorms with a pet that is more than 6 months old that they have owned for at least three months, as long as the animal is approved by the school.

“The university has implemented a policy with strict guidelines concerning the species, breeds and sizes of animals permitted. The policy defines allowable pets as cats, dogs under 40 pounds with breed restrictions, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs and fish,” university staff wrote of the pets will be permitted to live on campus.

The initiative to allow pets to live with their college-bound owners, led by LHU North Hall Residence hall director Emmy Borst, was accepted in an effort to provide students with a living experience that feels home-like.

“Studies show that students who feel at home on campus are the students that thrive both socially and academically,” Borst said in a statement released by LHU.

Students hoping to bring their pets to the school need to register their animals ahead of time. The housing application for pets requires photos and vaccination records.

While LHU’s North Hall will become a place for pets — the pilot program also plans to have events at the dorm for those with an interest in animals — the rest of the university’s buildings will be pet-free zones. In addition, students living on-campus with pets will have to keep them on a leash outside their dorm rooms.

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